Regardless of the season, there are few pastimes that are more satisfying or self-indulgent than reading. But now that Vancouver’s rainy season has fallen into place, we look forward to the excuse of some innocent closing time spent capturing our reading list (it’s long) and escaping into the comforting, fragrant company of books, books, books!
Once again, we have compiled our list of local bookstores – and a few subdued “bookstores” – that we suggest to fill your personal library with fiction, non, and everything in between …
523 Richards St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2Z5
Both readers and collectors will always find something on the crowded shelves of this modest but carefully stocked thrift store (even a few records).
Banyen books and sound
3608 West 4th Ave.
Banyen is much more than a bookstore. It is also a wellness emporium, a west 4th cornerstone and a time portal to Kitsilano’s hippy heyday. The 50-year-old neighborhood institution is a one-stop for all your self-awareness and healing needs, from printed matter to ritual tools like crystals, pearls, chimes, incense and more.
Canterbury Tales Bookstore
2010 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5N 4A9
Canterbury Tales sells new and used books on The Drive. The always welcoming staff is read and knowledgeable. In recognition of (and celebrating) the fact that their community is made up of an eclectic cross-section of readers, the team at Canterbury Tales is working hard to match their customers with the perfect book.
2176 West 41 Avenue
This local and independent bookstore curates a selection of new books in a wide range of subject areas, including art, photography, fiction, memoirs, biography, travel, psychology, history, cookbooks, and gardening.
2557 W Broadway, Vancouver, BC V6K 2E9
A first-class resource for all stages of the reading-with-children journey. From savvy blackboard books and classic goodnight stories to graphic novels, chapter books and puzzles, this place has parents covered.
3642 W 4th Ave, Vancouver, BC V6R 1P1
In operation since 1985, Kestrel offers a large selection of used, rare and sold-out books in a wide range of disciplines. As they put it: “From Archie Comics to medieval manuscripts, there is a collection field for every budget and every age”.
Little Sister’s Book & Art Emporium
1238 Davie St.
This West End institution is the place for sexy publications and accessories for the whole rainbow of readers and their pleasures. You are without a doubt an important member of the Vancouver community, and you can satisfy your needs by seeking them out at their prime location on the Davie St. Strip.
3972 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V 3P2
This cheerful 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 colorful experience!
455 West Pender St.
Known for its role in the 1984 fantasy film The NeverEnding Story, this legendary icon incorporates the used bookstore experience: keep in mind that shelves abound in vintage and previously beloved titles, plenty of character and a dense aroma of old and beloved paper.
229 E. Georgia St.
This bookstore in Chinatown is a wholly female and originally owned company and is a big supporter of underrepresented authors and independent press publications as well as local artists. Massy Arts Society’s recently relocated gallery space (formerly upstairs the retail store, now at 23 Pender St.) regularly hosts poetry readings, book launches and discussions.
344 West Pender St.
Sniff for this cute little nook of books when you are looking for something special. Co-owned by Kim Koch and Rob Clarke, The Paper Hound Bookshop was launched at its current location on Pender Street in 2013. (We became interested in it immediately after the whippet brand was painted on the papered windows, and it remains ours) one of Vancouver’s favorite places at the center of new, used, and rare books.) The shelves of used books are organized into some smart niches, and the new book selection includes some hard-to-find publishers.
2422 Main St.
Now with over two decades of book business behind it since the opening of their Main Street flagship, Pulp Fiction’s current three locations (Mount Pleasant, Kitsilano and Commercial Drive) are home to tens of thousands of titles, including a thoughtful library of new books and shelves with used volumes constantly being picked over and added (take care while navigating the piles of incoming and sorted books if you want to avoid a catastrophic Jenga-like incident). If you spot something in the window that you need to have, do not wait to grab it!
2754 West Broadway
1830 Commercial Dr.
108 East Broadway
Vancouver’s long-standing resource for books on mental health covers the full range of issues and includes everything from illustrated children’s books to educational texts and memoirs. Odin’s spacious location on Broadway opened its doors half a block east of the prominent main street intersection in 2019.
520 E 1st Ave, Vancouver, BC V5T 0H2
A bookstore with forward-thinking art and design located in the Libby Leshgold Gallery at Emily Carr University. This is a place to get lost and be inspired.
3378 Findlay St.
Although they moved to Commercial Drive in 2014, Spartacus has been East Vancouver’s headquarters for socially conscious and progressive publications since the early 1970s. The non-profit organization, which is run exclusively on a voluntary basis, has also historically been so the place to alternative activist activities including prison letter writing, accordion circles, and other meetings for radicals.
Antisocial skateboard shop
2337 Main St
For skateboard-related publications ranging from illustrated children’s books to thick coffee table books and zines, look no further than Main Street’s Antisocial Skateboard Shop. Rely on the peeps that live and breathe on skateboarding, only to find out the best of what is available out there.
Mucker Next Door
2295 East Hastings St.
Although it only reopened in early November 2021, the selection of books and magazines at Mucker Next Door (the new retail expansion of Dachi) looks very promising – and tempting! Think edgy, culinary magazines and other must-reads in the food and wine realm.
51 Powell off next door
51 Powell St.
You may have realized it, but 51 Powell Street – also known as the third and newest ‘Objects’-oriented shopping area in the Neighbors trifecta of Gastown locations – is also home to a tight little ‘Print’ section. Think of smart, groundbreaking, high-quality and highly curated design and art books, international magazines and vintage publications, as well as titles from the Neighbor Book Club recommended by an impressive circle of the store’s artist, author and designer friends.
3612 Main St.
Mount Pleasant’s go-to shop for niche art, film, fashion, and design publications, including impressive coffee table tomes, special editions, travel guides, magazines, and typical Vancouver-related publications.