Found on the corner of Spadina and Sussex Avenue, Ten Editions is the quintessential used bookstore filled with nooks, crannies and sliding ladders to reach the top shelves. With friendly staff that is always happy to assist you through a seemingly chaotic set up, it is an easy place to spend a couple of hours perusing through their thousands of options.
Doug Miller Books
Specializing in (but not limited to) children’s books and graphic novels, Doug Miller Books is a bookstore with a very personal touch. Still run by Doug himself and ably assisted by his rabbit Bumpkin, it began as his own personal collection that he began when he was 7 and has expanded hundreds of times over throughout his lifetime. From standard books to first editions, the store is testament to the man himself, and its friendly atmosphere makes it a must for adults and children.
Based in an old French restaurant, Balfour Books is in many ways a rejection of the chaos of most used bookstores. Instead of the usual ramshackle, loosely organised approach most used book stores take to their displays, the shelves are well organised, resembling a gallery of books with the categories actually outlined by wooden Scrabble pieces. The books that are in the best condition often have plastic wrapped covers to preserve them better for their next buyer. The selection available is fantastic, the staff is friendly and the charming wooden Scrabble pieces makes this a lovely quiet spot for book browsing.
Balfour Books, 470 College Street, Toronto, ON, Canada +1 416 531 9911
BMV – Bloor Street
There cannot be a compilation of Toronto’s best used book stores without mentioning BMV. With three locations, and thousands upon thousands of books at its largest store on Bloor Street covering four floors, it is truly the leviathan of the city’s used bookstore landscape. It isn’t the quaint stereotypical image that used bookstores conjure when you first imagine them, but its selection is unparalleled meaning you won’t often leave empty handed.
BMV Books, 471 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON, Canada +1 416 967 5757
A Good Read
There are few things more coveted by a true bibliophile than signed or first edition copies of their favourite books. A Good Read focuses primarily on rare books, alongside its regular used books. It’s a spacious store with the books lined up with great care along the shelves, and its owner Gary Kirk’s 12 years experience in the book business make him the ideal person to run a store so centered around offering information and advice to his patrons.
A Good Read, 341 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada +1 416 538 2665
Contact Editions Inc.
Contact Editions Inc. is the Rolls Royce of used bookstores in Toronto. Specializing purely in rare and first edition books, its selection of books that range in publication date 1500 to 2007 CE and are both astonishing and more expensive than your average second-hand bookstore. From books by Charles Lamb through to Ernest Hemingway, this elegantly decorated store features the rarest books to be found in the whole of Canada.
Contract Editions Inc., 491 Davenport Road, Toronto ON, Canada +1 416 322 0777
Of all the places on this list, Eliot’s Bookshop is the one that ticks the most boxes when you consider the archetypal second-hand bookstore. It is a completely innocuous building on Yonge Street near Wellesley subway station, and if you weren’t looking for it, it wouldn’t be too difficult to imagine never noticing it. However, when you walk in there are 3 stories of books in every imaginable genre for both fans of fiction and nonfiction books. The owner is always available and knowledgeable about the books in his store. There are nooks and crannies to get lost in, and with its loose alphabetical layout, you are sure to go in looking for one book and come out with a bag full of others.
Eliot’s Bookshop, 584 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON, Canada +1 416 925 0268