This article was written for Daily Hive by Callie Hitchcock.
Vancouver’s second-hand bookstores offer a welcome respite for local literature buffs to get away from it all.
To help you find your new favorite place, we’ve compiled a list of the best used bookstores in Vancouver.
Created by two former Macleod’s employees, the vast selection, not to mention eclecticism, offered by Paper Hound is full of gems. Muted and bookish, the store’s aesthetic is as intriguing as its offerings – there’s even a coin-operated poem machine. The store also regularly hosts literary events, including spots to support local independent publishing houses. Be sure to check out the chapbook carousel in the back right corner, which is aptly filled with new names every week or so.
Address: 344 Pender Street West, Vancouver
Pulpfiction is another mainstay for Vancouver readers. Their novelties section at the front of the store is full of great finds for contemporary culture: theory, novels, art books, and even a good chunk of the New York Review Books collection of classics. They also have a small part of the wall dedicated to staff selection, which often yields great finds. The store itself is bright and welcoming and the people who work there are very knowledgeable.
Address: 2422 Main Street, Vancouver
Pulpfiction on Broadway and MacDonald is small but powerful. While the Main Street location has more choices, Pulpfiction at MacDonald has a well-curated pick that maintains the Pulpfiction standard for carefully chosen readings. Clean, quaint, cute, well worth checking out while you wait for 99.
Address: 2754 West Broadway, Vancouver
MacLeod is sensory overload. Books in stacks six feet high, books on shelves, books on windowsills, books in boxes. The owner, Don Stewart, bought the location 40 years ago at the age of 21 and is very adept in the rare book trade. MacLeod’s has the most diverse subject line of any Vancouver bookstore: optometry, ethnography, Nancy Drew boxes on boxes – there’s something for everyone. Getting close to all those books gives the place a warm and cozy feel, while the high ceilings make Macleod feel like a cathedral – what a place to feel holy.
Address: 455 West Pender Street, Vancouver
The People’s Co-op Bookstore is run by volunteers (if you haven’t guessed the name already) and hosts a number of events to showcase local writing skills. They also run regular reading series and recently hosted a viewing party for the latest US presidential debate. The People’s Co-op is part of the community and makes this place a special magnet for people looking to make a connection: both literary and personal.
Address: 1391 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
Carson Books and Records has the “books stacked, Harry Potter under the stairs” vibe that really works for this. They have a good selection of classic and popular literature, while also delving deeply into topical interests. Come for the comfort, stay for the vast children’s literature.
Address: 4340 Main Street, Vancouver
One of Vancouver’s hidden gems, Albion Books sells books, vinyls, comics, and even has a dedicated space for the work of local writers. They have a nice vintage pulp fiction and a surprising amount of selection given the limited space. With 25 years to his credit, Albion is a project of passion for all that is literary.
Address: 523 Richards Street, Vancouver
Canterbury Tales has a way of luring you in with material you didn’t think you liked. Every time you stop by, you walk away with something that normally wouldn’t have caught your eye, but that’s where the magic of the store lies. Because Commercial Drive is such an eclectic mix, Canterbury offers books for people of all walks of life. So the best advice is to browse the store rather than heading straight to the sections you usually read.
Address: 2010 Commercial Drive, Vancouver