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$55,000 in Antiquarian Books Were Stolen From Family Bookstore

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Always books. Never boring.

Russell Books is an iconic new and used bookstore in Victoria, BC, Canada. It was started in 1961 in Montreal by Reg Russell and relocated to Victoria in 1991. It’s now being run by the third generation of the family: Reg Russell’s granddaughter, Andrea Minter, and her husband, Jordan.

It started as a 300 square foot, one aisle bookstore and has expanded over the years to two floors connected with escalators and 18,000 square feet. The aisles ares packed full of used and new books in every conceivable genre, and they also have a large collection of rare and antiquarian books.

Russell Books is a popular tourist destination as well as a favorite bookstore of locals for its large selection and discounted prices.

The night of February 8th, the store was broken into, and $55,000 of antiquarian books were stolen, including a signed Walt Whitman first edition worth $10,000 and a book published in 1600. The cases containing the books were also broken.

Andrea Minter said, “If they had taken only books from the New York Times ­bestseller’s list, we can replace those. But they took all of our favourites, our special books, so that makes it really hard.” She shared that “We’re all very emotional here, but we’re happy that no one one was hurt.”

The owners ask that anyone with information notify the Victoria Police Department — the non-emergency line is 250-995-7645.

If you would like to support the bookstore, you can place an order online at their website. All their books are available online, and they can also order in new books. They ship all over the world.

UPDATE: The Victoria Police Department have located and returned “most, if not all” of the stolen books. On social media, Russell Books shared: “After what must have been a frightening day, Walt Whitman and some of his friends from the 1600’s spent the night recuperating at our house.”

Read more about this story at the Times Colonist.

Find more news and stories of interest from the book world in Breaking in Books.