If you enjoy the smell of pages, books lined perfectly on a shelf, and the comfort of a cozy reading chair, then you must be a reader! Whether you are a fan of magic and dragons or a true crime novel, there is so much available to read. In a single lifetime it is impossible for us to read all of the books we want to (according to Alan Kay, we might only read 1% of them in a lifetime!), but that doesn't mean we can't try!
Looking for a book to dive into during the cold months? Or perhaps you need an beach read that will keep you hooked all vacation long. Whatever type of "bookworm" you are, there are plenty of amazing local Calgary bookstores that have the stories you didn't even know you were looking for. Here are the best bookstores in Calgary for quick shops, casual browsing, or hunkering down in!
Owl's Nest Books
If browsing new books, discovering new local authors, and joining in discussions on the literary culture are things that excite you, then Owl's Nest Books is the Calgary bookstore for you! Nestled within Britannia Plaza Shopping Centre, Owl's Nest Books is recognized as Calgary's longest established bookstore, serving for over 40 years! Not only can you browse some of the latest book releases (as well as older books), you have the opportunity to engage with other book lovers face to face. Owl's Nest Books offers in-house book clubs, author readings and signings, book launch parties, open mic nights, and so much more! Be sure to check out Owl's Nest Books and sign up for their newsletter so you don't miss out on these exciting book-lover's events.
The Next Page
Located in the bustling neighbourhood of Inglewood in the southeast of Calgary is one of Calgary's most recent additions to the book community — The Next Page! This independent bookstore is a dream for any bibliophile, as the store has floor to ceiling bookshelves, complete with a bookshelf ladder to reach the highest books (a magical sight for anyone who appreciates Belle's library from Beauty and the Beast!). On the main floor of the shop are thousands of new books, but if you are looking for something used, then a quick trip down the stairs into the twinkly-light filled basement is where you will find a wealth of used books looking for a new home!
Shelf Life Books
Described as a "bookstore for avid readers and the usually bookish, for browsers and meanderers, for independent minds and spirits," Shelf Life Books has a little bit of something for everyone. Found on the corner of 4th Street and 13th Avenue, this bookstore has a wide selection of every genre, including children's books, local art, photography, and even graphic literature. In addition to the many books available for purchase, you have the opportunity to get involved in the events held at the store. These events include readings, book discussions, musical performances by local artists, writing consults, and much more! Have a pup that likes to curl up beside you when you read? Let them join in the fun of selecting your next read — this location is dog-friendly!
Pages Books on Kensington
Supplying the Kensington area with new, used, and bargain books, Pages Books on Kensington has become a cozy staple for those looking to retreat into a bookstore while shopping on Kensington Avenue. As stated on their website, this independent bookstore holds "over 10,000 titles in stock at any given time and... can access most North American print titles." Whatever you are looking for, make your trip to Pages Books on Kensington a day-long event! Grab brunch or lunch from the nearby restaurants, browse the abundance of books at this local bookstore, find the one you want, and then retreat to a café to start reading!
What began as only 7,000 books when the store first opened, transformed into a bookstore chain with hundreds of thousands of used books available for purchase! Serving Calgary since 1988, Fair's Fair is one of the most recognized secondhand bookstores within the city! With two locations, one in Inglewood on 9th Avenue and one in the Chinook Warehouse on 61st Avenue, you can find enormous quantities of pre-loved books to buy at reasonable prices. As well as buying books, Fair's Fair offers the chance for readers to sell the books they've finished reading, or trade their books in for something different!
Books Between Friends
Looking for the next best read, but don't want to buy it at full price? Books Between Friends offers thousands of secondhand and gently-used books at a fraction of their selling price. What makes this secondhand bookstore so unique is the love that they share with others in Calgary. Books Between Friends donates much of the money earned to support local Calgary charities such as AARCS, Between Friends, Meals on Wheels, and other wonderful charitable initiatives! In 2016, the bookstore was able to donate $85,000 in book and monetary donations to charities. Feel good about the books you buy and know you are making a positive impact on the world and the city!
Located in the historical "Grain Exchange Building" in the southwest of Calgary, is the quaint and lovely Sigla Books. This small bookstore aims to provide Calgarian readers with "choice and out-of-the-ordinary books" that are perfect for the "discriminating bibliophile." Here you will be able to find less-common titles as well as rare tomes that are obscure and cannot simply be found online or in a mass-market bookstore. Sigla Books is currently working to implement a coffee bar into their shop, which will be sure to increase the appeal and environment for book lovers alike!
Other Bookstores in Calgary
Depending on what types of books you like to read, you may need a more genre-specific or wide-selling bookstore! For example, if you love to read comics and graphic novels, there are a number of comic book stores in the city. Take a look at some of the other bookish shops in YYC and find the words and pages you enjoy!
- Aquilla Books
- Phoenix Comic Books
- Another Dimension Comics
- Redd Skull Comics
- Words & Pictures
- Monkeyshines Children's Store
- Soul Food Crystals and Books
- Map Town
- Better Books and Bibles
- University of Calgary Bookstore
- SAIT Bookstore
- Mount Royal University Bookstore
- Ambrose University Bookstore
Not ready to purchase a book, but still want to find something to read? Then be sure to check out the nearest Calgary Public Library to you! Here you will find books galore, and with the free registration of a library card, you can have access to all the books you need — including digital audiobooks, which you can rent from home via their app!
Ready to dive into your next read and find the book that will grab your attention and quiet the world around you as you head off on a new adventure? Be sure to check out these amazing local Calgary bookstores to find the best books for all genres!
Justin Havre is the top producing REALTOR® with RE/MAX First, Canada's very first RE/MAX brokerage. Calgary real estate is his passion; Justin specializes in Southwest & Northwest Calgary homes for sale. He can be reached at 403.217.0003 or contacted through this site.