Chapters

From Academic Kids

Chapters is a bookstore chain throughout Canada. In 2001, it was acquired by Indigo Books, Music & More.

It was created when Coles and SmithBooks, Canada's two largest book chains at the time, merged in 1994. SmithBooks was acquired from Federal Industries and Coles was acquired from Southam Inc. Canadian General Capital and Pathfinder Capital bought these two chains with the intention to build large format book superstores.

The new company, Chapters Inc., was officially created in April 1995 and the first two book superstores were opened in November 1995. The original superstores were located in Burlington, Ontario and Burnaby, British Columbia.[1] (http://profile.canadianretail.com/chapters/)

Chapters quickly revolutionized the book selling industry in Canada. Previously companies like Coles and Smithbooks had many small stores. Chapters built large box stores with more selection and lower prices. Chapters also tried to make its stores as pleasant as possible adding couches, Starbucks coffee shops, and elegant decorating and did not discourage the reading of books inside the store. The company became the largest book retailer in Canada, with 77 superstores branded as Chapters and more than 280 mall-based stores which retained the name Coles. In 1996, NOW Toronto (http://www.nowtoronto.com/) reported that Chapters operated stores under the names SmithBooks, Classic Bookshops, Coles, the Book Company, World's Biggest Bookstore, and Active Minds.[2] (http://www.nowtoronto.com/issues/16/15/Ent/feature2.html) However, the SmithBooks name was phased out as locations gradually rebranded as Coles stores in recent years.

Chapters grew very quickly. It was criticized, however, for several reasons. It drove smaller independent bookstores out of business across Canada, especially alternative stores which carried obscure or controversial titles. Chapters also built its business around moving massive numbers of a few bestsellers. As the company's market share grew it began to assert pressure on publishers and distributors to lower prices, driving some of the smaller ones out of business.

Chapters did not keep the box book store market to itself, however, with the opening of Indigo. Headed by Heather Reisman, Indigo began to compete with Chapters across Canada. Chapters further lowered prices, but began to have trouble covering its debt. In 2001 Indigo launched a hostile takeover and bought Chapters, but kept both the Chapters and Indigo brands.

The chain also acquired the Toronto book superstore World's Biggest Bookstore. Under Chapters' ownership, that store has retained its name but is otherwise closely integrated with the Chapters and Indigo chains.

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