UPDATED: Burnaby book store closing its doors for now

Companion Books in Burnaby Heights is closed its doors Friday due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, according to store owner Simona Powell.

“I think everybody needs to make a bit of an effort and try to slow this down as much as we can,” she told the NOW. “Our concerns are always with our medical resources, we don’t want them overwhelmed, right?”

The closure is not because business has dropped off, though, she said.

“People were coming in before self-isolating and getting their books to read,” Powell said.

For those who want to help the shop after the pandemic, she said the answer is simple.

“Just showing their support by shopping locally is always huge,” she said. “We have a really great community, lots of fantastic customers, they come in and place new book orders.”

While the store carries a limited number of new books, it can always order books in, she said.

“The big box stores can’t hold a candle to our selection, though,” Powell said of the new and used book store.

She hopes the store won’t be closed for long.

“We’re hoping if we can all get a handle on this it’ll only be a closure for a couple of weeks and we can all weather the storm together,” Powell said.

Brown’s Books, west of Companion Books, is keeping its doors open for now, according to owner Roger Brown.

The used book store is located at 3740 Hastings St. The hours may possibly change, he said, so call ahead to check. The phone number is 604-294-9311.

All Indigo books stores in the city, such as Chapters and Coles, are closed until at least March 27, according to the Indigo website.

However, a couple of Vancouver bookstores and one Tri-Cities store are delivering books to Metro Vancouver, including Burnaby.

Both Massy Books and Iron Dog Books have posted on Facebook that they are delivering books during this time.

Massy Books closed its storefront on Georgia Street but is doing free deliveries to areas throughout the region, according to owner Patricia Massy.

“We’re doing deliveries three days a week,” she said, adding people can still order books through the bookstore.

She pointed out that Amazon is focusing on priority items such as household staples and medical supplies; and is not focused on delivering books right now.

The store, which is 100% Indigenous owned and operated, can ship to anywhere in Canada and the United States as well, for a fee.

In addition to shipping her own books, Massy is helping out a fellow bookstore owner, Don Stewart, who owns the iconic MacLeod’s Books in Vancouver.

Customers can call the store at (604) 681-7654 to order their books, pay over the phone, and Massy will deliver them.

MacLeod’s doors are still open, and Massy says she understands why some bookstores are going that route.

“We decided to close because we thought it was the right thing to do, but I get that it’s very difficult to make that decision,” she said, pointing out that bookstores operate on a slim profit margin. “I completely understand why people are still open.”

Go to www.massybooks.com for information on how to order.

Iron Dog Books is closed for browsing at its shop in the Hastings-Sunrise neighbourhood but does allow book pick up and has extended its free delivery to Burnaby, according to co-owner Hilary Atleo.

 Orders can be placed through irondogbooks.com.

And Western Sky Books in Port Coquitlam is also delivering to Burnaby at this time, according to owner Tamara Gorin.

“Yes we are,” she said. “We do have customers in Burnaby.”

The store is doing deliveries on Wednesdays and Fridays currently, she said, adding, “we’re taking it day by day.”

The layout of the store is such that social distancing is possible, so they’re staying open for now. They’re following all the health precautions set out by the health authorities and the province, Gorin said.

Orders can be placed online at www.westernskybooks.com.


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