Over the past few years, several chain bookstores in Toronto have closed, including a beautiful Chapters in the Runnymede theatre. Since then, I have been on the lookout for new places where I can peruse books and have come across several that feature cheaper books and offer an equally warm atmosphere.
Ten Editions Bookstore
(698 Spadina Avenue)
Similar to Willow Books, Ten Editions is a cheap, secondhand bookstore close to UTSG. It’s a great place for English students to buy required readings and for anyone to peruse literature, old movie posters, sheet music, travel guides, pamphlets, and more. There is a large collection of Canadian literature, political texts, and history books in the back room. Susan Duff, the owner, took over the bookstore from her mother who founded it. Duff describes the shop as a general interest bookstore. I was able to find several books of interest in the ceiling-high shelves, for as low as $1.
(584 Yonge Street)
I was on my way to another bookstore when I passed by Eliot’s and felt compelled to stop. The storefront featured numerous picturesque, leather-bound books. A strong smell of old texts hit me the moment I stepped into the store. Three stories high, the place was filled with used books crammed into every corner and lining the stairs. Although there was little room to sit, the store’s stillness invited perusal.
As the clerk explained to me, Eliot’s has an extensive collection of history, classic literature, and philosophy, but it has no strong focus on any particular genre. Several popular literature books also stood out to me as I walked in. Unfortunately, the store does not have a website.
She Said Boom!
(393 Roncesvalles Avenue)
The Roncesvalles location is a small, dimly lit store that has always sold music and classic literature — or as Mark Kingdon, the storeowner, calls it, “real literature in which the dog dies.” The books are mainly secondhand, and there is a small children’s literature collection and a few recent releases.
“[She Said Boom!] is one of a kind and it’s essential,” said Robert, a frequent customer of the store. “There’s stuff here you can’t find anywhere else, even online — impossible-to-find vinyls and bootlegs for great prices.” There is also a location at 372 College Street.
Glad Day Bookshop
(598 Yonge Street)
Glad Day, “the world’s oldest LGBTQ bookstore and Toronto’s oldest surviving bookstore,” sells new books, magazines, DVDs, photo books, and more. They also feature a shelf of zines for sale.
Currently located in a bright, quiet, welcoming room, Glad Day plans to move from its Yonge Street location to Church Street, expanding to include a daytime coffee shop and nighttime bar. While largely LGBTQ-focused, their collection has loosely related texts, such as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Humans of New York.
Another Story Bookshop
(315 Roncesvalles Avenue)
Located in Roncesvalles, Another Story Bookshop is bright and spacious, with a large selection of children’s literature and nooks for reading. As Eric McCall, the store manager explains, the bookshop is a “strongly independent community bookstore with a focus on social justice.” The selection primarily features new releases, and I was unable to find books published just a few years back. Even though the shop has a particular focus, their collection of recently-published books boasts variety.
(333 Bloor Street West)
Most students at UTSG have passed by Willow Books, located at St. George Street and Bloor Street West. While it’s easy to miss from the street, this place is deceptively large and features fantastic prices and specials, like their buy-one-get-one 50 per cent off deal. With a specialization in textbooks, the store is often frequented by students and buys old textbooks of various subjects. There is also a wide selection of literature of many genres, making this store worth a visit for everyone.