On a recent trip to Indigo on Bloor, I noticed that they keep certain “rebel” authors—Jack Kerouac, Vladimir Nabokov—behind the counter of the help desk
Dear Urban Decoder: On a recent trip to Indigo on Bloor, I noticed that they keep certain “rebel” authors—Jack Kerouac, Vladimir Nabokov—behind the counter of the help desk. Is there a plan afoot to protect young readers from crazy beatniks and other literary nonconformists?—Tom Maclaughlin, Summerhill
No, Indigo is not protecting readers from high-minded filth, though you’re correct in your observation that the banished books were penned by a rogues’ gallery of writerly bad boys: Charles Bukowski, Mikhail Bulgakov, William S. Burroughs, Kerouac, Haruki Murakami, Nabokov and Kurt Vonnegut. Rather, these are tomes that Indigo simply can’t keep on its shelves—not because they’re best-sellers but because they’re darlings of the five-finger discount set. The reason: novels by these scruffy authors, with their bohemian credibility, fetch top-notch resale prices at local used bookstores. According to one help desk denizen, the books were removed from the floor about a year ago, after a “noticeably large quantity” had gone missing. Still, one likes to believe that there are at least a few shoplifters out there with a genuine, if suitably maverick, taste for classic literature.