Another independent bookseller falls: Oscar's Art Books announces it's closing

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After 24 years in business, many of them directly across the street from one of the big-chain bookstores that were once thought to be the biggest threat to independent booksellers, Oscar’s Art Books has announced that it’s preparing to close its doors for good.

The reason given in the short statement made today by owner Sean O’Flynn is not competition from megachains like Chapters-Indigo, Oscar’s close neighbour on West Broadway at Granville. Rather it is “internet technology”, which “has caught up with” the store and forced it into shutdown.

Oscar's will close on March 31. 

Over the years, it has built a strong clientele by specializing in a curated selection of large-format art books, along with an array of offbeat calendars. 

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cranky mom

Feb 3, 2014 at 3:53pm

how sad. it is our go-to store for art books

Shockk

Feb 3, 2014 at 5:37pm

My fav book store!makes me sad.love goin there on a Sunday afternoon.

Alan Layton

Feb 4, 2014 at 9:13am

This is devastating. It was my favourite book store. I would gladly pay the extra costs just to support the store, but unfortunately most people aren't, and I can't blame them. Amazon can sell the same books for less than the store pays to import them.

Janis

Feb 4, 2014 at 10:26am

Oh that is very sad news. I love that store and it's where I go when I need a book! I will miss it. I don't understand the desire to shop online. There is nothing like standing in a book shop just browsing and looking a book over before deciding to buy. I seldom walk out with only one. Oscars has such a great variety. I'm really sorry to see them close down.

A. Writer

Feb 4, 2014 at 11:11am

Sad to see another independent bookstore close down. What a curious day it will be when independent book stores are thriving and Chapters is shrinking ....

Brayden Burrard

Feb 4, 2014 at 12:42pm

It is disappointing when a business closes its doors, but Oscar's served the needs of a very niche market, that being people who wanted coffee table artist monographs. Read books at Emily Carr and Pulp Fiction continually serve those who need to find hard to get artist books usually unavailable online (which is most of the art publishing industry). I approached Oscar's in the past regarding hard to find artist books, works published by Sternberg Press or sold by D.A.P., and at the time I was told they would not be able to help me and directed me to Pulp Fiction. Pulp actually special ordered the books I need (as did Read bookstore at Emily Carr), and I received them in a timely manner at a decent price. I should also mention that the Or gallery bookstore is another great place to buy artist books, but I am unsure if they directly do special orders as I am also unsure of the wait times for books if they do. Oscar's didn't keep up with the market it was purporting to serve, artists. People may not appreciate these comments, but I think its important to note that artist publishing and sales are alive and well, it is just that small business models need to remain relevant and creative in how they get their products into the hands of customers.

Art Lover

Feb 4, 2014 at 7:20pm

Don't you love it when people slag a store because they couldn't get their one book. Oscar's has been in business for 24 years, so obviously they've done something right for all those years. I agree, I've been in there and seen people scanning books with their iPhones to check the price at Amazon. I've never had a problem getting any hard to find or out of print book from Oscar's. "Small business models need to remain relevant"...tell that to the 80% of North American bookstores gone out of business in the past 10 years due to Amazon. "Oscar's didn't keep up with the market it was purporting to serve, artists". What a bunch of garbage. How many bookstores in Vancouver have never been out of stock of the amazing, out of print, hard to find, Fred Herzog book of Vancouver photographs? Oscar's is the only store in the city who always has copies. Which bookstore has every new Pixar or Disney animation book? Oscar's. So because it doesn't have some catalogue about an obscure artist working in triangles, from some gallery in Germany, they aren't serving the local artists? My guess is that 1% of local artists are actually making money in Vancouver, and they are the ones buying the books. Anyhow, love Oscar's for many many years, always great service, always an amazing $20 photography book marked down from $100. Gonna miss them terribly. Good luck Oscar's!

ARTURO

Feb 4, 2014 at 10:51pm

ANOTHER BLOW............HOLLYWOOD THEATRE,
RIDGE THEATRE NOW...ANOTHER INSTITUTION OSCAR's
WHAT'S NEXT????

RF

Feb 5, 2014 at 9:29am

RIP Oscar's.

I miss the days of browsing for stuff in actual stores - records, CD's, DVD's, books, prints, etc.

Are people getting scared to leave their homes or what?

Vince

Feb 5, 2014 at 9:53am

I walked by the store yesterday and was initially sad to see they were closing... or were they "closing"? I guess they really are closing! I went to mu favourite section to see if I could get a good deal with the 30% off discount... NOPE! The book was STILL unaffordable (for me), and I knew if I wanted to make the effort, it was definitely cheaper on-line. The point is... if I was willing to make the effort. If it was cheap enough, I would have just bought the book, which is the power that a physical store location has... people walking in and randomly seeing something they want and walking out a customer... if the price is right. And the price has never been right at Oscar's for me.

It is nothing to do with them being a book store... it is their business model. I visited a great used bookstore in a very small out-of-the-way town in BC, and was flabbergasted how the guy made a living, with only 2 months of tourism a year... "90% of my sales are on-line". SO... if some guy in a small town in the mountains seems to have embraced the new era of sales more successfully than a store in a wannabee world city, best of luck to them!

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