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Alice Munro Nobel win spurs rush to read her books

Alice Munro’s Nobel Prize win means Vancouver library patrons will have to wait a while to get their hands on…

By Abeer Yusuf , in Culture , on October 21, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Macleod's Books display of Alice Munro
Displays of Alice Munro titles in bookstores, like Macleod’s Books, have sold out since the Nobel Prize announcement.

Alice Munro’s Nobel Prize win means Vancouver library patrons will have to wait a while to get their hands on her work.

“Every copy of every Alice Munro book the Vancouver Public Library has is checked out and has holds on it,” said Daniela Esparo, librarian and manager at the Vancouver Public Library’s Central Branch.

“We bought 45 [physical] copies of Dear Life and there are currently 112 holds on it. You’re looking at a waitlist of eight to nine weeks before you can read Alice Munro.”

Special formats such large print, audiobooks and book club sets, have gone as well.

Celebratory buzz

Twenty-three-year-old Erica Roberts wanted an e-book version of Munro’s work, but she will have to wait.

Girl reading Alice Munro book
Roberts prefers her e-reader but hasn’t been able to track down any Munro e-books due to a library backlog.

“As soon as it was announced that she had won the Nobel award, it’s impossible to get your hands on an e-book copy of hers.”

She made her way to the second-hand store, Paper Hound Bookshop, hoping to improve her luck.

There, the manager was presiding over a rush.

Alice Munro “has always been a good seller. Following the announcement though, there has definitely been more interest and more sales of her books,” said Kim Koch.

“I think there’s a buzz and a real feeling of celebration of Canadian literature. Everybody likes her, everyone. She’s the Chekov of Canada.”

Across town, the Pulp Fiction bookstore sold more than 70 Munro titles shortly after the news broke.

“All her signed books sold out within an hour of the announcement,” said Christopher Brayshaw, owner of the independent store.

Both Macleod’s Books and Criterion Books are close to selling out of Munro titles and online sales are keeping pace.

Dear Life and My Best Stories have been on Amazon Canada’s bestseller list for the last seven days. Chapters Indigo is almost sold out of Alice Munro in paperback and hardcover titles.

Alice Munro is the second Canadian-born author and first female to win the Nobel literature prize.