Tuesday, 20 October 2009

So we bought ourselves a bookshop

So we bought ourselves a bookshop.

It was a sudden thing, this life-changing switching of cities and of lifestyles.

But, if you know anything of my history, most of the important things that have happened in my life have happened this way.

This paraphrase pops into mind, “when the time is right, all obstacles melt away.”

It was sometime in January that B & I made the decision that Vancouver wasn't the place for us anymore. Two weeks later, we're taking a fog-shrouded ride on a BC Ferries, er... ferry, to Long Harbour on Salt Spring Island to check out a charming Fine Used bookshop called Sabine's, which had come onto the market a couple of months ago.

Three weeks later, we've decluttered, staged and sold the condo for it's asking price, giving us the money to put in a offer for the bookshop. And, as these stories go, the offer was accepted. We moved to the island in April and officially took over in May. And what a ride it's been!

Sabine's Fine Used Books is in the main village of Ganges, in a charming little shopping area called Grace Point, where there are art galleries, bistros, a spa, a yoga studio and a great jewellery shop called Frankly Scarlet.

The bookshop itself has a marvellous olde worlde feel about it with lots of woods and carpets like you seen in the libraries of period BBC programmes. Bookshelves stretching themselves from floor to ceiling and hugging you as you walk between the aisles.

Hundreds of books filling all two floors of the shop with antiquarian books from the 1800's to brand new reads like 'The Book of Negroes'. The first estate sale we went to we bought a beautiful black, green & gold leather bound set of Shakespeare's works which we sold in the summer for $450. It was a wonderful feeling to be able to turn a profit. Kinda like what Lovejoy does, it does!

The funny thing about Sabine's is the coincidence of the bookshop's name and that Nick Bantock, the author of the Griffin & Sabine books, came to live on the island. So it made all sorts of sense that Sabine, the original owner of the bookshop, joined up with Nick to create the Griffin Room. A special place on the upper floor for a great many things Nick Bantock. All his titles are here, including most of Nick's out-of-print pop-up books as well as his original prints and the drawers of strange & curious ephemera (like Indian court documents and old stamps).

Now, it's the autumn and 6 months since the move. Although the flood of summer tourists have eased up, the enthusiasm and optimism for this move to be islanders and bookshop owners hasn't abated. Wish us luck!

2011 Update| And now we have a Facebook Page. Check it out at http://www.facebook.com/blacksheepbookssaltspring