Whether you’re planning a bookstore road trip for 2021, or just sick of looking at your own shelves, we have a treat for you. It’s Bookspot of the Week time again, and this one is dreamy. The Next Page in Calgary, AB, has everything from prime window seating, to top staff picks, fairy lights galore, and a coffee shop. It really is a booklover’s dream spot. We spoke to co-owner and manager of the store, Jeremy, to get a sense of what goes into creating such a wonderful space. Their photos were taken during Halloween, so while the cobwebs and pumpkins are an exciting addition, they are not a permanent one!
How did your bookstore transition from concept to reality?
Richard, the other owner, and I were planning on starting a bookstore in Inglewood so while we waited for the right space to become available, we spent three months hand picking each title we wished to have in the store. A bay in the historic Burn Block became available and the next day the lease was signed!
What do you feel is unique to your bookstore?
Our heritage building, which was built in 1912, adds an aesthetic that is difficult to come by in Calgary. We also have an Espresso Bar at the back of the store which, when we opened, was the only one of its kind in Calgary. We also have a rolling ladder that allows us to reach the top shelves located 12 feet above the ground. All of our staff at The Next Page have free reign to order whatever it is that they wish so this ensures our unique and eclectic range of books.
If you had infinite space, what might you add to the store?
A small movie theatre in the basement that would double as an event space for author readings (this will be a reality soon!).
How do you feel your bookstore fits into your local community?
We think it fits the aesthetic of Inglewood, Calgary’s oldest neighbourhood, quite well. It is a great place to spend an afternoon browsing new and used books while sipping on a warm beverage. The Next Page is very accessible and given that Inglewood is a vibrant community offering both residential and commercial buildings, many people who live in Inglewood regularly shop the neighbourhood, too.
What does your store offer that a chain or online retailer can’t?
All of our staff at The Next Page are extremely approachable and enjoy building relationships with our customers. Getting to know individuals based on their reading choices is something we all take great pride in. I’ve personally met some of my best friends working in a bookstore!
Do you hand-pick your staff to create a specific environment?
Yes. Most often, the people we hire are existing customers.
How else do you create a welcoming environment?
We ensure that all of our customers are treated with the utmost respect and we are also dog friendly. While having sections that cover Fiction, Science Fiction, History, Essays, Science, and Biography (just to name a few), we make it a priority to feature authors who identify as LGBTQ+ and BIPOC, and ensure these titles are
always on display at the store.
What about your store do you think appeals to your neighborhood?
We have 10,000 books in stock and this (almost always) guarantees that a customer can come in and find something that they love. We also special order books for customers. If it’s in print, we will get it!
Do you have any staff picks or releases we should watch out for?
We have a staff picks table which is constantly changing.
Do you tailor your inventory according to your community?
Yes and no. We have come across some great books based on customers’ recommendations and we happily stock those recommendations on the shelf. But, while stocking new and bestselling titles, we try to focus on titles that you wouldn’t necessarily come across everyday.
Is there anything else that you’d like our audience to know?
Our main floor is dedicated to new and remainder books, while our basement is dedicated to used books!
What’s your favorite book?
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov.
Featured image via The Next Page