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Chapters Ottawa

Chapters Indigo Bookstore Rideau in Ottawa Canada

The Chapters is a bookstore that has made waves in Canada, much like the way Barnes & Noble did in the United States and throughout the world. It’s owned by the company known as Indigo Books and Music, and while it used to be a separate entity that competed with the Indigo corporation, the merger in 2001 is now a combination company that has almost a hundred superstores  and over a hundred smaller stores using the names Coles, , SmithBooks, The Book Company, and Indigospirit,.

The Start of it All

Chapters was started when Lawrence Stevenson ended up buying out and combining two of Canada’s most popular book franchise – SmithBooks, and then Coles. When he acquired SmithBooks, he ended up buying those superstores which were equivalent to Barnes & Noble. In 1995, he opened up the first two literature superstores in Burlington and Burnaby. The business started to quickly take off. In the past, the other book stores had a lot of small chain stores, and with the Chapter Inc. merger, it brought attention to these stores and combined inventory to make it provide more entertainment for its customers. Similar to other popular American stores, Chapters went all out for its customers, and ended up providing accommodations to make their customers feel at ease inside, allowing them to sit in comfortable chairs, sofas, and even housed Starbucks for its customers. They even allowed customers to just come into the store, and then sit and read. Eventually, it became the largest retailer for books, and they grew to having over 70 superstores and almost 300 bookstores built into malls throughout the country.


Over the years, because of it’s humongous success, Chapters was blamed for almost all of the independent and small business bookstores throughout the country shutting down. It quickly grew a reputation by small business owners as the destroyer of everything that local bookstores were all about.

Chapters ended up growing so fast though, that it started competing with another box book store known as Indigo, which started out as a small store. Chapters answered the call by expanding their store into an all-out ecommerce store on top of its already local ones so it could compete with companies such as Amazon and Indigo. They even invested in Pegasus, a popular wholesaler for books so they could do online sales since the Canadian publishers weren’t successful in opening their own stores.


In 2000, Indigo decided to convince the Competition Bureau that it was not a business that could stand on its own due to how much they had lost and then by the next year, they ended up buying out Chapters, but kept both of the brands separately. Over time, many of the Chapters stores ended up being closed down, and even some of the Coles and SmithBooks stores had been closed down when they were too close to the Chapters stores.

After a while though, the owner of Indigo decided to do some major revamping of the Chapters section of its acquired business as well, and ended up combining the two stores into one massive chain under one name primarily. They ended up creating the name Chapters and Indigo, and they went full swing with the project renaming. This involved rebranding all of the stores, and even performing construction on some of the buildings to make them more viable for their consumers, and give the new brand a bigger name. After a while, they took off, and they have been operating under a partnership name ever since.

Getting Into Trouble

After Indigo bought out the Chapters company, it has actually been in trouble numerous times. One such time was when they ended up getting into trouble due to censorship since the owner and her husband run the HESEG Foundation because they provided a lot of support for Israel and also provided scholarships for soldiers who were veterans of the Israeli Army of Defence. Also, they ended up having the infamous “Main Kampf” book that was written by Adolf Hitler banned from the shelves, because even though the book is believed to be in historical context for academical studies, it was not originally intended to be available to everyday readers or scholars.


Chapters Ottawa is still Ottawa’s leading bookstores even though they have locations all over Canada. In order to see what they offer, you have to go into the stores for yourself, but you may be amazed and overwhelmed by the immense supply that they have. If you’re looking for a book, then Chapters and Indigo probably has it available in many cases!

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