Travel Blog

11 Apr

Montréal book nooks you need to know

Reading a book is an excellent remedy for so many things. Escaping the daily grind. Healing the heart. Feeding the imagination. Lucky for bibliophiles, Montréal has a goldmine of little independent bookstores that are great for a gander of hot-off-the-presses, literary classics, graphic novels, comic books and hard-to-find gems. Some sell new, some sell used, but all are worth a browse and then some. Happy hunting.


Nestled in the hip Mile End, Drawn Quarterly, the storefront, is the extension of the company of the same name, which evolved from a single-issue magazine to a renowned publisher of the world’s best cartoonists. This kicky store sells awesome graphic novels, comic books, art books and more, plus, it regularly hosts book launches for local authors, literary events and workshops.


A fixture of the McGill ghetto since 1975, this beloved book haunt sells secondhand books specializing in literature, philosophy, poetry and other interests. Housed in a 19th-century brick house, The Word is like walking into a bookworm’s overstuffed living room, with a vibe that radiates erudite cool. Find what you’re looking for, and what you weren’t, in stacks piled high all over.


One of the city’s oldest retail bookstores (it opened in 1966), Argo Bookshop is another tiny little spot crammed with untold treasures. For the anglo reader downtown, it’s a definite go-to, with literature, literary theory and criticism, philosophy, religion, environmentalism, children’s literature and more to choose from. They also have an online catalogue, so you can check for new goodies and titles that are coming soon, plus search their database of books in stock and available for ordering.

Une publication partagée par @swwelch_bookseller le 22 Déc. 2016 à 7h54 PST

A literary landmark that’s been around since 1984, S.W. Welch is located in the Mile-End district on St-Viateur Street W. (right near the bagels!).  Another smallish space stacked with good reads, it specializes in used and antiquarian books in a diverse number of fields. Open 7 days a week and into the evening, it’s an ideal spot for burrowing in a book and blotting out the world.

Une publication partagée par Wendy Rose (@wendyrose709) le 12 Sept. 2016 à 8h52 PDT

At the heart of downtown in an old greystone, Cheap Thrills advertises as a veteran record store, i.e. vinyls and CDs, with leanings toward jazz, avant garde, experimental and blues. But it makes the cut because the less-advertised part is that it also sells used books. Climb the crazy tilting stairs to a world crammed with great titles and groovy tunes.


Another mainstay of downtown’s literary offerings, Paragraphe is located right on McGill College Avenue, across the street from the McGill University campus. In business since 1981, Paragraphe caters to general interest, stocking over 50,000 titles, of which 10,000 are children’s books. It also features regular literary events and author appearances. Bonus: there’s a Second Cup right next door.

Une publication partagée par Gab Taraboulsy (@deliciouscinema) le 20 Août 2016 à 13h42 PDT

Foodies, feast your eyes on this: a bookstore devoted to cookbooks and food-related literature. Drool over page upon glossy page that detail delicious recipes, culinary techniques and the wide world of cuisines. Appetite for Books also offers cooking classes based on a selection of cookbooks, features event nights with invited chefs and authors and offers private cooking classes for you and 10 of your friends (BYOB format).

Une publication partagée par LIRE (@liretv) le 14 Janv. 2017 à 9h41 PST

While the focus is on women’s literature – whether novels, poetry, comics, essays or children’s books – you can also find feminist, queer, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersexual, asexual, agender picks and more at this Centre-sud bookstore. But there’s more than just books because L’Euguélionne organizes workshops, launches, reading circles and conferences, plus you can browse magazines, posters, cards and stickers crafted by Montréal artists and grab a cup of tea or java.

Une publication partagée par Alexia Vinci (@gurdavinci) le 2 Sept. 2016 à 13h54 PDT

This big, bright and cheery neighbourhood nook in the heart of HoMa keeps the flame burning strong for local publications, independent authors and small Québec and Montréal publishers. Rare find alert! La Flèche rouge also stocks a wide range of new and used books, zine fans can get their fill, and kids will find all sorts of cool books to flip through. There’s a sweet little outdoor patio to stretch out on too.

From rebooted Archie to the Avengers and a whole lot in between, this downtown bookstore has a massive comic book selection, plus used books, videos, CDs and cards (Magic The Gathering, hockey and baseball) to choose from. Take your time browsing the shelves and bins; Librairie Astro’s unfussy and unhurried approach creates the perfect ambiance for at-length perusing.

Une publication partagée par Athlaura Ethleisure (@appetiger) le 4 Juin 2016 à 12h06 PDT

With everything art to zoology on their shelves, and fiction and non-fiction, you can spend hours inside the stone walls of this cozy nook flipping through titles. True blue bibliophiles and bookworms in the making will love the wide range of selections and Bertrand Bookstore’s romantic setting.

Une publication partagée par Marie-Ève Taillefer (@mevetaillefer) le 5 Août 2015 à 13h13 PDT

This gem of a bookstore in Verdun buys and sells books in both French and English, plus for music lovers it’s got an excellent selection of vinyls that span the musical spectrum. Wee ones will also find what they are looking for at Les Bons Débarras because there is a special section devoted to little readers.

From the hottest fiction titles to school and university textbooks, this Montréal West bookstore has been keeping readers coming back for the past 60 years. Bonder Bookstore also carries a wide range of titles for tots and teens, so a trip here can easily be a family affair.

Une publication partagée par Laura Josephine (@lurrlurr) le 30 Mars 2017 à 10h14 PDT

This sleek and airy space shines the spotlight on the theory, history and practice of architecture as well as urban planning, but that’s just some of the carefully-curated selection at the CCA bookstore. Green thumbs can leaf through books on landscape and garden history, photo buffs can zoom in on photography, and if you fawn over fonts, you’ll even find books on typography. Lots of cool coffee table material here!

Une publication partagée par Crossover Comics (@crossovercomics) le 23 Avril 2015 à 4h36 PDT

Looking for a comic book? With its impressive list of mainstream North American titles, plus international and independent magazines, chances are Crossover Comics has got it. If you’re new to the comic book scene, the knowledgeable staff can steer you in the right direction.  And while comic mavens keep coming back for its fresh and exciting inventory, this upbeat boutique offers more, including apparel, collectibles and board games.

Une publication partagée par Jessy Beaulieu (@0ct0bre) le 23 Mai 2016 à 12h53 PDT

The bright turquoise trim will catch your eye, but it’s goods on display at this cool NDG bookstore that will draw you in: books of all kinds, records, CDs, DVDs, prints, high-end buttons and select artisanal items. At Encore Books and Records, the floor-to-ceiling shelves are crammed with treasures just waiting to be unearthed.

Up next:Great literary reads set in Montréal


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