Edmonton is home to North America’s largest shopping destination, West Edmonton Mall, which spans a whopping 48 blocks. The mall alone has more than 800 stores and services, so there’s definitely no shortage of large retailers in Alberta’s capital.
Often overlooked, however, are the city’s independent and operated stores, and bibliophiles and book lovers will be pleased to know that there are some great indie bookstores all over the city. From thrift stores selling classics and rare out of print books to newly opened stores highlighting queer and racist writers, these are our 7 favorite Edmonton independent bookstores.
Glass Bookshop is an independent queer-owned bookstore focused on the work of queer and racial writers, promoting writers and independent publishers from Edmonton and beyond.
Before the pandemic broke out, Glass Bookshop worked with local festivals and arts organizations like LitFest, Latitude 53, and the Alberta Queer Calendar Project to host over a dozen events for local and guest authors in their space.
Glass Bookshop is currently running Online shop, offers free contactless home delivery in Edmonton, St. Albert and Sherwood Park. This independent bookstore has big plans in the coming months as they are currently expanding their permanent space in the historic Stovel Block Building, which will open this fall.
I am obsessed with that Fan shop Here. They have a selection of tote bags, stickers, t-shirts and enamel pins that will stand out at major retailers, or feature their unofficial mascot, Bob the Corgi, who is co-owner Matthew Stepanic.
Owned and operated by husband and wife Steve and Sharon Budnarchuk, Audreys Books is a great indie bookstore for local and visiting writers to meet readers and book lovers alike. Their bookstore spans two levels of retail with a wide selection of fiction, non-fiction, celebrity memoirs, cookbooks, children’s books, and graphic novels.
Audrey’s staff are knowledgeable and dedicated and are happy to help with any query. This independent bookstore offers 25% off all Globe & Mail bestsellers and additional savings for Audrey’s book club Members. A lifetime book club membership is $ 10, and for every $ 200 you spend, you get $ 20 in store credit.
Audreys is known not only for their books, but also for the large number of readings and literary events they hold annually, and often hold authoring events in other locations in the community to increase their reach.
Wee Book Inn
Wee Book Inn is one of the best known used bookstores in Edmonton with three locations across town. It has been around since 1971 and has been selling high quality used books ever since.
This independently operated bookstore buys, sells and trades books of all interests and fiction genres with a wide selection offering readers everything from the latest publications to rarest first editions and collectibles.
The Edmonton Bookstore
The Edmonton Bookstore is owned and operated by Barbara Ellis and specializes in rare and out of print books on Western Canada, Arctic regions, philosophy and literature. This place has a stunning collection of more than 80,000 titles in their inventory that is constantly growing and diversifying.
Located in the heart of historic Old Strathcona on Whyte Avenue, Edmonton Bookstore has been in business since 1978. Go ahead and get lost in hers Online shop, You never know what you might find.
Mandolin Books and Coffee Company
Another fantastic second-hand bookstore, Mandolin Books and Coffee Company, opened its doors in 2003 and has since become a valued hangout for Edmonton bibliophiles and coffee lovers. The atmosphere in the Mandolin is warm, inviting and cozy, which makes it the perfect place to read and relax with a steaming cup of locally roasted catfish coffee.
The book selection here is great, with offers of high quality used books in both fiction and non-fiction. Mandolin is about helping other local businesses and artists, and each month they display original artwork by a different Edmonton artist in the store. This place is a must see on your next trip to Edmonton.
Daisy Chain Book Co.
Founded by Brandi Morpurgo, Daisy Chain Book Co. started on wheels. Literally! Brandi started collecting inventory, bought a truck, and started selling books from there. The company has since expanded and now has a beautiful brick and mortar location.
Daisy Chain is home to a large collection of fiction, non-fiction, autobiographies, and children’s books. Try this out Book club here, which usually runs a couple of times a month. If you want to learn more about daisy chains and books in general, tune in to the Brandis Podcast, The bookstore chronicles.
Alhambra Books is a fantastic used bookstore on the outskirts of Old Strathcona with an impressive 60,000 books for sale. Bring your suitcase because the shelves in this independently run shop are full of books.
I could spend all day at Alhambra Books browsing their extensive range of fiction, non-fiction, and history books. You could go in hopes of finding a book and go with a dozen unexpected novels. This place is a book lover’s paradise!