The Bookseller
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Par Jeremy Derksen

Turning a Page

Going from selling oilfield equipment to owning a bookstore seems like a bit of a stretch,  but it was always Darrell Prins’ dream. Between sales calls he would often find time to poke around the shelves of his favourite bookstore, The Bookseller, hardly imagining  at the time that he would one day own it all.

Then, in 2006, his brother — a bookstore owner in Ontario, coincidentally — called and told him it was up for sale. “I thought, you know, I want to get out of this oilfield racket, so I bought it,” Darrell says. “The oilfield is much more lucrative, but money isn’t everything,  as you find out.”

That’s the great thing about it: You come in and find a new avenue to pursue … you look through those books, pick one up and leaf through [it], and it might open up new things for you. - Darrell Prins, owner
The Bookseller, philosoptheology books, history books, academic titles,
The Bookseller specializes in academic and philosophical titles. Photo by Jeremy Derksen.

Heavy Reading

Working in a bookstore is not generally thought of as being a physically demanding occupation but there’s a lot more to it than most people realize. The Bookseller carries around 30,000 books, which, at an average of one pound per book, adds up to about 30,000 pounds. Most of those had to be carried at some point, usually by the box.

One of the most interesting parts of Darrell’s work is assessing and buying collections. “I can walk in, see the spines and know in 10 seconds [if a collection is worth it].” When it comes time to cart them out, however, Darrell is thankful for the years he spent working in the lumberyard.“ Books are always either upstairs or downstairs; never on the main floor,” he says.

The Bookseller, philosoptheology books, history books, academic titles,
The Bookseller’s high shelves, cozy chairs and secluded corners cater to the bibliophile. Photo by Jeremy Derksen.

Finding New Treasures

Although Internet sales are a growing portion of his business — about one-third of his inventory, 12,000 books, are listed online — Darrell still sees potential in the traditional market. Part of that is the experience. The Bookseller’s high shelves, cozy chairs and secluded corners cater to the bibliophile. “It is set up differently than a lot of bookstores,” he says. “You can sneak around a corner and be by yourself with these treasures. That’s the great thing about it: You come in and find a new avenue to pursue … you look through those books, pick one up and leaf through [it], and it might open up new things for you.”

The Bookseller, philosoptheology books, history books, academic titles,
The Bookseller carries around 30,000 books. Photo by Jeremy Derksen.
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