How Margaret Atwood And Socks May Have Saved Bookstore Chains

With the unstoppable contender of online retailers, bookstore chains have been struggling to stay afloat. Inspiration from writer Margaret Atwood has given an executive an idea that might make a difference.


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Atwood proudly holding a copy of her novel, The Handmaiden’s Tale | Image via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Heather Reisman, the chief executive of Canada’s largest bookstore chain, Indigo, had reportedly met with The Handmaiden’s Tale‘s novelist, Margaret Atwood for some tea back in 2015. After a long conversation Atwood gave her farewell to Reisman, telling her she planned on relaxing with a good book and some comfy socks.


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Heather Reisman | Image via Toronto Star


This was where Heather Reisman came up with her idea for a new product, which in 2016 grew into Indigo, a cultural department store for book lovers.


It all started with plush “reading socks“, one of Indigo’s signature gift items.


Indigo currently has a assortment of these comfy socks, in different color and styles. Perfect for any book reading occasion.




According to the New York Times article, Indigo created a whole line of products for their bookstore in addition to their reading socks. Ironically enough, not many of them have a great deal to do with book reading, but they do help to create a comfortable and happy life for readers.


Go on Indigo’s website and you can find products such as fitbits, dinnerware, waterbottles, handcreams, etc. Every book lover ought to take care of their bodies and their homes, no? Of course they sell a whole collection of books and book-related products too.


Currently, Indigo operates 85 superstores and 120 small-format stores. “The concept aims to create an experience for customers beyond the book”, Reisman says in a New Jersey article.


Indigo’s Storefront in Canada | Image via The Hustle


This past Holiday season in the US, Indigo opened it’s first American store in Short Hills, New Jersey.


Canadians were responding so well to this evolution of a bookstore into what we call a book lovers’ ‘cultural department store…We felt given the response Canadians were having to it, that we would have the opportunity” to expand into the Northeast.

-Heather Reisman


So far the store seems to be the talk of the town and doing exceptionally well.


With beloved bookstore chains like Borders and Barnes & Nobles slowly falling to online competition, it’s a relief to see a chain that is on the rise with such a novel idea.



Featured Images British Council Literature, The Fitty