Support your local bookstores in Victoria, BC, and beyond! Ebooks are fun but bookstores serve as crucial cultural and knowledge hubs. In addition, with the rise of online booksellers, local bookstores are also rare and wonderful ‘real world’ places full of opportunity for discovery and delight. Below is a list of Victoria and area bookstores. Be sure to pay them a visit, enjoy the ambiance, and buy a few books. Also listed are a few other noteworthy book places in Vancouver and elsewhere.
“The Bookshop has a thousand books,
All colors, hues, and tinges,
And every cover is a door
That turns on magic hinges.”
–– Nancy Byrd Turner
“Printed books are magical,
and real bookshops keep that magic alive.”
–– Jen Campbell, The Bookshop Book
“We lose ourselves in books, we find ourselves there too.” –– unknown
Bookstores (Victoria BC & Area)
Shiny New Books
- Bolen Books is one of the biggest indie bookstores in Canada.
- Munro’s Books is rated one of the best bookstores in world.
- Russell Books has both new and used books with 2 downtown stores.
- Chapters Indigo Canada has 3 floors of books and gifts downtown.
- Tanner’s Books in Sidney is a large store with new books, magazines, maps, calendars and a large children’s section.
- Ivy’s Books is nestled behind the tweed curtain in Oak Bay.
- Legends Comics & Books is downtown near City Hall.
- Crown Publications carries Province of BC publications.
- Royal BC Museum carries a large number of BC books in their gift shop.
Lovely Used Books
- Chronicles of Crime has a huge selection of mystery, noir, and vintage books.
- Sorensen’s Books shares space with CoC (above) and has large selection of history, art, ephemera, and rare books.
- Renaissance Books has art, modern first editions, BC history books and more.
- The Haunted Bookshop is the oldest bookstore on Vancouver Island and gets visitors from all over the world.
- Camas Books has a wide variety of books on social movements, environment, social justice, and more.
- Cavity Curiosity Shop & The Vorpal Gnome a very small shop brimming with music, books, art, and pop culture.
- James Bay Coffee & Books serves up books, coffee, and live music events.
- Bring & Buy Books (no website) is located 1241 Esquimalt Rd. Call for details: 250-382-1241.
- Pages Books (Brentwood Bay)
- Dragonfly Books (Western Communities)
- Penelope’s Book Stop (Western Communities)
- Smart Bookshop (Royal Oak Shopping Centre)
- Sidney Booktown (Sidney bookstore directory)
- The Reading Room (Sooke)
- Well Read Books (Sooke)
- Galiano Books on Galiano Island. See profile in The Guardian.
- 4 Favourites (Victoria Driftwood blog)
- Vancouver Island Bookshops & Bookbinders
- BC independent book sellers (Tyee)
Rare, Collectable, & Beautiful Books
- Period Fine Bindings (see video)
- The Haunted Bookshop (Sidney)
- Galleon Books (Sidney)
- Renaissance Books (downtown Victoria)
- Period Fine Bindings (Oak Bay). Well worth a visit for anyone interested in antiquarian books.
- Meadland Bindery (Brentwood Bay)
- Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists
- Guild of Book Workers
- Book Arts Organizations
Little Free (Street) Libraries
- Victoria & Area Little Free Libraries Map
- Esquimalt Neighbourhood Little Free Libraries
- Saanich & Esquimalt Little Free Street Libraries (photos)
Unique Vancouver Bookstores
- Banyen Books (Kitsilano)
- Odin Books (Broadway)
- McLeod’s Books (Pender)
- Paperhound Book Shop (near McLeod’s)
- Criterion Books (near McLeod’s)
- Spartacus Books (Commercial Drive)
- Pulp Fiction Books (3 locations)
- People’s Co-op Books (Commercial Drive)
- 4 hidden gems (Vancouver)
International Literary Hubs
- Housing Works – New York
- Powell’s Books – Portland
- Shakespeare & Company – Paris
- Typebooks – Toronto
- Booksellers Row – Toronto
- Best Indie Bookshops in the World
“At any rate handle them…. Peer into them. Let them fall open where they will. … If they cannot enter the circle of your life, do not deny them at least a nod of recognition.” –– Winston Churchill (Advice on what to do if you have too many books to actually read them all.)
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Updated February 2018