This is really depressing. I haven't been in either shop in quite some time, (I don't live in Toronto, but I used to make regular trips when I worked in the used trade.)
Abelard is a more scholarly shop, but Annex is everything a good bookshop ought to be.
Janet Inksetter is meticulous, knew everything about Canada's literary life, and could spot up and coming writers with uncanny ease.
I'm dismayed that both booksellers cite the relatively new lack of browsers in their shops, and it's fair to assume they have read the tea leaves correctly.
Real readers are curious by default and that should extend to the stacks. If that changes, then one of the principle building blocks of the book trade, but more importantly of one's uniqueness goes to the curb as well. It's dreary and raining like hell outside, and I know if I think about this too much, I'm going to crawl back to bed with a Scotch bottle, so I'll simply suggest that once browsing for books goes, the attendant curiosity about one's surroundings goes with it. From there it's a short trip to this.
Posted by Dave