best book shops edmonton

The Best Book Shops in Edmonton

Ordering a book on Amazon might be a tempting solution whenever you wish to read something. However, local bookstores must be protected and supported, for two main reasons. They serve as cornerstones of communities uniting writers, readers, bibliophiles, students and many others. Several of those bookshops not only sell new and used books, but also host book signing and readings events, introducing authors to a community, which is not something online retailers and marketplaces do. 

Speaking of authors, local bookshops are often the beginning of a career for many of them. Quite often independent bookshops are able to feature emerging authors in more efficient ways than large chain stores.   

Fortunately, Edmontonians understand the importance of independently owned and operated bookstores. (Most bookstores even stayed open during the pandemic.) It is not only out of a desire to support the local economy, but also because those shops have a lot to offer. From the finest collections of classics, and rare finds, to newly released novels and comics, the best book shops in Edmonton indicate a growing thirst for learning, culture rise and expansion of literary awareness. 

Why Trust Us

You cannot write well without reading a lot — a statement many, including myself, live by, especially in professional regards. Hence, local bookshops are treasuries of the knowledge of the past and present. If I say I own more books than shoes, would that be convincing enough to trust this selection of the best bookshops in Edmonton? If not, then here are a few more factors.

Each selected bookshop earned at least four stars on Google, and hundreds of positive reviews. The reviewers come from different backgrounds, yet they share the same passion for independently owned bookstores. Frankly, there is a lot to share. The best bookstores in Edmonton have something special to offer: some serve coffee and offer space to sit and read, while others host literary events, where the third ones specialize in finding rare and out-of-print volumes.


Photo credit: Foursquare

Although Audrey’s Books was incorporated in 1975, it traces its beginning back to the bookstore that was founded in the mid-fifties. No matter the decade, Audrey’s Books focus remains the same: connecting writers and readers and providing Edmontonians with a wide selection of fiction, nonfiction, memoir, cookbooks, children’s books and graphic novels.

As one of the regular customers noted, the ‘Grande Dame’ of Edmonton bookstores, has been on the corner of 7th and Jasper forever. She looked in there recently: the shop still has the same old-time bookstore feel. Lots of books in a variety of genres, from current titles to classics. 

Speaking of connecting authors with the community, Audrey’s hosts reading and literary events. Two levels bookstore accommodates 65-75 seats, providing presentation space. It truly is an inspiring place to be, whether you are a vivid reader or an aspiring writer.   

Finally, Audrey’s Books offers a 25% discount on all Globe & Mail Bestsellers for the club members. (Club membership costs $10 and for every $200 spent, you’ll receive $20 in store credit.) 

Average prices: 

$15 – $40 

Operating hours: 

Monday – Friday: 9:30 a.m.—6 p.m. 

Saturday: 9:30 a.m.—5:30 p.m. 

Sunday: 12 p.m.—5 p.m. 

Contact: (780) 423 – 3487 

Address: 10702 Jasper Ave, Edmonton, AB T5J 3J5 

Pros
  • Long-established local business.  
  • Host to literary events.  
  • Vast selection of books.
Cons
  • Some customers wished to see more of the 19th and 20th century authors.  

The Edmonton Book Store

The Edmonton Bookstore is a collection of more than 80,000 titles of rare and out-of-print books including Western Canada, Arctic regions, philosophy, and literature. (Although their book selection is captivating, it is conversations you can have with highly intelligent salesmen that attract me to the store. The last time I visited The Edmonton Bookstore, a quick payment transaction turned into a half an hour chat where I was shown an original document of French Revolution history and a fine collection of 18th-century volumes.)  

This bookshop, (since they opened in 1978), is located in historic Old Strathcona on Whyte Avenue. It is a convenient location if you decided to grab a coffee, walk around the area and explore some local shops. As one of the customers noted, her husband loves used book hunting, and this store is a favourite. They often find unique treasures there. The bookseller they see often is so kind and he is incredibly knowledgeable about his stock. When she brought her children along, her daughter declared it the best bookstore ever. If you are a book-lover, make time to swing by here, she added.   

Finally, The Edmonton Book Store is one of those places that buy book collections both large and small. If you have a library to sell or look for a new home for inherited volumes from your grandparents, consider calling this bookshop and scheduling an appointment.   

Average prices: 

$25 – $3,500 (depends on rarity, year and edition) 

Operating hours: 

Monday – Saturday: 10 a.m.—5:30 p.m. 

Sunday: 12 p.m.—5 p.m. 

Contact: (780) 433 – 1781 

Address: 10533 82 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T6E 2A3 

Pros
  • Rare and out-of-print books.  
  • Large selection. 
  • Convenient location.  
Cons
  • Very narrow rows between shelves. So if you come with a stroller or a wheelchair it might not be the most convenient place to browse.  

Mandolin Books and Coffee Company

Photo credit: Yellow Pages

If you ever wished for your favourite book shop to also serve coffee and provide some space for reading, check out Mandolin Books and Coffee Company. They opened in 2003 and since then became a gathering place for reading, relaxing and conversing. Whether you need a place to study, get inspired by books around for writing your next novel, or simply want to meet with friends, Mandolin Books provides space for it. In fact, they prepare each cup of coffee from locally-roasted Catfish Coffee beans promising quality not only of literature, but also caffeinated drinks.   

A satisfied visitor noted that Mandolin Books is a cozy little cafe, that gives you that feeling like you are in a movie. 

Their literature selection is vast, and although Mandolin sells second-hand books, they make sure to put only gently used fiction and non-fiction on shelves. The shop is located in the commercial district along 112th Avenue in Edmonton‘s historic Highlands neighbourhood. They also sell Community League memberships on behalf of both the Highlands and Bellevue Community Leagues, and support community events. 

Average prices: 

Books: $10 – $25 

Coffee: $5 – $7 

Operating hours: 

Monday – Friday: 8 a.m.—9 p.m. 

Saturday/Sunday: 9 a.m.—6 p.m. 

Contact: (780) 479 – 4050 

Address: 6419 112 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T5W 0N9 

Pros
  • Coffee shop and book store combined. 
  • Cozy and inviting atmosphere.  
Cons
  • Not much space to sit on busy days.  

Daisy Chain Book Co.

Brandi Morpurgo started her book shop on wheels first, and later on, as its popularity grew, it expanded into a full-scale store, Daisy Chain Book Co. “For as long as I can remember,” the owner says, “books have been my escape, my delight and my companion.”   

The Daisy Chain store carries a large collection of fiction, nonfiction, autobiography and children’s books. A customer who recently discovered this book shop noted that she stopped in, while out for a walk with her dog and there was a warm greeting and a treat for her four-legged one. Daisy Chain has an amazing selection of new and used books and there is a discount on a used book when you bring a book with you, she added. 

Another attractive fact about Daisy Chain Book Co. is location. Located in The High Street Centre, it provides convenient customer parking and closeness to a bakery (Versailles Café), other shops and walking areas.   

Average prices: 

$15 – $40 

Operating hours: 

Monday – Saturday: 10 a.m.—6 p.m. 

Sunday: 12 p.m.—4 p.m. 

Contact: (825) 512 – 1342 

Address: 12525 102 Ave, Edmonton, AB T5N 0M4

Pros
  • Convenient location.  
  • Vast selection of books.  
Cons
  • No negative reviews.  

Wee Book Inn

Since Wee Book Inn opened in 1971, they became one of the most loved books stores among local bibliophiles. They offer a vast selection of used books of all genres, including some rare editions, newest releases and collectables.   

“The Wee Book Inn is the treasure of the city of Edmonton for book lovers,” said one of the regular customers. His wife is a fan of Agatha Christie – Hercule Poirot character and they were able to find a special bound collection of those stories. They also been able to place a “hold” on a book that Wee Book Inn did not have stock of, and were contacted when they acquired it, he added.

Another customer noted that when they were downsizing their home book collection, Wee Book Inn looked through hundreds of their books to select what they would like to purchase and gave them a great value on what would otherwise just collect more dust.   

There are two locations of the shop, one on Whyte Ave and another one on Jasper Ave. Both streets are bustling with cars and people, and the quiet, welcoming atmosphere of this book store can serve as a little escape room from the busyness of the city.   

Average prices: 

$5 – $25 

Operating hours: 

Monday – Sunday: 9 a.m.—11:30 p.m. 

Contact: (780) 432 – 7230 

Address: 10310 82 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T6E 1Z8 

Pros
  • Vast selection of book, including rare finds.  
  • Convenient locations.  
  • A cat to pet as part of sales team.  
Cons
  • Downtown location is inconvenient for parking.

Alhambra Books

Another used bookstore on the edge of Old Strathcona that offers impressive 60,000 volumes for sale is Alhambra Books. The first time I entered this shop I found myself overwhelmed by choices. Alhambra is continuous shelves of volumes of all genres. Hence, I suggest you plan your visit ahead, have an hour or so to browse and bring a large tote bag.   

The staff at the store is knowledgeable: whether you need a novel in an original language other than English, a book on drawing, or looking for rare collectables, they can help you find it.   

Another regular customer noted that Alhambra is a very comfy bookstore that smells like an old book shop. This is the kind of place you can spend an hour perusing on a cold wet or snowy day before grabbing a hot drink down the road. Loads of interesting books and the owners seem like good people who simply love books. The best stores are owned by people who love their business and want others to love it too, he added. 

Average prices: 

$10 – $50 

Operating hours: 

Sunday/Monday: CLOSED 

Tuesday – Saturday: 12 p.m.—5 p.m. 

Contact: (780) 439 – 4195 

Address: 10115 81 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T6E 1W9 

Pros
  • 60,000+ volumes.  
  • Convenient location. 
Cons
  • Somewhat unorganized, thus you need to spend some time to find a book you need.  

The Bookseller

Photo credit: Nicelocal 

Wherever it is you are on Whyte Ave, there is a bookshop nearby. The Bookseller is one of them. They have in stock approximately 38,000 volumes of used, rare, and out-of-print books. But what makes The Bookseller special is its collection of 19th and 20th-century first editions and collectible literature on art, architecture, Biblical theology, Catholica, church history, philosophy, religious studies and history.  

One of my favourite authors, C.S.Lewis is fairly challenging to find at other book stores. Meanwhile, The Bookseller has a vast selection of Lewis’s works.   

Another satisfied customer noted that he found several books here that he has not heard of before, especially classics: it was an awesome book-shopping experience and he would never forget their accommodating staff. 

Someone else noted that her dad and she have been to several bookstores in Edmonton but this is their favourite! The have bought classic literature, fiction and found a copy of the complete short stories of Edgar Allan Poe that she was on the hunt for. They highly recommend The Bookseller if you want to find classics or older editions, or are interested in philosophy or religion. 

Average prices: 

$11 – $20 

Operating hours: 

Sunday/Monday: CLOSED  

Tuesday – Saturday: 11:30 a.m.—4 p.m. 

Contact: (780) 496 – 9193 

Address: 9562 82 Ave NW GB Building, 96 St. Entrance, Edmonton, AB T6C 0Z8 

Pros
  • Great selection of philosophy, art and religion books.  
Cons
  • Limited genres.  

Variant Edition Graphic Novels & Comics

As much as The Bookseller is about serious literature, as much Variant Edition is about a fun and colourful selection of comics. Their goal is to help people to find new stories that they are going to love.   

“We provide a relaxed, introvert-friendly environment, where we foster an inclusive community that is also family-friendly,” they say about Variant Edition. The vast selection includes new and used comics and graphic novels, young adult fiction, humour and more.  

An excellent selection of comics and used books, noted a customer, while anything is out of stock or not in the store they will order in and either let you know when it arrives, deliver it within the city or mail it across Canada. If you are looking for something new, they are great at making recommendations after learning more about what you enjoy, he noted. 

Average prices: 

$12 – $20  

Operating hours: 

Monday/Tuesday: CLOSED 

Wednesday – Friday: 11 a.m.—7 p.m. 

Saturday/Sunday: 11 a.m.—5 p.m. 

Contact: (780) 452 – 9886 

Address: 15129 Stony Plain Rd, Edmonton, AB T5P 3Y2 

Pros
  • Vast selection of comics.  
  • Convenient parking.  
Cons
  • Some customers complained about customer service.  

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Content trail

Updated date

December 20th, 2022

About the author

Maria Kossman

Maria Kossman is an essayist, and content specialist at Rant-it.ca. Her writing appeared in a variety of fashion magazines. When she is not focused on reviewing and writing, she spends time exploring coffee shops, English literature and antique malls.
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