Vancouverite David Ellis opened up a new chapter of his life when he began travelling the province in a white van meticulously filled to the brim with First Nations historical books and documents to sell.
He took over the destination-based book selling business from his father, Bill Ellis, nearly three decades ago.
“I’ve been coming to Invermere for 24 years now to see schools and First Nations,” said David, noting he caters to both the Shuswap and Ktunaxa Nations as well as some of the schools in the Columbia Valley.
“I have a huge collection for (the Columbia Valley), just like I do for all the small towns and First Nations in B.C. — the oldest, and rarest books.”
David estimates that during a typical trip to sell books and documents, he travels with 1,200 items in stock with information that is specific to each area. However, he said that while “precision-book selling” might only take him on the road for about two months of the year, it’s a full-time job to acquire, sort and set up daily meetings within his province-wide network.
“I take very precise trips,” he explained, “and it’s what they call ‘precision-book selling’ so every day I have an appointment — or two appointments — with all the books sorted out for each destination.”
Previously, he has met with aq’am Community Councillor Marty Williams (a Ktunaxa community) and Shuswap Indian Band Chief Barbara Cote in the East Kootenay, along with many other First Nation community leaders throughout the province. He visits bookstores in every community and shops online to pick up new inventory to sell on his trips. Once he has amassed a new collection, David sets up a stock that is specific to each area at local Chambers of Commerce, public libraries or band offices.
“When I’m moved in, I see the people and hopefully, they buy some books,” he explained, while expressing a strong desire to plan a sale in the Columbia Valley this spring. “I would like to have a pop-up sale at the library… with the help from the museum, we might be able to have a sale there for about three days.”
However, David is waiting for safe driving conditions to make the journey from Vancouver to the Columbia Valley — as well as to hear from bookworms in the community to see if they’re interested in meeting with him.
“It’s up to me to decide a date, but I don’t want to go there any time before March,” he said, while encouraging readers with an interest in his cause to contact him.
To contact David by phone, call him at 604-222-8394 or 604-916-6081. For those who prefer to chat online, send David an email at email@example.com or visit the “David Ellis Bookseller” page on Facebook.