Montreal’s Best Independent Bookstores

The independent bookstore is an increasingly endangered species, but we still love browsing in a store with some character; it’s like entering a wealthy (and bookish) friend’s personal library. Here are some of our favourites in town.

The Word
This McGill ghetto institution was founded 35 years ago by university students and remains the city’s best used bookstore — fairly priced and always thoughtfully stocked. Students also know this is the spot with the best pickings for used textbooks. Perhaps the city’s coziest book shop. 469 Milton St., (514) 845-5640.

S.W. Welch
It was a little unsettling to see this Main mainstay move from its St-Laurent digs up to Mile-End last year, but it’s finding new life on St-Viateur. The store offers a wide variety of used and antiquarian books, plus a surly cat. 225 St-Viateur St. W., (514) 848-9358.

Paragraphe
An alternative to the Chapters/Indigo monolith (though it’s owned by Quebec giant Archambault), this is a fine new bookstore with an extensive magazine selection near McGill University. The store occasionally hosts visiting writers and lecturers. 2220 McGill College, (514) 845-5811.

Argo
This little sliver of a bookstore specializes in literature, literary criticism and history, and you can pick up a copy of the New York Review of Books while you’re at it. 1915 Ste-Catherine St. W., (514) 931-3442.

Ex Libris
Antiquarian history and philosophy books are the specialty of this little downtown mainstay, which also boasts a decent selection of jazz records. 2159 Mackay St., (514) 284-0350.

Image courtesy of guldfisken on Flickr.

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