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Pages to Fold



Pages’s storefront tonight; photos by Miles Storey/Torontoist.

The end of an era. It’s a cliché, an easy writer’s trick whose use far exceeds its real application. We stand by it in this case, however. After thirty years curating the indie set’s reading list and nurturing Toronto’s newest and freshest literary voices, Pages Books and Magazines will be shutting its doors for good in August. As reported in this week’s issue of NOW, and confirmed privately to Torontoist, in the end there simply wasn’t a choice. Rent is growing faster than sales, and for all that Pages is deeply loved (the Save Pages Books! Facebook group has upwards of 2,300 members), the cash crunch got to be too much.
There is, fortunately, the silveriest of silver linings, which is that Pages’s much-loved programming, run under the banner This Is Not A Reading Series (TINARS), will continue. TINARS has been entrusted to a newly established non-profit, and will stay in the care of longtime coordinator Chris Reed. In an email to Torontoist tonight Reed struck a welcome optimistic note, saying simply, “Though I am saddened that the bookselling landscape has lost an inveterate indie voice, I am relieved that we, the Pages crew, can begin to make concrete plans. After a run of thirty years, it seems fair to say that there is a Pages ethos. And it will carry on in the form of This Is Not A Reading Series.”
It’s not nearly enough. We realize we may be accused of waxing romantic about our bookstores, but if ever there was a bookstore that had earned it, Pages was it.


  • http://undefined SpupEh

    Arrrgh. This just sucks so badly. I will miss browsing around on my lunch hour and coming out with some new find. Thanks, Pages, for many many good years and many many good books!

  • http://undefined montauk


  • http://undefined LukeChampion

    Heartbreaking .. this is by far my favorite bookstore in the city. Thats it, I’m download only now.

  • http://undefined Rodney Barnes

    I was in there just a week ago and was told they were only moving further along Queen West. Though it sounds like even some of the staff might not have known the whole deal.

  • http://undefined Czarina

    This is AWFUL!

  • http://undefined Yonge And Bloor

    This sucks. I used to go to this bookstore all the time to get ideas for things to download. The physical books were easier to browse than Google.

  • http://undefined awb

    why can’t they just move to somewhere cheaper? boo.

  • http://undefined mister j

    I’ve thought about Pages’ eventual demise every time I bought a book. I would check at Pages and then compare it to Chapters. It was nearly always significantly cheaper at Chapters (like a $30 book at Pages was $20 at Chapters). As a poor grad student who needs many books, I tried but couldn’t force myself to spend the extra money to support this local bookstore. Of course it wasn’t my book-buying that put them under, but I often wonder how many others couldn’t afford the premium to support the local bookstore.

  • http://undefined rek

    Boooo. :(
    What happened to plans to move to another location?
    (And is it safe to say this is all that ho Drake’s fault?)

  • JMfromTO

    I’m probably going to get some hate-comments for this but…
    I met the owner once years ago, I had to interview him when I used to work in the media. He was a first class asshole. I support independent bookstores, but never his.
    Just because they aren’t a chain doesn’t mean we have to like them. Much like a certain cyclist coffee shop in Cabbagetown (which I think was named a “villain” one year) I can’t stand people who look down on their customers.
    Can’t say I’m sad to see them (rather him) go.

  • http://undefined Dry Brain

    Ah, sad. We all probably saw it coming though.
    Is Chapters really cheaper? Books generally sell at the list price, period, unless they’re on sale or remaindered (Chapters probably just has more sales on new releases. But then, Pages always has a giant section of stuff marked way down at the back of the store, and you can find real treasures in there.)
    (Not to sound all holier-than-thou, but Chapters is shit for supporting and stocking small-press stuff, and you’ll rarely find anything remotely obscure there. They have a decent selection otherwise, but still… Pages stocked the unusual AND the mainstream, and did a hell of a lot more to foster a local literary culture.

  • http://undefined meryncadell

    Well, JMfromTO, I don’t know if this is a hate comment to you as much as a “you’re a bit clueless” comment. First, hating an owner is anyone’s personal right, I suppose, but if you care about a city and its independence (and its independents), and in this case if you care about books, which I hope to god you do… you could still be upset that the place is closing down, and all that that represent for Toronto, and that strip of Toronto in particular. It’s just about the final death knell for that whole section of Queen St.
    Secondly, I liked Marc Glassman long before I even knew what his name was. I was the scruffy kid from around the corner who asked him if he could start carrying Details (which was a great independent New York magazine at the time, not the men’s fashion magazine), and he did. Because one person asked him. Pages was also the only place that I could ever find Dr. Smith, the best – and the first – fanzine ever. He knew books, and so did his staff. Maybe that was intimidating to some. And if you interviewed him in the 80s, is it just possible that you were suffering under your own spell of “am I cool enough; am I Queen Street enough”? I don’t think I ever heard anyone call Marc Glassman an asshole, and frankly, who could call someone who opened a shop because he loved books, and who then went there every day for the next 30 days, day in and day out, to read, order books, and recommend books to others if they asked, anything other than a good person, and a decent human being?
    Here the store is closing down 30 years later, when they almost got closed down 25ish years ago for the art display he allowed in his front window, which he refused to take down even when Toronto police deemed it “obscene”. I love Pages with all my heart, and it was literally a pathway to many other worlds for me, like a good bookstore can be. I’m extraordinarily disheartened to see it go.

  • http://undefined Moonmoth

    Can’t Pages just move to a new location somewhere with cheaper rent? Even if TINARS goes non-profit it could be very good for TINARS to have a revenue stream such as the bookstore supplementing it.
    Pages is a fantastic bookstore, I wish it weren’t going away.

  • http://undefined torontothegreat

    This is sad. A huge gap now in quality bookstores downtown.

  • http://undefined lunarworks

    I haven’t spent nearly enough time in there over the years. I always felt it would be a place I’d go to often if I ever managed to move downtown.
    The death of Queen West continues…

  • http://undefined Steve

    Before we all start downloading eBooks and begrudgingly supporting big box book stores, it needs to said that the other 30 year old independent book store in downtown Toronto is still open for business. This Ain’t The Rosedale Library continues to support the small-press community and have made an equally important cultural contribution but they need your support to keep it that way.

  • http://undefined Solex

    Mr. Glassman can find other places to set up-he should do so, and hurry up his butt to do so before those other places become occupied.