Duthie Books to shut down at end of February


Less than three weeks after being named the 2009 Best Bookstore in Kitsilano, independent bookseller Duthie Books will shut its doors at the end of February after 52 years in business. The family-owned chain was founded in 1957 by Bill Duthie.

The Vancouver Sun’s Randy Shore interviewed Duthie Books owner Cathy Duthie Legate and here’s a sample of what she had to say:

“I’m just not making it, so I’m going to close it down,” said Duthie Legate. “We are going to start our regular sale January 28, but it will be better, of course, with discounts of 40, 60 then 80 percent and I hope to have all the books out of here by the end of February.”

“Then I will tear down the store,” she said. “I’m sorry that it will leave a void in the city.”

“The last two years have been brutal,” she said. “When the dollar went par that hurt and then last year hurt.”

“Most of the year we run in the red and at Christmas we run in the black,” she said. And this year my black wasn’t as black as it should have been.”

“I’m in good shape and this is the one time that I can do this where I pay everybody off and pay severance and everything is good. It costs a lot of money to close down.”

No doubt Duthie Books has been hurt in recent years by competition in the book market from all sides – big box stores, online retailers and now e-books like Amazon’s Kindle.

It will be a sad day in Kitsilano when Duthie Books closes its doors.

Photo credit: Jacek S. on Flickr

Last modified: January 19, 2010

14 Responses to " Duthie Books to shut down at end of February "

  1. Jennifer says:

    We LOVE Duthie!

  2. Louis says:


    Are any old-Kits shops still standing?
    (other than the Naam)

  3. christine says:

    Very sad to hear that.

  4. Pj says:

    Oh crap, I have a $40 voucher for this place. Better get spending.
    Sorry to see it go.

  5. Anonymous says:

    This is terribly sad. So many independent stores are dying off.

    So, then, let’s speculate on what “unique” business will take Duthie’s spot: Subway, Starbucks, 7-11, Blendz, Aldo, Mexx, what?

  6. Andrea says:

    I adore Duthie’s- whether i’m inside looking for a book or just passing by and checking on the books on display. So sad that this economy is closing all the W4th independents to close down.

  7. Jody says:

    Duthie’s has been an anchor for me. I’m so sorry about this.

  8. Sheila says:

    Louie asked about old-Kits shops still standing:
    3H Craftworks Society at 2208 West 4th has been in the neighbourhood for 30 years. A not-for-profit organization, everything in the shop is handmade locally by adults who are unable to seek and maintain regular employment due to physical challenges and/or mental illness.

  9. CoolDood says:

    I love this store too. It’s such a nice place to browse books and buy a gift once in a while. But, fact is I buy nearly all of my books online. Better prices, more choice, lots of reviews & personalized recommendations, etc. How can a store beat that? It’s just too difficult. Tough biz to be in.

    Sad… very sad, but, reality. So sorry to see it go.

  10. vancityguy says:

    Best wishes to the Duthie family. This is really too bad.

  11. Bill Barilko says:

    When Duthie’s first moved onto 4th they crowed about Blackberry Books closing down, who’s crying now?

  12. Kim says:

    Oh no! I’m a Seattleite who always makes a stop at Duthie’s part of my visits north. This is a heartbreaker. Bless the owner for finding a way to pay her employees severance, though…that’s rare indeed in the industry.