October 24, 2010

Bookstore Review 1 - Encore Books

This is going to be the first of a series of reviews on the stores that carry Here Be Monsters.  To me, one of the most exciting things about putting out Here Be Monsters is seeing it on store shelves.  So, I thought people might want to know more about the places that have been good enough to help us distribute the anthology. 

Encore Books and Records started in 2004 and has since become a staple of the NDG neighbourhood.  It's original location has expanded and they have opened a second store (under the name Diamond Books) in Westmount.  The atmosphere is just what you want from a used bookstore.  It's comfortable, you're free to look around, and the store has a DIY, creative feel without getting too cluttered.  There are some couches and chairs (with as much character as the old books) if you want to kick back and read there.  The staff is fairly reserved and quiet, but they're helpful if you approach them. 

The stand out quality of Encore is its organization.  Given the size and variety of their collection, you'd expect to have books stacked up on the floor, strewn about the shelves, and generally mixed into unrecognizable heaps.  But they've managed to wrangle most (not all) of their stock into reasonable categories and make it presentable.  The literature section is the main focus and is always in good shape, but they have a very well laid out non-fiction area as well.  Fantasy and Sci-Fi is in a side room, which I might take offense to if they didn't have such a good selection :)  There are new graphic novels and old cheap comics.  They even have a shelf of pulp books filled with awesome/horrible detective stories from days long gone.  All in all, Encore does an excellent job of making it easy to browse, though a dedicated hunter could still dig out some treasures in the shelves if they wanted.

It's obvious that the people who run the store really love the trade they are in.  Along the highest shelves and near the windows, you can see sets of old encyclopedias, histories, tomes of studies long since made obsolete.  Books with beautiful, engraved covers that I imagine will never sell.  All given a place of respect despite their age.  For me, that is a very comforting sign when I go into a bookstore.

If you'd like to pick up Here Be Monsters at Encore, you can find it at the counter with the other local talent.

Encore is located at 5670 Sherbrooke Street West