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The bookseller

Writers used to be condescending about travelling salesmen, but they have long since joined the club.

By Mordecai Richler   March 1999

Vaudeville isn’t dead. But the song-and-dance men, jugglers, animal acts and stand-up comics have been displaced by jet-lagged authors, who will read from their works in bookshops wherever at least eight potential customers can be found. On a recent week in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times Book Review listed no fewer than 80 peddlers reading in various locations.

On the day before I start out on my own cross-Canada book promotion tour, the omens are bad. Striding down Crescent Street, late in the afternoon, bound for my favoured watering hole, I am stopped by a gentleman from Vancouver.

“Aren’t…

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