Unexpected orders | The Journal of Quebec

Specializing in language learning, the Michel Fortin bookstore unexpectedly left its area of ​​expertise when the businesses closed. She sold literature.

“We started to receive orders for literature and we reacted. We accepted them and I then contacted my distributors in order to obtain the requested books, “said Ronald Thibault, director and owner of the bookstore located on rue Saint-Denis in Montreal.

The Michel Fortin bookstore does not have a literature inventory as in generalist bookstores. Its clientele consists of libraries, language schools and people who wish to learn French, English, Spanish, Italian, German and the other 250 listed languages.

She was inundated, when businesses closed, with nearly 40 orders per day, but not in her specialty.

“I have no idea why people have visited our bookstore. Maybe it was because of the geolocation, because the book was not available elsewhere, or because they liked the name of the bookstore. We didn’t expect that at all. I offered this service as I do for people who want to read in Italian, German, Spanish and Portuguese. I can’t have everything on the shelves and I order these books, ”he explained in a telephone interview.

It moves

When the shops closed, the specialized bookstore had to cross the desert more difficult.

“My colleagues in general bookstores have managed to make up for lost time with online orders. We lost three months of sales because our clientele is different, ”he said.

The Michel Fortin bookstore has not seen an increase in online sales of its learning books.

“We didn’t sell more than usual. This is something that remains marginal. People prefer to call to see if we can order what they are looking for. We had a few good clients that we already had before, “he noted.

Ronald Thibault feels a revival since the reopening of the bookstore.

“We are starting to have orders that are more like our specialty. Things are moving, but it’s not up to what it was last year. I’m a long way from my turnover last year with a 40% drop, ”he said.

Strong kidneys

The Michel Fortin bookstore, which has been in existence since 1982, has strong backs. She will get through this difficult time.

“I’m not sure, without the existence of all the subsidies that we could get, that the future would have been rosy. We might have been able to hold out for a year, but we would have been in trouble if it had lasted longer. We’re going to get through it, ”he said.

Ronald Thibault has read all the works of the Italian novelist Elena Ferrante in French, except the last one, The deceitful life of adults.

“I am not a classic bookseller. I am, at the moment, reading The history of the world in three volumes by John Robert and Odd Arnee Westad. We live in a world of interactions, a system where cultures and people who have worldviews coexist. Languages ​​are vehicles. They have carried and still carry the weight of values, ”he said.

The suggestions by Ronald to learn a language

The little Prince

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Several languages ​​and bilingual version

The Adventures of Tintin


Available in 25 different languages

The Adventures of Asterix

René Goscinny, Albert Uderzo, Jean-Yves Ferri

Available in 25 different languages

Books can be purchased from independent bookstores via the site leslibraires.ca.

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