Better Bookstores in Vancouver

Amazon is great, but there’s something about selecting your next beach read from a real bookstore. Actually, there are a few things: the atmosphere, the quirky staff, the people-watching, the sections you otherwise wouldn’t browse (polar regions travel, anyone?) and the smell and feel of real-life page-turners. Here, our favourite spots to shop for books.

Visit this Vancouver institution when you have ample time to poke around the city’s best antiquarian collection. Popular among authors and collectors, the independent bookstore boasts some 100,000 titles crammed in every nook and cranny of the shop, which makes its home in a downtown heritage building. In the charmingly cluttered space, you’ll find rare and out-of-print books as well as bestsellers from every imaginable subject category. 455 West Pender St.

Banyen Books
You’ll find readings for your body, mind and soul at this unique Kitsilano shop. Banyen boasts North America’s most comprehensive selection of literature on spiritual traditions, healing arts and Earth wisdom. Enjoy the relaxing atmosphere — complete with incense and yoga music — as you peruse the inspiring collection. Grab a seat on one of the meditation pillows and flip through a few pages of the bestsellers, including The Way of the Superior Man: A Spiritual Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Women, Work, and Sexual Desire. The shop often hosts readings and other events where you can meet like-minded ladies. 3608 West 4th Ave.

Pulp Fiction
Looking for high-end graphic novels? French cookbooks? Small-format Dr. Seuss? Visit this stellar used book retailer at its Main Street or Kitsilano location. The cool collection is growing daily. With a stock of 80,000 titles and a promise to get you any book in print in North America within a week and at a discounted price, why shop at a big box? 2422 Main St. or 3133 Broadway W.


This volunteer-run shop on the edge of the Downtown Eastside specializes in anti-capitalist, political books. The indie inventory includes books on subjects such as anarchy, First Nations peoples?, community organizing and radical theory. Spartacus also stocks an excellent selection of journals and magazines and zines by activists, poets and writers. 684 Hastings Street E.

Dead Write Books
If you love crime and mystery reading, a visit to Dead Write is a must. Here you’ll discover a large inventory of Canadian and British titles, some of which are not available in the States. True crime books and nonfiction work are also available. And if you fancy yourself an aspiring Stephen King, you can pick up a few books on writing mysteries.

Image courtesy of sillygwailo.

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