10 of our favorite independent bookstores in Montreal
There is no shortage of activities in Montreal. The city is famous for its French culture, magnificent architecture and delicious cuisine. You can spend the day wandering the city, visiting places like Mount Royal Park and Notre Dame Basilica, or maybe indulge in one of the many famous food tours. Maybe you’re a book lover and looking for a place to stop and grab a novel or two.
I wanted to share some of my favorite independent bookstores in town. There is something for everyone on this list, with stores offering niche and nerdy sci-fi books, rare and collectible books to others filled with event and book club offers. Instead of visiting the big box stores in town, consider stopping by one of these independent stores, where you might find something you weren’t expecting.
Opened in 2008, Drawn & Quarterly is a contemporary neighborhood bookstore specializing in English books and graphic novels. In 2017, they opened La Petite Librairie Drawn & Quarterly, Montreal’s only standalone children’s bookstore that also transforms into an evening event space to host a range of literary book launches and book clubs.
Drawn & Quarterly is known as Montreal’s literary hub for all genres and ages, offering everything from fiction and non-fiction to graphic novels and cookbooks. They host a series of events which can be found on their website.
Librairie Saint-Henri is a must-see independent bookstore located in the heart of Montreal’s Saint-Henri district. They offer an eclectic mix of English and French titles, curated by Director Alex Nierenhausen, who has been an integral part of the company from day one. This beautiful little bookstore houses over 3,000 books with everything from the latest bestsellers, classics, modern fiction, fantasy and children’s books.
Saint-Henri also sells a selection of greeting cards, art reproductions and tote bags featuring local artists. They also host an awesome book club run by Alex. I highly recommend checking out his choices on their online store because it is an avid reader of all genres and has the best recommendations.
Located on the west side of Saint-Laurent Boulevard, between Pine and Arthur streets, Librairie Gallimard opened in November 1989. It is best known for housing the works of French and Quebec authors.
Much more than a bookstore, Gallimard is also a publishing house, known under the name of Éditions Gallimard, which was founded over a hundred years ago, in 1911. Over the years, they have built a breathtaking and impressive catalog of over 40,000 titles, which places them at the forefront as one of the most important booksellers in North America.
Founded by Adrian King-Edwards and Lucille Friesen in 1975, The Word has grown into a city-wide institution, frequently ranking # 1 for used bookstores in the Montreal Mirror’s annual Best of Montreal list.
The shelves here are crammed with hundreds of floor-to-ceiling books on each wall, so you may need to bring a suitcase for this trip as there is only so many in offer. They also have a fantastic rare and collectable section in the store, housing first edition copies that are over a hundred years old. The Word is truly a book lover’s paradise.
Food lovers, rejoice! Appetite for Books is a great store for all things food. They have one huge range of cookbooks, from the latest bestsellers to specialist bread and pastry books. I love the selection of cooking and non-fiction articles on Appetite for Books and highly recommend checking out David Chang’s Eat a Peach and Bill Bulford’s Dirt – two of my favorite culinary memoirs.
Appetite for Books also welcomes Cooking classes, run by owner and chef, Jonathan Cheung.
Located in the Shaughnessy Village, Argo Bookshop is the oldest independent English-language bookstore in Montreal. The store offers a finely curated selection of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, science fiction, and biography. They specialize in books on linguistics, as well as books on minority groups and authors.
If you are looking for a place to relax with your latest novel, Argo has a superb seating area for readers to come in, read and relax. There’s no shortage of events at Argo either, so keep an eye out for their website to see what’s coming.
The Saga bookstore was founded by Ilya Razykov and Mathieu Lauzon-Dicso, who decided to open the store in the midst of a pandemic. This might not be the smartest idea, but both founders saw an opportunity in that they decided to offer shipping through their online store and actually delivered the books to themselves. themselves, which allowed them to meet and build relationships with their clients.
This place is great if you like sci-fi or horror. They are also home to a wide array of speculative, non-fiction, young adult and children’s fiction books.
Librairie Gourmande is a specialized bookstore located in the Jean-Talon Market area, founded by Ann Fortin in 2004. This place houses an impressive collection of cookbooks, for beginners and experts, in French and English.
La Librairie Gourmande offers books specializing in haute cuisine and is also known for showcasing the books of local and international chefs. If you are a food lover, want to learn how to cook, or hope to gain additional cooking skills, this place is a must see.
Bibliophile is an independent English bookstore that has been in existence for almost forty years. They carry a range of fiction, non-fiction, children’s books and cookbooks. Bibliophile has a fun loyalty program called The Baker’s Dozen Book Club – buy twelve books, and the average price of those will be credited to your thirteenth.
They also have a Grandparents’ Club, where grandparents can join and Bibliophile will send grandchildren a new book every month. Discover the owner Sandra’s selections for fantastic book recommendations.
Librairie Bertrand opened in 1952 and has supplied the city’s residents with books ever since. This store offers a wide selection of titles in French and English, with subjects ranging from art to zoology.
Bertrand’s staff are incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to books, so you can certainly count on them for great recommendations. If they don’t have a book in stock, they’ll be happy to order it for you. I highly recommend to visit this place, it is an absolute dream.