Answers from Our Experts (2)
Have bookstores gone the way of the record store? Well, that depends. While it’s true the big box stores with built-in coffee shops have lost their bloom, independent bookstores are, like record stores, finding a niche market and cultural footing in neighborhoods. Vancouver is home to both a few Chapters (Indigo) – big, yes, but also Canadian-owned with a huge array of books and magazines as well as a growing lifestyle section. For an independent and experiential book browsing experience, Pulp Fiction has three locations (Main Street, West Broadway and Commercial Drive) and tens of thousands of new and used titles. Also on Commercial Drive is the People Cooperative Bookstore, which fits right in with the neighborhood’s independent streak. Granville Island is home to some lovely specialty stores, like Barbara Jo’s Book to Cooks, Blackberry Books (heavy continent of Canadian fiction) and Humpty Dumpty Books and Music. And crime fiction buffs will need to stop into Dead Write Books, not just for the clever name, but also because it carries a huge selection of UK and Canadian crime novels.
Pulpfiction Books, an independent bookseller with branches on Main Street, in Kitsilano, and along Commercial Drive, carries an excellent assortment of new and used books.
Food-lovers gravitate to Barbara Jo’s Book to Cooks, which stocks the region’s largest collection of cookbooks, food memoirs, and cooking magazines. The west side shop, a short walk from Granville Island, hosts cooking demos, chef talks, and other food events, too; check their website for details.
The best place to buy reading material for the little ones in your life is KidsBooks, a well-stocked children’s bookstore with locations in Kitsilano and North Vancouver. Ask the helpful staff to recommend titles; they’re all booklovers who really know what kids and teens enjoy.
Chapters/Indigo is Canada’s big chain bookseller, and while their several Vancouver locations don’t have the personality of smaller independent stores, they do sell a wide selection of books in all genres. The most convenient branches are downtown on Robson Street and on South Granville.