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PEI mourns loss of bookseller Rodney Jones

The Atlantic Canada literary community is mourning the loss of bookseller Rodney Jones, who died suddenly of heart failure on Monday at the age of 66.

Rodney was the owner of a pair of East Coast bookstores: the Bookmark in Charlottetown and the Bookmark II in Halifax. In an interview on CBC’s Island Morning, he’s credited with helping establish PEI’s publishing industry.

“To be a book publisher for a market that’s a quarter the size of Halifax requires an independent bookseller,” said Libby Oughton, the former publisher of Charlottetown’s Ragweed Press.

Jones opened the original Bookmark, described by PEI’s The Guardian as the “oldest independent bookstore in the Atlantic region,” in 1972. Bookmark II opened in Halifax in 1989.

Rodney has been such a positive force in the book industry,” Acorn Press publisher Terrilee Bulger told the paper. “He surrounded himself with terrific staff and his two stores are beloved in their communities. It is rare to find booksellers who take such an interest in authors and publishers. The book world will miss him immensely.

According to The Guardian, staff at both stores “will be working with [Jones’] daughters while they absorb their loss.”