If you haven’t visited one of Type’s two locations in Toronto, you may know the Queen Street store from the delightful Joy of Books video that warmed our hearts when it went viral last winter. Owner Joanne Saul kindly answered some of our questions about the store and why she loves selling books.
Brick: Tell us a bit about your lovely store.
Joanne Saul: TYPE Books has two locations. The first was opened almost six years ago on Queen Street West. The second was opened in Forest Hill Village not long after. They are both general interest bookstores with a little bit of everything. We like to think we carry the best of the best of the best. However, each store caters to its community in a unique way. For example, we have an especially strong art and design section on Queen street, seeing that it’s located in the art and design district of Toronto. Both stores are firmly rooted in the communities they serve.
Brick: Who comes to visit?
Joanne Saul: All sorts of people! We’re lucky to have an amazing group of regular customers who visit us often. We have a great kids’ section and we run kids’ programs in our basement, so we have lots of regulars who are kids. Because Queen West is a tourist destination, we get our share of visitors from all over. Some people seek us out especially because they’ve seen our Joy of Books video online. That’s always fun.
Brick: What’s your favourite thing in the store?
Joanne Saul: Other than our amazing staff and customers? Too many to name. I love all our books of course. The artist Leanne Shapton made a limited edition set of Canadian-authored wooden books that are beautiful beyond belief. But one of my most treasured items is my dad’s old seventies typewriter that has a place of honour. It’s a very retro shade of blue and I love explaining to kids what exactly it is. They’ve never seen anything like it.
Brick: Are booksellers necessary?
Joanne Saul: Absolutely. A good bookseller is totally committed to putting the right book in the right person’s hands. She’s like a good therapist, able to prescribe just the right cure. It’s such a pleasure and a privilege to be able to share what we love with our customers and to turn people on to new and exciting treasures.
Brick: Not to toot our own horn or anything, but—toot toot!—what do you think of Brick?
Joanne Saul: We think it’s fabulous of course. It’s an institution. Our customers wait for it with baited breath. It’s such a good mix of interviews and reviews and personal essay and story. It’s for writers, but it’s also for readers. We like to think it’s like the TYPE Books of literary journals—smart, erudite, quirky, beautiful, with a great sense of style and humour.