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 beyond.
“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
Too many books? Winston has some advice:
“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
Bookstores (Victoria BC & Area)
Shiny New Books
- Bolen Books – one of the biggest indie bookstores in Canada.
- Munro’s Books – rated one of the best bookstores in the world.
- Russell Books – huge store with new, used, and antiquarian books.
- Indigo Canada – located in Mayfair mall.
- Tanner’s Books (Sidney) – large store with new books, magazines, maps, calendars and children’s section.
- Ivy’s Books – behind the tweed curtain in Oak Bay.
- Legends Comics & Books – wide selection of comics.
- Crown Publications – Province of BC publications.
- Royal BC Museum – many BC books in their gift shop.
- Christian Book & Music – near Mayfair mall
Lovely Used Books
- Chronicles of Crime – mystery, noir, and vintage books.
- Sorensen’s Books – history, art, and rare books.
- Bastion Books – art, history, contemporary and vintage books.
- The Haunted Bookshop – the oldest bookstore on Vancouver Island; filled with a wide variety of quality books; gets visitors from all over the world.
- James Bay Coffee & Books – coffee, food, books, and live events.
- Camas Books – social & environmental justice; live events.
- Cavity Curiosity Shop – music, books, magazines; “no stranger to the the strange”.
- The Vorpal Gnome – “a nest of nerd treasures”.
- Dragonfly Books (Western Communities)
- Penelope’s Book Stop (Western Communities)
- Smart Bookshop (Royal Oak Shopping Centre)
- Beacon Books (Sidney) wide selection including military, vintage, cookbooks, classics and more.
- Galleon Books & Antiques (Sidney)
- Well Read Books (Sooke)
- Bucknucks Books (Cobble Hill)
- Galiano Books on Galiano Island. See profile in The Guardian.
- Abebooks.com – millions of books, buyers and sellers worldwide. Owned by Amazon since 2008. Founded in Victoria, BC.
- Vancouver Island Bookshops & Bookbinders
- BC independent book sellers (Tyee)
Rare, Collectable, & Beautiful Books
- Period Fine Bindings also (see their youtube video)
- The Haunted Bookshop (Sidney)
- Galleon Books (Sidney)
- Period Fine Bindings (Oak Bay) amazing for those fascinated by 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)
Closed Victoria & Area Bookstores
- Bring & Buy Books – Esquimalt Rd- closed in 2018
- Pages Books – Brentwood Bay – closed in 2018
- City News – downtown Victoria – closed circa 2013
- Fairfield Bookshop – closed circa 2016
- Grafton Books – Oak Bay – closed circa 2012
- Shepherd Books – Victoria – closed circa 2012
- Mallard Books – Sidney – closed circa 2013
- Paperback Writer – Sidney – closed circa 2011
- Compass Rose Nautical Books – Sidney – closed circa 2006
- Book Warehouse – Victoria (View & Gov’t) – closed circa 1997
- Wells Books – Victoria – closed circa 2005
- Poor Richard’s Books – Victoria – closed 2004
- Shepherd Books – Victoria – closed circa 2014
- Military Bookstore – moved into Beacon Books 2017
Notable Vancouver Bookstores
- Banyen Books (Kitsilano)
- Odin Books (Broadway)
- McLeod’s Books (Pender)
- Albion Books (near McLeod’s)
- 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)
Notable Bookstores worldwide
- Housing Works – New York
- The Strand – New York
- Powell’s Books – Portland
- Weller Book Works – Salt Lake City
- Tattered Cover Bookstore – Denver
- Shakespeare & Company – Paris
- Typebooks – Toronto
- Booksellers Row – Toronto
- Best Indie Bookshops in the World
“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
- Audible – Super popular, heavily advertised, but also under fire by indie bookstores (read critique by Cory Doctorow).
- Libro.fm – Lauded for working well with indie bookstores.
- Scribd Reading Service – Reviewed by The Verge and Business Insider.
Know of a bookstore that should be listed? Send an email.
Updated February 2019