Glad Day Books is now owned by a cadre of active members of the LGBTQ community, including influential human rights lawyer El-Farouk Khaki.
Just check out this impressive list of people who, along with Khaki, have stepped in to save the store: Andy Wang, Doug Kerr, Fatima Amarshi, Jonathan Kitchen, Kim Crosby, Lisa Gore , Marcus McCann, Mark Schaan, Michael Erickson, Michael Went, Nat Trembley, Rio Rodriguez, Scott Robins, Spencer Charles Smith, Tessa Duplessis and Troy Jackson.?
But let's be real. This is less testimony to the power of books than to the power of the LGBTQ community itself. The group obviously understands the importance of the world's oldest - and Toronto's only - queer bookstore as a hub and meeting place.
Let's say you're a queer person new in town, whether a desperate youth in from a small town or just a touring visitor. The bookstore's still one of the first places you'll check out in order to connect with other queer people. And, as the only one of its kind in the city, it still has a life ahead of it.
Kudos to the group that moved in when current owner John Scythes put the store up for sale. They're promising new ideas and new energy, including plans for exploring ways to make new technologies work in the Glad Day's favour.
Like I said, that doesn't say much about the longevity of analog books themselves, but it's inspiring to see that T.O.'s queer community has refused to let one of the city's most important institutions just die.
At the same time, news that the Bond Street bookstore branch at Ryerson University has been closed down is building buzz about the death of the analog book.
But it's eTail - Amazon, etc - not eBooks that's killing bookstores.
In fact, strange as it may seem, students are not stampeding to digital readers but are staying true to the printed page, actually lagging behind non-student readers when it comes to engaging e-alternatives to the printed page.
In fact the 2011 Global E-Student survey undertaken in 2011reports that eBook usage has not significantly increased in the past three years. There are a number of reasons for that (helpfully outlined here).
One of them has to do with the fact that students report a hard time reading when they're consistently interrupted by email and other social media communications. Of course, if you have an eReader that's not a problem, but until the price of that technology decreases students who can't afford the the upgrade and can afford only to download to their laptops are not running to Kindle.
Students also like to share their books or sell them when they're done, which doesn't happen as readily with eBooks. In fact there are serious restrictions on sharing book downloads.
As it is, James Norrie, Ryerson Associate Professor, says that only about 30 per cent of Ryerson courses use course packs or other materials available by download, largely because a large hunk of textbooks isn't available for download in the first place.
That 30 per cent may explain the need to close Ryerson's Bond Street bookstore but doesn't suggest that the main store on Victoria is under threat. Not to say it'll live forever, only that it's not about to go down.