The top 30 new and used bookstores in Toronto by neighbourhood

Book stores in Toronto may seem few and far between, but what they lack in number, they make up for in diversity. In the age of Kobo and Kindle, these stores are sticking it out, from the longtime literary bastions selling dog-eared classics to newer, more specialized shops. 

Here are some notable book stores in Toronto by neighbourhood. 

The Annex

It’s moved from its classic lime green store to a new hub just south of Bathurst station, but A Different Booklist has been an institution for decades, and is still the best spot for literature from across the African diaspora and the Caribbean.

Baby Point

If you’re looking for some cool reads for a kid, tween, or teen in your life, Moonbeam Books on Jane Street has long been the independent go-to for cognitive-building literature.

Bayview and Leaside

You’ll find mystery books galore at The Sleuth of Baker Street. Aside from all the murder novels you could want, the store is also a spot for book launches from authors of the gnetre.

Beaches

The independent book store Re:Reading has an extensive selection, running the gamut of used books from teen novels to true crime. They’ve also got some discounted deals that can be too good to pass up. 

Bloorcourt

The whimsical store Monkey’s Paw focuses on all things weird and wonky, with a stock that centres mostly on uncommon books, antique pamphlets, and the like. The main attraction is the Biblio-Mat: a vending machine for old books.

Church and Wellesley

Glad Day Bookshop is the oldest queer book store in the city—maybe even in the world. Parts community gathering space, bar, coffee shop, and queer bookworm haven, you’ll find tons of LGBTQ+ titles here. 

Corktown

You might recognize Acadia Bookstore’s colourful exterior as making a cameo in the hit show Umbrella Academy, or maybe not. Either way, this store has been around for decades, and its stock feels as extensive, with shelves and crates packed full with old books. 

Danforth

The homegrown chain Book City has several locations across the city, but this shop with the retro-looking sign is a classic, with a good selection and the option to order whatever you’re looking for.

bookstore toronto

Acadia Bookstore has been operating for decades. Photo by Tanya Mok.

Danforth East

You’ll find an impressive range of reads at Circus Books, located just steps from Donlands subway station. There are always interesting records available too, if you’re siumultaenously a bibliophile and a vinylphile. 

Entertainment District 

Sitting in the Atrium of the TD Building on Front, Penguin Shop stocks books and merch from the iconic publishing company, Penguin Random House. Peruse the recommended reads and author picks from this cute store. 

Etobicoke

A Novel Spot is a hidden gem in the Humbertown Shopping Centre. They don’t have a massive selection, but a curated selection should be enough to tide you over during your visit. Plus they hold a book club once a month. 

Financial District

Bay Street may not be the first destination that comes to mind when looking for anything bookish, but Ben McNally Books has been holding it down there since 2007 with a stock of first-run hardcovers.

Harbord Village

With a name like Bakka Phoenix, you’d be correct in guessing that this is a science fiction and fantasy bookstore. It’s the oldest of its kind in Canada, actually, and you’d be hard-pressed to deny the passion that goes into the collection here. 

Harbourfront

Need a book on how to construct a boat, or how to tie a good sea knot? Nautical Mind Bookstore is the only shop in the city specializing in marine-focused reads, and they have charts, too.

Junction

Another spot for both used volumes and vinyls, Pandemonium is known for its art and music sections, with reasonable prices and a reputation for good service from the owner. 

Junction Triangle

House of Anansi Press, the publishing house that brought us the Canadian classic The Breadwinner, is headquartered on Sterling Road, where you can drop by anytime to peruse through works from their Canadian writers.

Kensington 

There are few places more special than Knife Fork Book. Poetry lovers should not miss the opportunity to check out this tiny gem of a poet-driven space, where you’re guaranteed to happen on some magical chapbooks and readings alike. 

King East

Antique items are treated with the utmost respect at D&E Lake, so approach accordingly. It’s a little intense in here, but expect the old books here to transport you to another world. 

bookstore toronto

Monkey’s Paw is best known for it’s cool used book vending machine, but it has a ton of great options, too. Photo via Monkey’s Paw.

Koreatown 

The former Mount Pleasant staple Doug Miller Books moved to Bloor Street back in 2009, and has become an important part of the area ever since. Prices are famously low here, regardless of whether the books are old or new. 

Leslieville

Everyone loves a nostalgic, dusty book store, but Queen Books manages to stay neat and tidy without losing its homey charm. It’s almost too tempting to periodically drop by this shop, which has equal parts adult and children’s books. 

Little Italy

Balfour Books is not big, but it’s a serious treasure trove that’s easy to spend hours in. Prices are affordable, compared to regular retail costs, and every section here seems well-rounded. 

Mount Pleasant

The longtime kids’ bookstore Mabel’s Fables is the kind of place you want to take a budding bookworm. Packed with books and toys, there’s even a reading room on the second floor. 

Queen West

If you’ve got an interest in Toronto architecture, design, and art, head to Swipe Books on the first floor of the historic 401 Richmond building. It’s a neat spot for one-of-a-kind reads you won’t find elsewhere.

Roncesvalles

Another Story is an independent favourite, especially in the family-centric area that is Roncy. The stock here is a great mix of genres including fiction and social theory, with an emphasis on kids’ school books too. 

Scarborough 

Situated on Kingston Road is the quaint gem Cliffside Village Books, selling used books for as low as $1, sometimes. You’ll never be left wanting with selection, just beware of the not-so-great parking outside. 

St. Clair West 

It doesn’t appear that Ayerego Books will be around for much longer, but while it is, make sure to check out its collection of rare, used, and out-of-print books. Prices may seem a bit high, but depending on the rarity of the book, you might find it worth it. 

Upper Beaches

It’s called Great Escape Books for a reason: head into this packed store and you’ll definitely feel like you’ve entered into a cluttered, book-filled paradise. Small and cozy, you’ll find old and used reads here. 

West Queen West 

It now has a shiny, newer location in the Junction, but the original Type on Queen Street is a go-to. As with all their other locations, the shop has a good way of fitting in to the surrounding neighbourhood (don’t forget they have an art gallery downstairs, too). 

Yonge and Dundas

If, for whatever unavoidable reason, you find yourself in the Eaton Centre, the best option is Indigo, since The World’s Biggest Book Store isn’t an option anymore. 

Yonge and Wellesley

ABC Book Store offers a range of genre, prices, and conditions. Regardless, you’re bound to buy something at a way lower cost than regularly-advertised at big box stores, especially with their Reduced Reads section in front of the store.

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