Where to buy a copy of The Malahat? Words Worth Books

Malahat volunteer Julie Bartusek asked David Worsley of Words Worth Books in Waterloo, ON, a proud carrier of The Malahat Review, a few questions.

Words Worth Books
96 King St. South
Waterloo, ON

Words Worth Books

A bookshop can greatly propagate a literary culture in a city. Do you feel that your shop influences such a culture in Waterloo?

Words Worth Books has hosted hundreds of author readings over its history, launched countless book clubs, and has made donations to too many schools, hospitals, and community groups to count.

What is the history of your bookshop?

The shop has been around for over twenty five years and has recently changed ownership and moved in the last couple years. Mandy Brouse and myself were longtime employees and we purchased the store from Tricia Siemens and Charles Erion who opened Words Worth Books in 1984.

I’ve notice that you have an events page on your website. How do you tailor events to reach all sorts of people?

We try to appeal to as many tastes as we can, but marketing is always a challenge, as there always seems to be a lot going on in Waterloo.

You also have book clubs. How many are currently running and where are they hosted? How are the books chosen?

We host four different book clubs pertaining to literary fiction, steampunk, and two crime fiction book clubs. Democracy rules throughout, and a good idea can come from anywhere.

Do you have staff who specialize in certain genres?

All good indie shops have staff that bring something extra to the table, and we have a few people who gravitate toward kids titles, graphic novels, young adult, and crime fiction; but I'm not sure anyone specializes as such.

With Amazon and other such websites selling books online, do you find that you need to do the same to remain competitive? How much of your business is done online versus in person?

Words Worth has been selling books online for years. But no indie bookshop is going to make much online, we just came too late to that party. Of course, social media and outreach is the name of the game now, but fundamentally if you can't offer something genuine, there's really nothing for people to come to. Knowing how to handsell a carefully curated inventory ensures both cash flow and repeat customers. At least that's the hope. The reality is, bookselling is punishingly competitive and Amazon is really little more than a digital sweatshop, reducing to a lowest common denominator much in its path. Other that the different spelling, Amazon and Wal Mart are basically identical.

Having said that, the job is still great fun and no one ever got into bookselling to be rich, and 'twas ever thus.

* * * * * * * *

Julie Bartusek

Julie Bartusek

Check out where you can buy The Malahat Review near you.