Bookstores

For book-lovers, one of the hardest things about starting a life in a new city is discovering where to buy books. In an effort to help out, I'm compiling a list of great bookstores. Here's what I have so far (from East to West, North to South):

Nova Scotia
Trident Booksellers: 1256 Hollis St., Halifax
Used books and a great little cafe (with a sidewalk patio) make Trident a great place to browse and buy.
JW Doull Bookseller: 1684 Barrington St., Halifax
For hard-to-find used and antique books, Doull's is the place to look. 
Woozles Childrens Bookstore: 1533 Birmingham St., Halifax
This place is a child's book-filled dream.
Box of Delights: 466 Main St., Wolfville
Besides all the books you'd expect to find in an independent bookshop, Box of Delights features a wall of local authors and stocks all the books printed by Gaspereau Press.

Quebec
Drawn & Quarterly: 211 Bernard Ouest, Montreal
This bilingual shop sells books – graphic and otherwise – published by the Drawn & Quarterly imprint, as well as a great selection of graphic novels/books, Canadian lit and generally interesting reading material.
The Word: 469 Rue Milton, Montreal
In the heard of the McGill ghetto, this little used bookshop is quite literally overflowing with books. They line the floor-to-ceiling shelves, lie stacked on the floor, and fill paper shopping bags lined up around the base of the bookcases. There's also a deals table on the sidewalk. If you're looking for a book, they probably have it. 
Nicholas Hoare: 1366 Avenue Greene, Westmount (Montreal)

Specializing in predominantly British books (and the occasional CanLit superstar), this is a bookshop for browsers as much as buyers – really, the displays and shelves are to die for.

Ontario
Patrick McGahern Books: 783 Bank St., Ottawa
Floor-to-ceiling shelves and rolling ladders offer a little something extra when you're searching for that rare, antique or regular used book.
Octopus Books: 116 Third Ave., Ottawa
A little subversive, a lot awesome (and usually more grammatically correct than that). They stock a wide range of stuff, from kids books and cookbooks to books on feminism and Native studies.
Nicholas Hoare: 419 Sussex Drive, Ottawa and 45 Front St. East, Toronto
Specializing in predominantly British books (and the occasional CanLit superstar), this is a bookshop for browsers as much as buyers – really, the displays and shelves are to die for.
Wayfarer Books: 85 Princess St., Kingston
Narrow aisles and tall shelves make Wayfarer the place to be for used-book friends and lovers.
Novel Idea: 156 Princess St., Kingston
Featuring thoughtfully arranged new books and a great selection of local authors.
Berry and Peterson Booksellers: 348 King St., Kingston
This is a warren of a bookshop; long out of shelf space, books are piled on the floor and in boxes, which makes you feel a bit like an adventurer as you root through shelves and piles to find the book you seek.
Books & Company: 289 Main St., Picton
Big front windows makes this bookstore bright and airy, all the better to shop for new and used books while petting the shop's roaming cat.
Eliot's Bookshop: 584 Yonge St., Toronto
Three storeys of floor-to-ceiling used books, including stacks on the stairs themselves. 
Type Books: 883 Queen St. West and 394 Spadina Rd., Toronto
Home to great window displays and an excellent selection, Type Books has two lovely locations. 
Pandemonium: 2862 Dundas St. West, Toronto
With used books and music, you can spend hours in this Junction bookshop.
BMV Books: 471 Bloor St. West, 10 Edward St., 2289 Yonge St., Toronto
A rare "independent chain," BMV offers multiple floors of new and used books, all marked down to make it easier to buy more than you intended. 
This Ain't the Rosedale Library: 86 Nassau St., Toronto
Besides their wonderful array of books (fiction, nonfiction, pop culture - you name it), they have an amazing selection of magazines and literary journals.
Bakka Pheonix: 697 Queen St. West, Toronto
Canada's oldest science fiction bookstore is still going strong. Whether you're into space opera, other-worldly exploration or more sciencey science fiction, they've got you covered.
Mabel's Fables Children's Bookstore: 662 Mount Pleasant Rd., Toronto
Children's bookstores are happy places, and this one comes with good and interesting choices for bedtime reads.
The Cookbook Store: 850 Yonge St., Toronto
This one is fairly self-explanatory, but the selection is astounding.
The Bookshelf: 41 Quebec St., Guelph
Independent bookstores in socially-conscious university towns are usually a sure bet. When you throw in a cinema, café and the occasional live show, the bookshelf backdrop livens up considerably.

British Columbia
Pulpfiction Books: 2422 Main St. and 3133 West Broadway, Vancouver
Selling new and used books and happy to order in whatever they don't have, they aim to please (and how could you not be?)

International
Strand Bookstore: New York City, USA
Yes, it's 18 miles of new, used and hard-to-find books. Be careful, you might never get out.
The Abbey Bookshop: 29 rue de la Parcheminerie, Paris, France
In the heart of Paris, it's a Canadian, English-language bookshop. Allez-y.
Shakespeare and Company: 37 rue de la Bûcherie, Paris, France
Another English-language Parisian bookshop, this one featuring new-and-used books and bunks for weary travellers willing to work for their board.
Gilbert Joseph: in pretty much every city in France
Technically, I think they're a chain, but their selection of French books (new and used) is not to be missed, and in smaller cities their little English-language section might be the only one around for miles.
Livraria Leonardo da Vinci: 185 Avenida Rio Branco, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
A big selection in multiple languages means this is more than just a shop to find a beach read (the name might have tipped you off on that, though).

If you have a bookshop you'd like to see added to the list, send me an e-mail or leave your suggestion in the comments.

Image shown courtesy of Wendy Gillis.

107 comments:

  1. Prosperos Books, 34 Rustaveli Street, Tbilisi, Georgia
    Good place for English language books, maps and other stuff, particularly relating to all things Georgian. English-speaking staff are very helpful, and the attached cafe is just the spot for coffee to go with your new book purchase.

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  2. Chiraq Books, 4 - Zaergaerpalan Street, Baku, Azerbaijan
    The somewhat limited selection is nonetheless the best that Baku - and Azerbaiijan - has to offer for an English-language bookstore. Best seller novels, second hand books and some English language books on Azerbaijan on offer by the friendly, English-speaking owner.

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  3. Ploshad Slaveykov (Slaveykov Square), Graf Ignatief Street, Sofia, Bulgaria
    This open air book market is open every day in central Sofia. Mostly Bulgarian language books, but smatterings of English language books as well as well as a good selection of maps and coffee table books make it a good spot to browse on a warm day.

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  4. The pedestrian underpass at Abovyan and Moscovyan streets in Yerevan, Armenia. This underpass has become a second hand book market of delights. Head down the steps at the intersection, under the street...and be greeted by stacks of books up to 3 metres high and a warren of passages between the stacks. Mostly Armenia language, but English, French, German and Russian in more or less abundance as well. Yerevan: World Book Capital 2012.

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  5. El Ateneo buenos aires? A tourist stop, but a huge and gorgeous bookstore.

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  6. Book City has several locations in Toronto and is an excellent bookstore as well. :)

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  7. Elephant Bookstore in Sofia, Bulgaria. Located in Chai vuv Fabrikata Tea House at 11, Georgi Benkovski Street, it is a relatively new irresistible, albeit small strictly second hand strictly English bookstore. Simply the best in Bulgaria, with very attractive prices as well.

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