2020 21 Mar

State of the Octopus in a COVID-19 world

Please see our latest update from April 2: We made it!

Dear friends,

Last year, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of our store. We welcomed new friends and old who share our passion for progressive ideas and activism. And as usual, we organized and participated in more than fifty events dedicated to social, racial, class, gender, disability, and environmental justice.

Little did we suspect that months later, Octopus Books would be struggling to survive. Like many local independent businesses in Ottawa and across the country, we won't get through this challenging time without the support of our community. Simply put, we need to bring in at least $10,000 in sales by the end of the month in order to keep going.

This is how you can help: By purchasing one of the 2,000 titles we have in stock, p̶r̶e̶-̶p̶a̶y̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶f̶o̶r̶ ̶a̶ ̶s̶p̶e̶c̶i̶a̶l̶ ̶o̶r̶d̶e̶r̶, purchasing a credit on your account, or buying a gift certificate for friends or future you.

In a time of social distancing, how can an independent bookstore endure? By coming up with creative solutions! We're able to process purchases through our website, by email at octopus@octopusbooks.ca, a̶n̶d̶ ̶o̶v̶e̶r̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶p̶h̶o̶n̶e̶ ̶a̶t̶ ̶6̶1̶3̶-̶2̶3̶3̶-̶2̶5̶8̶9̶. You'll be able to pick up your books from our mailbox at our store, or if you're self-isolating, we can arrange to deliver your books to you.

Thank you for all of the love and support you've shown us over the years, and thank you for joining with us now to help us through our most difficult time. We look forward to celebrating our 51st year together with you in our newly-painted store soon!

With deepest gratitude,


Updated March 22: Friends, to say I am surprised and overwhelmed and full of gratitude would barely scratch the surface of what has happened in the last 24 hours, and how I feel. It has been wonderful to hear from so many of you, near and far. We’ve received a lot of correspondence, many orders and many generous offers. We are slowly working our way through this. Thanks friends, your words and actions give us hope for the store, and based on the great books you’ve ordered, hope for this messy world of ours.

Updated March 26: We are simply blown away by the community response! As noted above, we have had to make a couple of changes to adjust to the deluge of calls, emails, and requests we've received.

First, we're currently at the point where we're so behind in orders for books that are in stock, we aren't able to keep up with special orders as well. Once things return to normal, we would love to help you out with these books.

Second, we're finding it extremely difficult to process the orders that are coming in online and through email, and also answer the phone. Once this amazing surge of orders dies down, we would be very happy to talk to you again... maybe in 3 weeks? :)

What do you think?: