Upcoming 40th Anniversary Party, Authors for Indies Day and more.
By Lucas K. Law
The oldest independent bookstore in Calgary, Owl’s Nest Books, is celebrating its 40th anniversary on April 22, 2015. You are invited to the open house party, with catering from Ratatouille Bistro, from 6 pm to 9 pm. Music is provided by a local violin/viola duet. Party includes door prizes, cash bar, a silent auction to benefit Calgary Reads, and lots of fun.
RSVP is required at 403-287-9557 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The story of Owl’s Nest Books began with Evelyn DeMille opening the store on Bow Trail in 1975. Then, Michael Hare and Brenda Mackie purchased the store in December 1995. Six months later, they moved it to Britannia Shopping Centre. Brenda’s share was bought by Susan Hare in 2002. Michael and Susan have worked hard to strengthen the store’s reputation. They enjoy sharing their love of books with their customers.
This is a recent conversation with Susan and Michael Hare.
What are the keys to your success as bookstore owners?
Both Michael and Susan have Library arts backgrounds. Having business expertise and complementary skills help. Michael was a manager at Eaton’s prior to owning Owl’s Nest Books.
Susan believes the store location is a great asset; it is in a neighbourhood of readers who feel like the store is part of the community.
What is a typical day for you at Owl’s Nest Books?
A typical day includes displaying books and gift items, working with publishers on ordering best new books, collaborating with local authors who want an event or for us to carry their book, and having book suggestions or discussions with customers.
And there is always paperwork – lots and lots of paperwork.
Unfortunately, we don’t get to read the books during the day.
What are the books on your personal bookshelf? What are your current favourite reads?
We have very different reading tastes.
Have the public reading habits changed?
We have noticed that e-books have changed what people are purchasing in a bookstore. Fewer hardcover fiction titles are sold now because people are buying them in e-book format or online. It is easier to take a chance on a new author with e-book pricing.
Mystery book sales are still strong and are the exception to fewer hardcover sales; people want the latest book by their favourite author immediately.
More non-fiction sells, probably due to people’s need to understand the world around them.
People are starting to purchase more physical books and use their e-readers for special occasions such as vacation.
They will each spend 2 hours in the store, discussing books with customers, and sharing some of their personal favourites (other than their own titles!).
Store will provide refreshments and beverages all day (from 9:30 am to 6 pm)
This is a wonderful opportunity to share your love of books with some dynamic authors.
Tips for authors on doing an event at Owl’s Nest Books?
Keep it short!! 5 – 10 minutes of an author reading is the most audiences want to hear.
Be prepared – audience loves to know the inside details of writing in general and the book in particular.
Bring an audience – author needs to bring friends and family to ensure a good turnout and a fun experience.
Any anecdotes to share regarding Owl’s Nest Books events?
Lots of fun times have occurred, as Michael has an engaging way of introducing humor wherever possible. He relaxes the authors and is a crowd-pleaser.
We had the first ever walk-and-read on April 9th with Lori Beattie , author of Calgary’s Best Walks. How often does an author take you on a tour to demonstrate the contents of their book?
Trying to increase our position in the community by hosting more Café style events – groups with special interests bring their guest speakers to an evening in the store for discussion and improvement. For examples, Calgary Hands & Voice (a support group for parents of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children) presents Bruce Hunter on June 2nd; Café Science group was organized by the Libin Cardiovascular Institute in 2014).
Finding a business partner with strengths in the under 40 demographic in Calgary to keep the store vibrant and meet a wider audience.
If I come back five years later, what would you say?
Welcome back! And we are still fostering a love of reading with Calgarians who love books and personal service.
Visit Owl’s Nest Books (http://www.owlsnestbooks.com) at:
815A 49th Avenue SW
Calgary AB Canada T2S1G8
Free parking all day every day.
Monday to Friday:
9:30AM – 6:00PM
9:30AM – 5:00PM
12:00PM – 4:00PM