One night, Brandi Morpurgo snapped a quick picture of her mobile book business, Daisy Chain Books, and posted it on social media. The image showed two doors of a Ford container van thrown open, fairy lights lining the entrance to an inviting interior filled with pre-owned books. The photo is cozy and cute, but nothing particularly exciting; the shop’s Instagram feed was filled with other images that looked similar.
She had no idea what this one picture would do.
As of 2022, that picture has been shared in over 16 countries, and there’s even a Twitter meme featuring her picture that had, when last tallied, 300,000 likes and 45,000 retweets. It has inspired other individuals to start their own book trucks and has connected her to readers across the globe.
“The whole point was to take books to people who didn’t have access to books in a fun, new way. So, rather than just open a doorway for people to come to you, I decided to go where they were and meet them where they were at,” Brandi shares when asked about the book truck’s origin story. But, just like any business, this method of selling offered some challenges.
“It was great when I was parked, but then I would drive away and leave everybody behind,” says Brandi, noting that she has always had an intense passion for building community spaces. The book truck was great, but she was anxious for a space that felt more rooted.
Enter: a cozy space on Edmonton’s High Street. With cheery yellow walls and a checkerboard floor, Daisy Chain Book Co.’s first brick-and-mortar location maintains all the charm and comfort of the book truck while providing customers with a physical place to gather, relax, and find community. And Brandi definitely takes advantage of her expanded space, using her shop to host book clubs, community events, and even an engagement party! With a newly opened second location in Beaumont, Daisy Chain is a crucial addition to Alberta’s roster of independent bookshops.
Daisy Chain also prioritizes actions and decisions that are good for the rest of the world. Not only is the store plastic-free and doing its best to minimize unnecessary waste, the stock is also 75% pre-owned titles. “I think that there are enough books out there that, if there were not any more books printed, we would still have enough books to share amongst ourselves,” says Brandi. Whether it’s a book you were gifted, something you never got around to reading, or just one you probably won’t reread, Daisy Chain encourages you to bring your pre-loved books into the store. In return, you’ll receive 50% off another previously owned book.
After talking to Brandi, one thing is clear: Daisy Chain is all about community. “Reading is a very isolating activity. But when you’re done, you look up and you want to talk to somebody about what you read or how you felt,” and she’s happy to be that somebody. Maybe you are the only one in your friend group who reads, or maybe no one shares your taste. No matter the circumstance, the Daisy Chain Books team will always welcome you with open arms, exciting conversation, and a perfect recommendation. “We put the shelves in the background, but all the stuff that happens inside? It’s all people.”