The 8 Best Bookstores in Toronto [2022]

Bookstores in Toronto have an uphill battle to survive in this age of e-readers and internet sellers. Luckily, many bookstores in Toronto offer something unique for you to check out as well as simple ways to order your favourite books, or to visit! You can even sell your used books or donate them to your local bookstore here.

The bookstore culture in Toronto is alive and well, with shops specialized in sci-fi or rare editions, presenting wonderlands of children’s reading, and organising a plethora of literary events. 

If you’re a bookworm looking to read and uncover some hidden treasures, keep reading to find out what these Toronto bookshops have to offer!

Summary

How We Chose the Best Bookstores in Toronto?

We picked the best book stores based on these criteria:
  • Variety: We make sure the bookstores offer a variety of genres to read and some unique ones to discover such as spirituality or philosophy.
  • Quality: We ensure that some of the books you can buy are great quality like in trade paperback editions.
  • Price: We included the price range for its affordability and some might be on the higher end.
  • Customer Reviews: We added customer reviews to ensure that the staff was friendly and helped customers locate books, offer recommendations, organization and if they highly recommend the place.

The Best Bookstores in Toronto

1. Ben McNally Books

Ben McNally Books

Ben Mcnaly books contain fiction, history, poetry, cookbooks, special order books and many more. This store opened in 2007 and has gained fame through their large collection of books and friendly staff.

Ben McNally Books is an independent bookstore and they hold many events for book lovers from book signings to readings. Every month several authors will come to discuss about their new book where last Rick Mercer came to discuss about his new book “Talking to Canadians”.

It’s a great place to order a gift for book lovers. Plus they offer online shipping so there is no need to travel to the store if you’re not inclined to.

Business Information:

Address: 400 King St E, Toronto, ON M5A 1L4
Phone: (416) 361-0032
Website: benmcnallybooks.com

Customer Review Highlights:

“Ben McNally Books is a wonderful place where books are king. Ben has never steered me wrong with his recommendations. A great bookstore. Their new location is in the coolest spot. There are amazing cafes and back shops right beside the store and a cute park across the street.”

Pros & Cons

ProsCons
Curbside pickup · DeliveryStore closes early 10am to 3pm and prices are not shown online. 
Provided offline shipping you can order books by phone or email info@benmcnallybooks.com

2. BMV Books

BMV Books

BMV Books always tries to sell quality products at low prices. This place is an absolute haven from the noisy bustling streets outside. 

This independent bookstore allows people to resell their books as well. Although the staff are picky about the condition and selection. The price ranges from $9 to $14 or more.

This store doesn’t just sell books but DVDs, cassettes, blu-rays, etc. BMV Books is a gem of a bookstore because of its wide selection of books and reasonable prices.

Business Information:

Address: 471 Bloor Street West (Bloor and Brunswick, between Bathurst and, Spadina Ave., Toronto, ON M5S 1X9
Phone: (416) 967-5757
Website: bmvbooks.com

Customer Review Highlights:

“This place is awesome! Loads of books, but my fave part was the music section downstairs. So many records and CDs for really cheap. I bought everything John Mayer :)”
“I love this place !! Books are really affordable and of perfect quality! If you are lucky you can find your next book! Only problem is the website is not in sync with the current books in store!”

Pros & Cons

ProsCons
Service options: In-store pick-upMight have to put your backpacks on the floor for security reasons.
You can sell them your used books, comics, DVDs, CDs, vinyl records, and magazines! BMV will pay you cash for the items they can resell!

3. Seekers Books

Seekers Books
Google/Tung Nguyen

Seekers Books  has been open for over 20 years and offers a variety of genres and even rare unique books to pursue including Eastern Philosophy, spirituality, Occult, fiction, politics, etc. 

This is a used bookstore that is well known for its great deals. The staff are knowledgeable about the books here and offer some great suggestions whenever needed. 

Seekers Books always has a nice ambience. They play relaxing music, burn some scented candles and aim for a welcoming atmosphere. Visit this store if you’re eager to read and discover some rare books!

Business Information:

Address: 509 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1Y2
Phone: (416) 925-1982

Customer Review Highlights:

“I accidentally stumbled across this store about 10 years ago, and I keep going to it whenever I can. If I’m in the area, I make sure to stop by and look around, even if I’m not looking to buy anything. The energy, the atmosphere, just makes me feel peace.”
“Was able to almost finish a run of a fantasy series with two visits. Owner is super friendly and funny. Bookstore cat named Churchill is, of course, adorable. Will return soon.”

Pros & Cons

ProsCons
Service options: In-store shoppingShop is small but usually has what you’re looking for!

4. Type Books

Type Books

Type Books opened in 2006 and has beautifully curated a selection of books whether you’re looking for cookbooks or to read. The price can range from $15 to $55 or more. 

This place has gained its customers through its welcoming atmosphere and focusing on creating fun events. 

This includes book fairs, book readings, book launches, etc. The children’s selection here is well stocked as well with a mix of classic and newer books to choose from. You can go through a variety of genres to find something to love!

Also, they sell planners, agenda, tote bags, accessories, stationery and even jigsaw puzzles!

Visit Type Books to see a good variety and well organized collections plus the staff are very helpful and knowledgeable!

Business Information:

Address: 883 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1G5
Phone: (416) 366-8973
Website: TYPE Books

Customer Review Highlights:

“I love shopping at Type Books - a great neighbourhood bookstore. They have an interesting selection, and I always find something to buy.”
“I have never visited this area without stopping for a "quick visit" to Type Books! This is my favourite book store in Toronto.”

Pros & Cons

ProsCons
Service options: In-store shopping · Curbside pickup · DeliverySome books may be priced on the higher end such from $40 or more.
Has a variety of brand new books, and even sells accessories, planners, puzzles and many more!
Has a kids section of books

5. Pandemonium

Pandemonium

Pandemonium buys, sells, and trades quality books if they’re in good condition. You can even find some interesting books at great prices such as philosophy, art, poetry, religion, history, science fiction, mystery novels and many more!

Pandemonium has a great ambience which is why there are many repeat customers to the store. The price ranges from $10 to $25. 

The staff is very knowledgeable when it comes to the merchandise as well. It’s always good to ask them for recommendations.

Additionally, they sell vinyl, CDs and other great music to listen to too. 

Business Information:

Address: 2920 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6P 1Y8
Phone: (416) 769-5257
Website: Pandemonium – Toronto

Customer Review Highlights:

“Really like this store. I always find something and there is a nice variety in genres and always good music being played. The owner also pays fairly for books. If only more small businesses were like this.”
“Pandemonium is always a fun visit and different every time. A hugely eclectic range of books, music, and DVDs. Heavy bent on counter cultural or intellectual themes. A+”

Pros & Cons

ProsCons
Service options: In-store shopping · Curbside pickupSome of their items may be priced high
They accept donations of books, records, CDs, and DVDs in good condition. 
Follow their instagram for info about new arrivals, sales, etc.

6. Indigo

Indigo

Indigo is a popular bookstore franchise found in numerous locations. They sell everything: books, cute stationery, calendars, diaries, etc. The price range can vary from $10 to $20 or more. They frequently have sales and discounts. 

It is a large store with numerous books where you can take your time walking around browsing through each section. The genres you can find are from fiction, non-fiction, comedy, sci-fi, fantasy, romance, self development, philosophy, biography, psychology, horror, cookbooks and many more!

The items in the store change depending on the seasons making it a fun place to frequently visit. People also enjoy the book events hosted here!

Business Information:

Address: 2300 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4P 1E4 (multiple locations)
Phone: (416) 544-0049
Website: Indigo

Customer Review Highlights:

“It's a decently sized Indigo. Never too crowded, so there's always space to sit down quietly and read. There's even a Starbucks inside, so what's not to love?”
“I love the book store. They have always been a place for me to look at new books to read. The love of reading is a wonderful pastime. There are places to sit as well to make sure you wish to read a book you have chosen off the shelf.”

Pros & Cons

ProsCons
Service options: In-store shopping · In-store pick-upMight be hard to locate books when in stock.
Variety of selections and other products sold which are great for gifting. 

7. The Great Escape Book Store

The Great Escape Book Store

The Great Escape is a quaint little bookstore located at 957 Kingston Road. There are some great out-of-print gems to be found here. They have a decent literature collection including philosophical and military books to choose from.

The books usually cost less than $10 here. You will not be disappointed by the varied selection. The owner of this bookstore is very knowledgeable and passionate about the works here.

This is a great store to browse and buy some interesting books whether it’s a gift or just for yourself.

Business Information:

Address: 957 Kingston Rd, Toronto, ON M4E 1S8
Phone: (416) 691-7150
Website: greatescapebookstore.com

Customer Review Highlights:

“Fantastic used bookstore with a great selection of books (both new releases and classics), and a charming atmosphere. The owner is also very responsive via email if you are looking for a specific book.”
“I'm not a local in this area, but this feels like what would be a local book store. They have SO MANY books here, and I found many that I had liked or wanted, for a reasonable price. Definitely recommend this place. If you're lucky, you'll get to see the pup!”

Pros & Cons

ProsCons
Service options: In-store shopping · Curbside pickup · DeliveryThis bookstore is a small space, but cozy nonetheless.
They have a small art gallery and a garden area inside where events can happen.

8. Bakka-Phoenix Books

Bakka-Phoenix Books

Bakka Books initially opened its doors in 1972 on Toronto’s Queen West, carrying a wide range of fantasy novels, comics, and nerdy merchandise. Bakka was inspired by Frank Herbert’s Dune and signifies “the weeper who mourns for all mankind.”

In fact, they’ve welcomed the Star Wars cast, George R.R. Martin, and a slew of local writers, including Leah Bobet, Cory Doctorow, Ed Greenwood, Nalo Hopkinson, Tanya Huff, Fiona Patton, Michelle Sagara West, and many more!

What hasn’t changed is their understanding, dedication, and plain pleasure of science fiction and fantasy. The prices range from $10 to $40. 

So if you’re a fan of sci-fi and fantasy, head on now to this place and read books even from the 70s!

Business Information:

Address: 84 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S 1G5
Phone:  (416) 963-9993
Website: bakkaphoenixbooks.com

Customer Review Highlights:

“My favourite bookstore in Toronto, it has every fantasy book you could ever think of, and has the best selection of fantasy sci Fi of any bookstore I've visited 💓”
“Lovely book store with a great collection of titles in the fantasy and sci-fi realm. Plus, they'll do a great job of getting in any book you're looking for. 10/10 would recommend Amazon or other online retailers.”

Pros & Cons

ProsCons
Service options: In-store shopping · In-store pick-up · DeliveryThis bookstore mostly has sci-fi and fantasy books and has no Manga in this store or other genres.

FAQs About Bookstores

You can buy some of the books from Type Books, Book City, Flying Books, Amazon, Mabel’s Fables, Caversham Booksellers, Queen Books and many more!
Some of the most popular genres bought by many are fiction, non-fiction, romance, drama, sci-fi, poetry, self-help, fantasy, horror, and many more!
Some bookstores offer you to sell your used books for cash, it encourages knowledge and you can get a helping hand from the staff for recommendations. Also, some bookstores hold events and activities to meet like minded people and enjoy things you’re passionate about.
Buying locally means fewer packing, less shipping, and a lower carbon footprint. There is no need for 2-day delivery when you can pick up your book at your local bookshop!

Conclusion

If you love books and are looking for a new place to explore, or if you’re visiting Toronto and want to know where to find the best bookstores, then this list is for you. These eight stores are some of the best in the city, and they each have their own unique atmosphere and selection of books. 

So whether you’re a casual reader or an avid bibliophile, be sure to check out at least one of these fantastic bookstores the next time you’re in Toronto.

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