There are few pastimes more satisfying or self-indulgent than reading. Big bonus that it’s also the OG socially distant activity!
Now that Fall is here, we’re looking forward to using those stretches of grey days spent indoors for catching up on our reading list (it’s long) and losing ourselves in the comforting, fragrant company of books, books, books! Here is a list of some local bookstores we suggest for filling out your fall library with fiction, non and everything in between….
Readers and collectors alike will always find something on the crowded shelves of this unassuming but thoughtfully stocked second-hand bookshop (a few records too).
Banyen is much more than a book shop. It’s also a wellness emporium, a West 4th cornerstone and a time portal to Kitsilano’s hippy heyday. The 50-year-old neighbourhood institution is a one-stopper for all your self-awareness and healing needs, from printed matter to ritualistic tools like crystals, beads, chimes, incense and more.
Canterbury Tales sells new and used books on The Drive. The always welcoming staff are well read and knowledgeable. Recognizing (and celebrating) the fact that their community is made up of an eclectic cross-section of readers, the team at Canterbury Tales work hard to match their customers with the perfect book.
This local and independent bookstore curates a selection of new books in a wide selection of subject areas including art, photography, fiction, memoir, biography, travel, psychology, history, cookbooks and gardening.
A top notch resource for every stage of the reading-with-kids journey. From drool proof board books and classic bedtime stories to graphic novels, chapter books and puzzles, this place has parents covered.
In operation since 1985, Kestrel provides a great selection of used, rare and out-of-print books in a multitude of subject areas. As they put it: “From Archie Comics to Medieval Manuscripts, there is a collecting field for any budget and any age”.
An old school shop that buys and sells secondhand books. Hours are inconsistent (and there is no website to consult) but the collection is fun to explore with a wide range of subject areas (from history, geography, fishing and travel to foraging, cooking, medicine and kids books). If you’re wanting to check this shop out, it might be best to call ahead to see if they are open. 604-261-3812.
This West End institution is the place for sexy publications and accessories for the entire rainbow of readers and their pleasures. Inarguably a vital member of the Vancouver community, you can satisfy your needs by seeking them out at their prime location on the Davie St. strip.
This perky little Main Street shop is not your typical comic book store. Lucky’s is the place to go for graphic novels and local indie comic artists, plus a small collection of non-fiction and children’s books. A visit here is always a colourful experience!
Well known for its role in the 1984 fantasy film, The NeverEnding Story, this legendary icon epitomizes the secondhand bookstore experience: think shelves overflowing with vintage and preloved titles, loads of character and a dense aroma of old and beloved paper.
Big time supporters of Canadian and Indigenous authors, as well as small independent press publications, this Chinatown book shop is also a community arts hub. Massy regularly hosts poetry readings, book launches, and discussions, and is home to both an upstairs art gallery featuring rotating exhibitions of local art and a hidden rare book room, in addition to their lofty retail space.
Sniff out this sweet little nook of books when you’re looking for something special. Co-owned by Kim Koch and Rob Clarke, The Paper Hound Bookshop launched at its current location on Pender Street in 2013. (We took an interest in it immediately after the whippet brand was painted on the papered up windows, and it continues to be our one of favourite Vancouver downtown spots for new, used and rare books.) The used books shelves are organized into some clever niches and the new book selection includes some hard to find publishers.
The Main Street flagship location recently celebrated two decades of bookish business. The complete trio of locations (Mount Pleasant, Kitsilano and Commercial Drive) are home to a total of tens of thousands of titles, including a thoughtful library of new books and shelves of used volumes that are constantly being picked over and added to (mind yourself while navigating the piles of incoming and to-be-sorted books if you want to avoid a disastrous jenga-like incident). If you spot something in the window that you have to have, don’t wait to snatch it up!
Vancouver’s long-running resource for mental health books covers the full spectrum of issues, and includes everything from illustrated children’s books to educational texts and memoirs. Odin’s spacious Broadway location opened its doors a half-block east of the prominent Main street intersection in 2019.
An art and design forward bookstore located within the Libby Leshgold Gallery at Emily Carr University. This is a place to get lost and inspired. Currently closed due to covid, but online ordering is still a go with time-slots for on site pickup as well as delivery.
Although they relocated to Commercial Drive in 2014, Spartacus has been East Vancouver’s headquarters for socially conscious and progressive publications since the early 70s. The nonprofit organization, which is entirely volunteer-run, has also historically been the spot for alternative activist activities including prison letter writing, accordion circles and other meetings for the radically minded.