Bookstore Bio Series: Bastion Books, Victoria British Columbia

Mon, 04/23/2018 - 11:53 -- ssmith

Bookstore Bio Series: Bastion Books, Victoria British Columbia

  1. Tell us about yourself! What is your store name, where are you located, how long have you been in business etc.

Bastion Books

14 Bastion Square (entrance on Commercial Alley)

Victoria, BC, V8W 1H9


Alex Cruikshank

  1. What is something interesting people should know about your store?

My mom ran an antiquarian bookstore for years at a time when Victoria was a haven for used bookstores. I grew up wandering the stacks of her shop and so many others that no longer exist.

Bastion Books was established in September 2017, we took over our location from Renaissance Books. Once one of the many local bookstores, Renaissance had been around for over 30 years, but was going to shut its doors. Renaissance still operates online on ABE and Biblio. The bricks and mortar space became Bastion Books, a bastion to all of the used bookstores I fondly remember from my younger days.

  1. What is your favourite part about owning/running an independent bookstore?

All of the stories. Any book in any condition or format provides the story the author intended. Used books though have additional stories to tell, of their history and previous owners.

Inscriptions, bookmarks, pressed flowers, bus transfers, concert tickets, postcards, letters, newspaper clippings, bookplates, bookshop stamps, and so much more can be found tucked within the pages of a used book. These often provide insight into where and when the book was bought and the journey it has made.

Beyond the books there are the many stories my customers share of why they’re looking for a particular book, who they’re giving it to, or where it is going. A copy of Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go! was sent to Oman as a Christmas gift. A pop-up enthusiast took all the pop-ups we had in the store at the time home to Norway. “I can’t wait to add these to my pop-up room,” she said with glee. A set of the Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics went to Texas. The customer refused our offer to ship them and instead bought a suitcase large enough to pack them in.

  1. What is the last book you read? What is your favourite book and why?

The last book I read was Pattern Recognition by William Gibson. Currently re-reading Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, 10 years on. My favourite book is A.A. Milne’s classic, Winnie-the-Pooh if I have to choose one.