I’ll be honest, Kim Koch has one of my dream jobs: running a used bookstore along a burgeoning book renaissance pedestrian-friendly strip peppered with cafes and record shops. It’s not only because she’s surrounded with books 24/7, but her job requires her to find books—the more eccentric the better—from first edition antiques to uncorrected unbound proofs; from post-WWII crime dramas to anarchist manuals. What’s more, Kim gets to converse with fellow bookworms and bibliophiles, and organizes weekly readings featuring local poets and writers. In a sense, Kim is not just front centre of Vancouver’s book renaissance, she’s running an intellectual salon—and succeeding—in the thick of a digi-tech maelstrom in a cozy setting complete with brick walls, bright windows and flowers. Yes, flowers. See? Dream job.
Kim Koch is the co-owner of The Paper Hound, the latest addition of downtown Vancouver’s charming book row. The Victoria-born and raised child of librarians, Kim is the definitive bibliophile-book hunter: when she’s not manning the shop, she’s scouring estates, second hand shops and even her own book shelves to add to The Paper Hound’s growing collection of mainstream, out-of-print and quirky doctor-nurse romance vintage paperbacks. For this week’s episode of MsRepresent: Behind the Face, a Fierce Woman, the former Macleod’s Books employee, talked about the return of the book renaissance amidst the digital age of eBooks, running a popular second-hand bookshop against the backdrop of massive bookstore closures, and what it’s like to be a young—very young—woman bookstore owner within a culture often dominated by old, curmudgeonly male sellers and owners.