Librarie Drawn & Quarterly, Montreal
Librarie Drawn & Quarterly is a bookshop belonging to the independent publishing company of the same name. It’s located in Montreal’s Mile End on a 1.9 km strip known as Rue Bernard, a historically industrial street put on the map in recent years after being home to Arcade Fire. The store specialises in graphic novels and comic books, and it’s also the city’s go-to source for independent magazines. This week we spoke with retail director Jason Grimmer to hear more about publishing in Montreal.
When and why did you set up the Drawn & Quarterly shop?
Owned and operated by the Drawn & Quarterly graphic novel publishing house, The Librairie Drawn & Quarterly was opened in 2007 as a place to launch books and hold workshops as well as to feature our books and those of international peer publishers such as Fantagraphics, Melville House, McSweeneys, New Directions, House of Anansi and Koyama and as well as works by local publishers and authors. The store is curated by its staff and our mandate is to stock the most beautiful books and magazines in the world, both visually and content-wise.
How do you lay out the magazines around the shop and how did you decide on that set up?
We have a spot at the front of the store in the window where we display most of our magazines and there is also a spot just below them where we shelve back-issues.
Who are your customers?
We are located in Montreal’s Mile End and so we serve as a community bookshop, catering to an extremely well-read clientele but we’re also a tourist hot-spot. People from around the world want to come and see the publishing house's flagship store.
What’s your best-selling magazine this month?
Apartamento, always, but our biggest selling magazine of all-time was the issue of Flaneur from last year that focused on our street: their Rue Bernard issue.
Do you have a favourite local magazine?
There are a few but right now it would be Bosquet which is a nicely designed little francophone magazine that features stories and art and ‘botanical wanderings’.
What has the biggest challenge been?
Mostly the prohibitive cost of shipping the magazines we want!
What changes have you seen in the magazines since you opened?
There are seem to be more and more beautifully designed mags being published everyday… and we want them all! If the internet has taught us anything it’s taught us that having everything anytime is not necessarily always the best thing. Sometimes it's better to place yourself in someone else's hands for awhile, tuck in and see through their eyes. It's how we really learn.