Advertisement

Black Bond Books marks 60 years defying odds as independent book seller

Click to play video: 'This is BC: Black Bond Books defies odds as independent book seller'
This is BC: Black Bond Books defies odds as independent book seller
It is celebrating 60 years of success in the province. Black Bond Books started in Brandon, Manitoba before a family move to British Columbia where there are seven stores. Jay Durant has the story – Nov 2, 2023

A Metro Vancouver institution, beloved by bibliophiles, is marking a milestone anniversary.

Black Bond Books, with seven locations across Metro Vancouver is turning 60.

After six decades in the business, it’s hard for Madeline Neill to pick a favourite title.

“One of my favorite authors, Farley Mowatt,” Neill, told Global’s This is BC as she pulled a book by the Canadian writer off the shelf during a recent interview.

“There’s Wilbur Smith. Oh one of my favorites.”

Click to play video: 'This is BC: Film grads stage Indigenous horror series'
This is BC: Film grads stage Indigenous horror series

Neill has a long list of treasured writers that started to grow in 1963 with her first book shop in Brandon, Manitoba. The company’s name was derived from a combination of her grandmothers’ names: Celia Black and Catherine Bond.

Story continues below advertisement

“Immediately the store just thrived under Madeline,” her daughter and current Black Bond Books president Cathy Jesson said.

Get the latest National news. Sent to your email, every day.

A move to B.C. in the early 1970s is when the family business truly began to take off.

Just like her mother, books became Cathy’s career, after first getting her start with a teenage dream job.

“I disliked babysitting and I loved the book store,” Jesson said. “So at 13 she actually let me work at the store and she paid me 25 cents an hour.”

Click to play video: 'This is BC: Duncan Showroom still impressive after 20 years'
This is BC: Duncan Showroom still impressive after 20 years

The family shared many memories, as they went through some old photos taken while meeting celebrities and famous figures at book signings.

“Margaret Thatcher,” “said Neill. “She was very rigid.”

Story continues below advertisement

“Leslie Nielsen was crazy,” she added.

“There’s Betty White. That was in 1997 … Larry King … There’s Magic. Did you see Magic Johnson?” Neill asked.

“I was looking up at him like this.”

Click to play video: 'This is BC: Horror FX legend Todd Masters opens monster museum'
This is BC: Horror FX legend Todd Masters opens monster museum

Six decades and still going strong with seven stores. They’ve survived big box retailers, e-readers and iPhones. Now, there’s a third generation to carry on the family legacy.

“I’m thunderstruck that it’s lasted this long,” Neill said.

At 94 Madeline still helps out by offering reviews on new releases.

“I give it either a two or a nine or an 11.”

High ratings usually reserved for those authors that will always be at the top of her list.

Story continues below advertisement

“Oh, John Grisham, one of my favorites,” said Neill.

Sponsored content

AdChoices