Canada's biggest independent bookseller has filed bankruptcy, shocking the bookselling industry. Publisher's Weekly reports:
The Canadian book scene was shaken by news that its largest independent bookseller, McNally Robinson Booksellers, has entered bankruptcy protection with the expectation of restructuring. The mini-chain of four large format stores will close its two newest stores in Toronto and Winnipeg, but expects the court will approve a reorganization that will allow its long-established stores in Saskatoon and Winnipeg to survive, along with its e-commerce Web site and wholesale division Skylight Books.
McNally-Robinson was the only independent to challenge Indigo Books & Musicís monopoly on large format stores in Canada. Each of its stores included a Prairie Ink restaurant. About 170 employees are losing their jobs.
The owners were not available for comment, but in a statement on behalf of the McNally family, co-owner Paul McNally said, "It is heartbreaking to see so many hardworking booksellers and restaurant staff lose their jobs." But he added that "we are very hopeful, however, that we can save many more jobs and renew the company."
According to his statement, the bankruptcy filing "follows two difficult years in which market conditions reduced the profitability of McNally Robinson's established stores even as two new stores proved substantially unprofitable."
The company is hoping to reorganize and emerge from bankruptcy proceedings. The bookseller's website says that it intends to honor its obligations to its customers. Gift cards will be honored and reward card memberships will stay active.