“I’d rather have a book that sells one copy that no one else will sell, than to stock several best sellers you can get anywhere,” says Ben McNally, owner of Ben McNally Books in Toronto. “That’s what makes this store. That’s why people come.”

Ben McNally knows books and he knows readers. He’s been putting the two together in intriguing and sometimes surprising ways since 1970, most recently at his beautiful Bay Street store, and in the fabulously successful Books and Brunch series that he runs in partnership with The Globe and Mail at the King Edward Hotel.

Many people warned Ben that a Bay Street bookstore would surely fail. But he has proved them wrong. His vast knowledge, his independent taste, and his uncannily astute recommendations have ensured the store’s success.

Ben’s warmth and genuine enthusiasm for books have made him a favourite with Canadian authors and readers. For years at Kingston WritersFest he’s been wowing sellout crowds with his witty and erudite selections of the season’s best books at our Books Lovers’ Lunch event.

Ben McNally is the official bookseller for the International Festival of Authors in Toronto, and the President of Project Bookmark Canada, a charitable organization that erects physical markers bearing excerpts from Canadian books in the locations that inspired the writing. Ben is married to Lynn Thomson, author of Birding With Yeats: A Mother’s Memoir.

Appearing in: 18. Book Lovers’ Lunch, 31. Aristocrats, Scoundrels, Painters & Prospectors: Canadian Historical Fiction

Website: www.benmcnallybooks.com