Most of us enjoy a lazy meander around Chapter’s every now and then. You can get your favourite Starbucks treat, peruse Heather’s Picks, spend some time dreaming in the travel section, and even pick up a snazzy candle or ornate teapot on your way to the cashier.
While we definitely fall into the Chapter’s fan club when it comes time for a rainy afternoon activity or a quick gift purchase, there’s still nothing like a one-of-a-kind bookstore to wile away the hours. Kits isn’t necessarily overflowing with them, but there are a couple of special spots hidden throughout the neighbourhood.
Here are our picks for Kitsilano’s best bookshops.
1) Banyen Books & Sound
Banyen has been on West 4th Avenue for 45 years, and is a true neighbourhood jewel. Calling themselves, “your open source bookstore for the University of Life”, Banyen is in fact Canada’s most comprehensive metaphysical bookstore. Covering everything from spiritual healing to psychology to gardening, the store is massive in both quantity and quality. The space is dripping in incense and crystals, in a manner that is not at all overwhelming but in fact inviting and comfortable, and you’ll wind up lost in a daze of wandering through the never ending aisles and pouring over books of mysticism and witchcraft. Banyen is for when you want to indulge yourself in a sensory experience and find something entirely new and exciting.
Banyen Books and Sound, 3608 West 4th Avenue, 604-732-7912, banyen.com
2) Tanglewood Books
This is the place for all you book nerds in the neighbourhood. Specializing in used, rare, and out-of-print books, Tanglewood is the collector’s oasis. The staff, having carefully curated the collection of books on hand, is not only incredibly informative but also endearingly passionate. The shop is a joy to hunt through, with long aisles and rickety shelves organized neatly and submerged in spots of sunshine. Plus, Higher Grounds, located next door, boasts a mean coffee that is just perfect to have in hand when inspecting the selection. Tanglewood is for when you need a date with yourself and you’re all about the hunt for that random, special find – you’ll know it when you see it.
Tanglewood Books, 2306 West Broadway, 604-736-8876, tanglewoodbooks.ca
While we like to think of Tanglewood as the place to wander lackadaisically after your rare find, Pulpfiction is the place to run straight toward it. Known nationwide for its massive selection of rare titles, Pulpfiction either has the obscure one you’re looking for, or will find it and get it to you ASAP. The service is spectacular, the prices are the best around, and the selection is incomparable. Pulpfiction is for when your professor has assigned a book that went out of print years ago and you need it tomorrow. Or, for all you less-stressed readers out there, it’s for when you have an ambiguous image in mind of what you want, and you want it now.
Pulpfiction Books, 2754 West Broadway, 604-876-4311, pulpfictionbooksvancouver.com
A staple of the day-to-day for anybody who grew up – or had kids grow up – in Kits over the past thirty years, Kidsbooks is known for its flashy window displays, comforting decor, Young Adult selections, and, of course, the huge variety of children’s books. The store also hosts frequent events for young readers, including author readings and signings. Started in 1983 on West 4th, and expanding to the larger West Broadway location, and two other lower mainland spots, over the past couple decades, Kidsbooks has been a constant community space. Their most major claim to fame to date is that they were the first bookstore in Vancouver to sell the Harry Potter series – that’s the kind of intuition you want in a curator. Kidsbooks is for kids, teens, and adults alike who just want to kick back with a good book.
Kidsbooks, 3038 West Broadway, 604-738-5335, kidsbooks.ca
5) Salvation Army
It might seem like a travesty at first glance to add a thrift store that sells everything from toasters to swimsuits on a Best Bookstores list. But hear us out for a second. While all the quaint shops selling rare, one-of-a-kind pieces incite a thrill and spice up your collection, and all the big, shiny stores selling new releases in hardcover give you the satisfying feeling of turning each page for the first time, none of those stores sell a book for a buck. The Salvation Army on 4th and Cypress has a large selection of used books that are in more than good enough condition to enjoy, and this way you can add to your library exponentially without breaking the bank. Or, better yet, use the store as a library and take your purchase back after a read. This is the spot for those of you who devour books in one sitting and just can’t get enough.
Salvation Army, 1906 West 4th Avenue, 604-737-2444, salvationarmy.ca
Last modified: November 16, 2018