Basement Sale: Friday, August 19 to Saturday, August 27 (excluding Sunday 22)

We can’t believe we’re saying this but summer is almost over!

Every year we like to squeeze every sun-filled drop out of your summer reading time. We’re bringing back our popular basement sale where you can fill a bag o’ books for $5.00. 

We’re also offering our "Christmas in August" gift card promotion: $40 for a $50 Gift Card! Get the jump on your holiday shopping (or just give it to yourself. You deserve it!) 

And, because we love a good mystery, we’ve put together some mystery packages of carefully selected fiction and crime novels. Three books per package at $10.00 a piece... it is practically stealing from us.

…wait, maybe it is too much of a steal.

At any rate, we encourage you to avail yourself of our offers and at the same time support an independent business through LRT construction. With 3 months away from its completion, let’s get to the finish line together! We offer delivery service, a handy map for drivers and pedestrians to get around, online shopping for your convenience and cheerful and knowledgeable customer service.  

We also have AC and aren’t ashamed to play that card. It’s hot out there folks.

July Newsletter

We are deep into July and we hope you’ve had at least a few memorable summer reading experiences!

It's been kinda quiet around here... except maybe these past few days. Where did all these Pokemon come from?! We had to shoo a Charmander out of the kids section yesterday and now we have a Zubat! Anybody know how to get rid of these things?

It has occurred to us that the reason business may have slowed down is that people have headed out of town for vacation this year to get a break from the construction. Anticipating just this, we’d like to remind you of our online database where you can find all books in print, on-hand at the store, or available for order.

We have recently re-vamped our website and, in our humble opinion, it is absolutely fantastic! On it you’ll find news updates, our map to navigating through construction, a digital version of our Summer Reads catalogue and yes, our online store. Once you've found your treasure we will happily deliver it to your door! Our delivery prices are reasonable: $3.00 on a purchase of $30, $2.00 on a $50 purchase, or FREE at $75. We’ll fight our way across confusing intersections and through mobs of Pokemon zombies to get it to you!

We’d also like to take a moment to point out a milestone and to thank you. We are over halfway through the King Street closure in Uptown! We’ve been given confirmation from Grandlinq that barring a natural catastrophe (knock on bookshelf), King will be open by November 30th. We’re very close to the finish line. And we could not have done it without you. We asked for help, we asked for you not to forget about us, and you supported us with flying colours for all six months.

We don't want to push our luck but we’d like to ask you for continued support for the rest of the summer. We are so close to making it through this ordeal, we just need another rally!

▪ If you’re away from home or traveling, consider using our online database for orders.
▪ Consider using our courier service for home or office delivery.
▪ Consider taking advantage of our gift certificate offer to save money for future purchases (our gift cards never expire).
▪ Consider putting one more book on top of your pile.

Consider us and we’ll consider this whole construction ordeal in the (book)bag!



TOUGHING IT OUT: a booklist to help you get through construction

With the continuation of Light Rail Transit construction for the foreseeable future, here at Words Worth Books we’ve prepared a list of titles to see you to the end of it.

It is easy to focus on the frustrations of delays and detours that construction brings, but we’d like to take a moment to remember what this Big Dig will do for our Region. In particular, we recommend Charles Montgomery’s “Happy City” and Taras Grescoe’s “Straphanger” for insights about public transportation and how it has shaped city planning. Stuck in traffic? Whip out “Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do” by Tom Vanderbilt. Taking a more philosophical approach to set-backs? Effortlessly produce a copy of “Geography of Genius” by Eric Weiner, which links the breakthroughs of human thought and city planning.

Whatever your approach to construction, we have a title for you!  CHECK OUT THESE TITLES AT OUR WEBSTORE


HAPPY CITY by Charles Montgomery

More of us than ever are moving to inner cities, mixed-use suburbs, and densely constructed towns. Our surroundings have certainly changed--but is city living cheering us up, or are we as gloomy on our walks to the subway as we were on our long predawn commutes? And if that's the case, how can we turn things around? In breezy, vivid prose, Montgomery reports from such exciting and dysfunctional places as Bogotá, once a dangerous, car-obsessed city, now a bike-loving model of civic excellence; California's San Joaquin Valley in the apocalyptic aftermath of the housing crisis; and a suburb of Vancouver, where a power company gathers energy from sewage to provide its citizens with heat and hot water. Full of cutting-edge insights from behavioral economists and leading urban thinkers, Happy City offers a completely new way to examine city life, showing us how small innovations can radically improve our experiences. Practical, genial, and fiercely open-minded, Montgomery has written a brilliant book about what today's cities are getting right--and how tomorrow's cities can do even better.


IN PRAISE OF SLOW by Carl Honore

These days, almost everyone complains about the hectic pace of their lives. We live in a world where speed rules and everyone is under pressure to go faster. But when speed is king, anyone or anything that gets in our way, that slows us down, becomes an enemy. Thanks to speed, we are living in the age of rage. Carl Honore has discovered a movement that is quickly working its way into the mainstream. Groups of people are developing a recipe for living better in a fast-paced, modern environment by striving for a new balance between fast and slow. In an entertaining and hands-on investigation of this new movement, Honore takes us from a Tantric sex workshop in a trendy neighbourhood in London, England to Bra, Italy, the home of the Slow Food, Slow Cities and Slow Sex movements. He examines how we can continue to live productive lives by embracing the tenets of the slow movement. A challenging take on the cult of speed, as well as a corrective look at how we can approach our lives with new understanding, In Praise of Slow uncovers a movement whose time has come.


STRAP HANGER by Taras Grescoe

In Straphanger, Grescoe hits the commuter road in a global quest to understand and illuminate the challenges of the post-automobile age. Straphanger is not just another attack on automobiles and suburban sprawl but the most entertaining and most thorough examination of global car culture yet written, and an empowering tool kit for anybody looking for alternatives to a car-based lifestyle. Ultimately, its subject is the city, and it offers a global tour of alternatives to car-based living told through encounters with bicycle commuters, subway engineers, professional boulevardiers, idealistic mayors and disillusioned trolley campaigners. Along the way, Grescoe meets libertarian apologists for the automobile, urban planners who defend sprawl, champions of hydrogen and biofuels, and traffic engineers fighting to reduce congestion. In a world of skyrocketing gas prices and political unrest in the oil-rich corners of the world, Straphanger is an essential book that addresses one of the most critical discussions of the near future.


TRAFFIC by Tom Vanderbilt

Driving is a fact of life. We are all spending more and more time on the road, and traffic is an issue we face everyday. This book will make you think about it in a whole new light.

We have always had a passion for cars and driving. Now Traffic offers us an exceptionally rich understanding of that passion. Vanderbilt explains why traffic jams form, outlines the unintended consequences of our attempts to engineer safety and even identifies the most common mistakes drivers make in parking lots. Based on exhaustive research and interviews with driving experts and traffic officials around the globe, Traffic gets under the hood of the quotidian activity of driving to uncover the surprisingly complex web of physical, psychological and technical factors that explain how traffic works.


THE WORKS by Kate Ascher

A fascinating guided tour of the ways things work in a modern city
Have you ever wondered how the water in your faucet gets there? Where your garbage goes? What the pipes under city streets do? How bananas from Ecuador get to your local market? Why radiators in apartment buildings clang? Using New York City as its point of reference, The Works takes readers down manholes and behind the scenes to explain exactly how an urban infrastructure operates. Deftly weaving text and graphics, author Kate Ascher explores the systems that manage water, traffic, sewage and garbage, subways, electricity, mail, and much more. Full of fascinating facts and anecdotes, The Works gives readers a unique glimpse at what lies behind and beneath urban life in the twenty-first century.



In The Geography of Genius, acclaimed travel writer Weiner sets out to examine the connection between our surroundings and our most innovative ideas. He explores the history of places, like Vienna of 1900, Renaissance Florence, ancient Athens, Song Dynasty Hangzhou, and Silicon Valley, to show how certain urban settings are conducive to ingenuity. And, with his trademark insightful humor, he walks the same paths as the geniuses who flourished in these settings to see if the spirit of what inspired figures like Socrates, Michelangelo, and Leonardo remains. In these places, Weiner asks, “What was in the air, and can we bottle it?” This link can be traced back through history: Darwin’s theory of evolution gelled while he was riding in a carriage. Freud did his best thinking at this favorite coffee house. Beethoven, like many geniuses, preferred long walks in the woods. Sharp and provocative, The Geography of Genius redefines the argument about how genius came to be. His reevaluation of the importance of culture in nurturing creativity is an informed romp through history that will surely jumpstart a national conversation.


TRIUMPH OF THE CITY by Edward Glaeser

A pioneering urban economist presents a myth-shattering look at the majesty and greatness of cities. America is an urban nation, yet cities get a bad rap: they're dirty, poor, unhealthy, environmentally unfriendly . . . or are they? In this revelatory book, Edward Glaeser, a leading urban economist, declares that cities are actually the healthiest, greenest, and richest (in both cultural and economic terms) places to live. He travels through history and around the globe to reveal the hidden workings of cities and how they bring out the best in humankind. Using intrepid reportage, keen analysis, and cogent argument, Glaeser makes an urgent, eloquent case for the city's importance and splendor, offering inspiring proof that the city is humanity's greatest creation and our best hope for the future.


THE CITY IN MIND by James Howard Kunstler

Kunstler turns his discerning eye to urban life in America and beyond in dazzling excursions to classical Rome, the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, Louis-Napoleon's Paris, the "gigantic hairball" that is contemporary Atlanta, the ludicrous spectacle of Las Vegas, and more. Seeking to discover what is constant and enduring in cities at their greatest, Kunstler explores how America got lost in suburban wilderness and locates pathways that might lead to civic revival. His authoritative tour is both a concise history of cities and a stunning critique of how they can aid or hinder social and civil progress. By turns dramatic and comic, The City in Mind is an exceptional glimpse into the urban condition.



In this remarkable challenge to conventional thinking about the environment, David Owen argues that the greenest community in the United States is not Portland, Oregon, or Snowmass, Colorado, but New York, New York. Owen contends that the environmental problem we face, at the current stage of our assault on the world's nonrenewable resources, is not how to make teeming cities more like the pristine countryside. The problem is how to make other settled places more like Manhattan, whose residents presently come closer than any other Americans to meeting environmental goals that all of us, eventually, will have to come to terms with.



Jeff Speck has dedicated his career to determining what makes cities thrive. And he has boiled it down to one key factor: walkability. The very idea of a modern metropolis evokes visions of bustling sidewalks, vital mass transit, and a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly urban core. But in the typical American city, the car is still king, and downtown is a place that’s easy to drive to but often not worth arriving at. Making walkability happen is relatively easy and cheap; seeing exactly what needs to be done is the trick. In this essential new book, Speck reveals the invisible workings of the city, how simple decisions have cascading effects, and how we can all make the right choices for our communities. Bursting with sharp observations and real-world examples, giving key insight into what urban planners actually do and how places can and do change, Walkable City lays out a practical, necessary, and eminently achievable vision of how to make our normal American cities great again.

How YOU can ensure ION has a great little bookstore to stop in front of

  photo credit David Beebee for the KW Record

photo credit David Beebee for the KW Record

When construction began in Uptown Waterloo at the end of February, we took a “wait and see” approach. We wanted to see how people would react to the inconvenience and how that would affect us as a business. In many ways we extremely surprised and touched by the public reaction to the picture in The Record. People visited us, sent tweets and messages, telling us how important our store is to the community, that they’d do what they could to support us.

One amazing person even started a “Words Worth Wednesday” campaign, committing to visiting us every week and encouraging others to join her (we’ve included some more information below if you’d like to join!). We had a slew of media attention chronicling our experience with construction (here is the latest piece from CTV regarding thecorduroy road story), and many many well-wishers stop by daily to essentially tell us to keep up the good fight.

And we are keeping up the fight. We’ll be here in your community as long as you want us to be.

Ten months (and possibly longer) is a very long time to ask any business to hold out, with no greater support. It just is, plain and simple. To that end, we’ve devised a list of ways to keep us around during these trying times:

▪ Pre-purchase gift cards for the future.They never expire and if you’re sure you won’t be able to make it into Uptown as often as you usually would, this is a great way to continue to support from afar – and it benefits you at a future date. Purchase a GC over $50 and we'll give you 10% off!
▪ Let us know if you’re having difficulty getting to us, either by car, walking or biking, or by bus. Knowing that signage is needed, etc. helps us inform the City and Grandlinq about our needs as a business. So send us a quick call, tweet, message, or smoke-signal to let us know. It helps us in a big way to help YOU access the shops in Uptown.
▪ We have initiated a bike delivery service. See below for details.
▪ We have a backdoor entrance off of Hughes Lane (sandwiched between and running parallel to King and Regina). There is a doorbell in case we have the door locked (mostly for evening shifts). But we are very happy to let you in and out of the back door. Moving forward it is our great hope that the City keeps Hughes Lane clean and inviting for pedestrian traffic. Please send us a message if you find this is not the case. Hughes Lane is an effective walking path for an alternate route through Uptown.
▪ Consider buying just one more book. Whether you only shop with us occasionally or we see you every week (and we love you!) pick up that book you've "been meaning to get around to." These small purchases add up to make a huge difference.
▪ Become familiar with the parking on Regina. There are hundreds of spots behind City Hall and at Station Lot, with free two-hour parking. Access Regina from Bridgeport or Erb, and enter from Kitchener via Weber (which has no ION related construction this year).
▪ Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for regular updates about construction, with pictures and a detailed map of how to reach us. Or simply give us a call – we always love to hear from you.
▪ Consider adjusting your route into Uptown instead of abandoning it. We have some solutions for you if you contact us, depending on your particular needs. Daily patterns are easy to alter, please don’t alter completely away from us. There are alternatives.

Getting through 2016 will be a challenge. We’re not going to lie to you. But, you have our word that we will always keep you updated about our status. We are not too proud to ask for help. I’m remembering the time in 2012 we needed to move our store one door over and had such an outpouring of support; people came out to move shelves and books and thirty years of memorabilia from the basement (sorry about that one!).

So trust us, we know how you feel about us. It is mutual. We absolutely would not be here without you and we wouldn’t WANT to be here without you. But we will need help this year and it will take ten months.

Welcome to Words Worth Books. How can we help you?

From the Words Worth Team

Mandy, Dave, Kristen H, Chris, Maggie, John, Kristen C, Curtis, & Jessie