Funny thing happened after reading about Prozac Nation, Elizabeth Wurtzel’s acclaimed best-selling memoir that recounts her experiences with depression: I tried buying it. A trip to Indigo produced nothing, and the in-store computers revealed that no location in the city had a copy. That’s right: nothing at any Indigo, Chapters, Coles, or World’s Biggest Book Store. What’s odder than the fact that a book translated into 20 different languages isn’t readily available at any of the chain’s stores within the GTA is that this exactly what happened roughly a year ago when I tried to buy another book that gives an insightful look at another not-discussed-important-issue: And The Band Played On by Randy Shilts. That book provided a thorough history of the AIDS crisis, tracing it as far back as what was believed to be “Patient Zero”; it sold and inspired a movie. But good luck finding a copy at Indigo. Or in Toronto for that matter. My search in 2005 took me as far as Yonge-Eglinton, where I eventually found a copy at the reliable BMV Books.
(Worth noting is my stop at Eliot’s Books, where I asked about And The Band Played On and was directed to the “music” section. When told that the book was about the AIDS crisis, the manager replied, “We don’t carry those kinds of books.”)
So what’s the deal? I’ve gotten past making those “Oh, they sell books too, ya know!” jokes about Indigo, but surely any bookstore that stubbornly insists on selling grossly overpriced DVDs and multicolored tissue paper for gift wrapping while still managing to expand their empire must have some notion of supply and demand.
Or is it something to do with the content of certain books that makes Indigo not have them readily available?