07/20/2013 12:39 EDT | Updated 09/19/2013 05:12 EDT

Vancouver bookstore opening bucks trend

The opening of a new bookstore, The Paper Hound, might be part of a larger trend of openings after years of bookstore closures.

Last year, Sharman King shut down all of his Book Warehouse locations, except for one, while Japanese chain Book Off closed its only Canadian location in Vancouver.

Vancouver's oldest independent book store, Duthie Books, closed in 2011.

While statistics on Canadian booksellers are not available, the American Bookseller Association, the independent stores' trade group, says membership has increased for the fourth year in a row.

Membership has risen from 1,401 members in 2009 to 1,632 members this year, with some operating in multiple locations.

Personal touch

Online giants like Amazon, chains like Chapters and Barnes & Noble, and the 2008 financial crisis were often blamed for the demise of book stores.

But Paper Hound owners Rod Clarke and Kim Koch think the resurgence in book stores shows the need for the human touch.

"When things bottom out, there is room to enter, and that's why we started small with used books," said Clarke.

"You can search on the Internet, but you can actually look at things in a store," said Koch. "It's an experience."

After working together at MacLeod's bookstore for years, the career booksellers say they are glad to have the blessing of their former employer, Don Stewart.

"The thing I admired in Don is that he delighted in all books, and that has really informed my appreciation of books and the excitement for them," says Koch.

The Paper Hound sells mostly used books, but new book sales can be made as special orders.

You can follow the CBC's Manusha Janakiram on twitter @mjanakiram.