The 8 Best Bookstores in Toronto [2023]

Embark on a literary adventure as we explore the enchanting world of Toronto’s finest bookstores. In a digital age dominated by e-readers and online sellers, these havens of bound pages and printed words stand strong, offering unique experiences and a treasure trove of literary wonders. 

From specialized shops catering to diverse interests to cozy nooks that transport you to other realms, join us on a journey to discover the 9 best bookstores in Toronto that every book lover must explore!

And for some other ways to have fun at your free time, be sure to explore:

The Best Patios in Toronto
The Best Picnic Spots in Toronto
The Best Gastropubs in Toronto
The Best Jazz Bars in Toronto
The Best Karaoke Bars in Toronto

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

Pros Cons
Curbside pickup · Delivery Store 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

Pros Cons
Service options: In-store pick-up Might 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

Pros Cons
Service options: In-store shopping Shop 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!

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

Pros Cons
Service options: In-store shopping · Curbside pickup · Delivery Some 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

Step into the world of Pandemonium, where quality books find new homes through buying, selling, and trading. Immerse yourself in a treasure trove of interesting reads, ranging from philosophy, art, poetry, and religion to history, science fiction, and mystery novels – all offered at great prices.

With a captivating ambiance, Pandemonium draws in repeat customers who find solace in the store’s unique charm. The well-informed staff adds to the experience, providing knowledgeable recommendations for your next literary adventure.

But that’s not all – Pandemonium also caters to music lovers, offering a diverse selection of vinyl, CDs, and other great tunes to enjoy!

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 pickup 
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 $60 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

Pros Cons
Service options: In-store shopping · In-store pick-up Might 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

Pros Cons
Service options: In-store shopping · Curbside pickup · Delivery This 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

Pros Cons
Service options: In-store shopping · In-store pick-up · Delivery This 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

In the ever-evolving landscape of literature, Toronto’s best bookstores stand as beacons of literary charm and discovery. Each store holds a unique tale, inviting bookworms to immerse themselves in the joy of browsing through tangible pages, exploring different genres.

Whether you seek rare editions, sci-fi wonders, children’s enchantment, or the thrill of literary events, these Toronto’s 9 bookstores have something to captivate every reader’s heart!

Picture of Veronika Zotova

Veronika Zotova

Veronika Zotova is marketing manager at Local View Tech. She was born and raised in Kyiv, Ukraine. Learn More About Veronika Zotova

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