An author’s best friends are bookstores and librarians who together link us to you, our readers. They introduce our novels and stories to people who would otherwise never learn about them. They alert our fans to our new works. And in the real world, they celebrate with us at our book launches and readings. No wonder they are our BBF’s – best friends forever!
“Whenever I go into an independent bookstore, it always feels a little like coming home. I can browse through countless books, or read a paragraph or two. And if I have trouble deciding which book or books to buy, (because I’ve always believed it’s bad luck to leave a bookstore empty handed) I can comfortably turn to one of the staff to ask for advice. I’ve been to several bookstores, in many different cities, but my favourite is – Perfect Books in Ottawa.”Mme Madona Skaff
INTERVIEW WITH OWNER, JIM SHERMAN
After Jim Sherman retired from teaching English in high school, he looked for something new to be involved in. When Perfect Books (open since 1994) came up for sale in 2009, he bought it. Since then, Jim has been a staunch supporter of local authors. I’ve attended a few events there. Such as the book signings of the first novel in my Naya Investigates series, along with fellow Mme Melissa Yi.
“It’s always fun to do author events,” Jim says, “whether they’re in the store, an art festival or another venue. It’s particularly gratifying when we host local authors. There’s a rich tradition of local Mystery authors here in Ottawa and their launch events are always gratifying.”
And it’s not just the book events that make Perfect Books special. Jim, manager Michael Varty, and the rest of the staff are incredibly dedicated to their customers.
“I suppose that the best feelings as a bookseller occur when you come up with just the right book for just the right person. Often it’s something they never would have reached for on their own.”
And just when you think things couldn’t get any better, Perfect books will be expanding!
“We’ve grown steadily over the past few years and we took a big leap forward during the Pandemic, despite missing all of the author events and Festivals we usually service. We’ve talked about expanding and our next door neighbour just ended his lease. So by early May, we will have broken through the wall between the two shops and acquired an extra 600 square feet of space.”
With the landlord’s help, the shop will have new flooring, lights and shelves.
“It’s nerve-racking and a bit overwhelming right now, but when it’s done it will breathe new life into the shop just as we begin to emerge from the pandemic.”
As soon as you walk into the store, it’s obvious that Jim and his staff love their job and their customers.
“Our customers have been wonderfully supportive over the past three years. We’ve been through two years of street construction and a year of COVID and we keep growing, all of which I attribute to an excellent staff, led by Michael Varty … and a loyal and growing customer base.”
I can’t wait to see the new store and actually have an in-person event hosted there.
“We’re looking forward to a new normal someday soon!”
PERFECT BOOKS CONTACT INFO:
258A Elgin Street, Ottawa, ON, K2P 1L9
Madona Skaff writes the Naya Investigates series, about a young woman who is recently disabled by multiple sclerosis, then turns sleuth to solve crimes. She also has a stand alone science fiction novel, Shifting Trust, coming out in the fall of 2021.
Love this interview!