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As one used bookstore opens in Halifax, another closes in Kitchener

Morgan Dambergs has had her finger in a few publishing pies. The Haligonian has worked as a reviewer, an editor, an intern at a publishing house, and can now add bookstore owner to her resumé.

This summer, Dambergs opened Orphan Books, a second-hand bookshop, in Halifax’s north end. In an interview that aired earlier this week, Dambergs told CBC News she’s aiming to keep selection small and to cater to younger readers as much as possible. She’s focusing on stocking her store with YA in all genres, plus horror, paranormal, and queer lit.

The CBC piece also features John Townsend, owner of Schooner Books in Halifax. Townsend is eager to welcome younger people into the bookselling fold, especially because there’s not much room for business-as-usual in the used-book racket these days. The traditional [used] book business, in my opinion is over, he says. Gone are the days of large shops filled to bursting with books in all categories and price ranges, adds the 35-year book business veteran.

Townsend might have a point. While Dambergs is jumping into used bookselling with both feet, Mark Pettigrew, proprietor of Casablanca Bookshop in Kitchener, Ontario, is scrambling to get out.

Pettigrew opened shop in 1986, but now finds it difficult to compete with online sellers some 26 years later. With the lease up on his King Street store, the time is right for a career change, the 51-year-old told the Kitchener-Waterloo Record.