The World’s Biggest Bookstore will soon shrink to nothing.
According to the Toronto website Yonge Street, the lease on the iconic downtown bookstore, currently held by Indigo Books and Music, runs out at the end of 2013 and will not be renewed. The 64,000-square-foot former bowling alley has been owned by the Cole family, of Coles Books, since 1980. The family is looking for a single tenant to take over the space, located in a prime area near Yonge and Dundas Square.
In 2010, Torontoist ran a brief history recounting the discount bookstore’s opening day on Nov. 5, 1980:
When asked, shortly before World’s Biggest opened, about the future of bookselling, [Jack] Cole sounded optimistic. He bragged that his low-cost, highly commercialized approach to selling had helped publishers and played a part in creating an audience that supported a far larger number of independents than when he entered the business in the 1930s. Predictions during the 1950s that television would kill books never came to pass. Visions of a wired city world where computers ruled didn’t faze him: Books will provide the basis of information to be programmed.