Literary MontrealNovember 8th, 2019
For one week in November—this year from Wednesday, November 20 through Monday the 25—book lovers flock to Place Bonaventure to snap up the latest titles from their favourite, best-selling authors at Montreal’s biggest book fair, the Salon du livre. The rest of the year, to discover lesser-known authors, uncover older editions, or receive personal recommendations, readers can turn to local, independent booksellers. Here is an overview of independent bookstores in Montreal. Happy browsing!
The oldest independent, English-language bookstore in Montreal opened in 1966. Books are carefully selected in genres ranging from literary to fantasy, poetry to philosophy, science to biography. Argo is particularly well stocked with books on linguistics and Japan, as well as books about marginalized groups written by marginalized authors.
Info: 1915 Sainte-Catherine Street West | 514-931-3442 | argobookshop.ca
Chez l’Éditeur is a bookstore, a literary café and an original coworking concept. In their hybrid space, you can work, order a drink or a snack, and share office space with two publishers, Québec Amérique and Cardinal. Their latest publications are displayed on bookshelves and can be purchased onsite.
Info: 7240 Saint-Hubert Street | 514 499-0776 |
1372 Notre-Dame Street West | 514 228-5120 | quebec-amerique.com/chezlediteur
Drawn & Quarterly
A landmark in Montreal’s alternative scene, this bookstore and publishing house specializes in comics and graphic novels. As well as its own editions, the store features an extensive collection of graphic novels, novels, monographs, recent publications and selected classics. Across the street from their first store, D & Q opened a second location dedicated to children’s books.
Info: 211 & 176 Bernard Avenue West | 514-279-2224 | mtl.drawnandquarterly.com
Gallimard opened its bookstore on Saint-Laurent Boulevard in 1989. Works by French and Quebec writers are featured alongside world literature and carefully selected collections of poetry, theatre, philosophy, history, literature, and social sciences. Gallimard has a catalogue of 40,000 titles, and the store also sells books from other publishers.
Info: 3700 Saint-Laurent Boulevard | 514 499-2012 | gallimardmontreal.com
L’Écume des jours
Before opening a neighbourhood bookstore in Villeray, L’Écume des jours was located on Saint-Viateur, near Saint-Laurent Boulevard, for fifteen years. In 2014, the store moved to Villeray due to a demographic shift in Mile-End: its francophone clientele had moved away and was replaced by anglophones that the booksellers could not serve well.
Info: 420 Villeray Street | 514 278-4523 | facebook.com/Librairie-LÉcume-des-jours-101529789885109/
Montreal is the home of this excellent small publishing house which specializes in illustrated novels, comic books and children’s books. La Pastèque has a storefront on Laurier West where it showcases the work of its creators with exhibitions, readings and other activities. A boutique offers all their current publications for sale.
Info: 102 Laurier Avenue West | lapasteque.com
Le Port de tête
Established in 2007, bookstore Le Port de tête sells new and used, quality books, in several genres including literature, philosophy, humanities, arts, children’s literature, and comics. Their collection includes rare and out-of-print books, such as fanzines and magazines from here and elsewhere, not usually distributed in Quebec.
Info: 262 Mont-Royal Avenue East | 514 678-9566 | leportdetete.com
Librairie du Square
The first Librairie du Square opened in 1985 near Carré Saint-Louis to serve a clientele of students, teachers and neighbourhood readers. Their curated collection includes literature, poetry, theatre, philosophy, children’s books, and more. A second address recently opened on Bernard Avenue in Outremont.
Info: 3453 Saint-Denis Street | 514 845-7617 | dusquare.leslibraires.ca
1061 Bernard Avenue West | 514 303-0612 | facebook.com/Librairie-du-Square-Outremont-922526727914305/
Librairie Michel Fortin
Founded in 1982, Librairie Michel Fortin is a destination for language lovers, with a vast selection of methods for nearly 260 languages, and more than 13,000 titles on the shelves. Their collection responds to the needs of teachers as well as learners. They sell textbooks and exercise books, easy reading collections, reference manuals, CD-ROMs and DVD-ROMs. A multilingual staff is on hand to assist customers.
Info: 3714 Saint-Denis Street | 514 849-5719 | librairiemichelfortin.com
Montreal’s Librairie Paulines opened in 1952. Formerly located on Saint-Denis Street, in 2006 it moved to its current address on 2653 Masson Street. The bookstore has a conference room with a 150-person capacity which can be reserved for private meetings. A second branch is located in Trois-Rivières.
Info: 2653 Masson Street | 514 849-3585 | librairies.paulines.qc.ca
The first Raffin bookshop opened in 1930. The Raffin Group, which now has three branches, promotes knowledge and editorial diversity by selling underrepresented work.
Info: 6330 St-Hubert Street | 514-274-2870 | librairieraffin.com
Founded by a group of globetrotting friends almost 40 years ago, Montreal’s Ulysse bookstores are the only specialized travel bookstores in Quebec. They have a large selection of travel and outdoor guides to everything from short, weekend getaways to planning a trip abroad. In total, they offer nearly 10,000 practical guides, coffee-table books, maps, and atlases, in both French and in English.
Info: 4176 Saint-Denis Street | 514 843-9447
560 President Kennedy Avenue | 514 843-7222 | guidesulysse.com
This well-known bookstore buys and sells books, CDs, vinyl records and DVDs. Because it is popular, the store’s rotation is quite fast, with a wide selection of titles at reasonable prices. There are books of all kinds, including graphic novels and zines by local artists.
Info: 713 Mont-Royal Avenue East | 514-523-6389 | librairielechange.com
This neighbourhood bookstore was established in 1987 and is a member of the Confrérie de la librairie ancienne du Québec. It specializes in buying and selling high quality, used books, including old, rare, or out-of-print volumes.
Info: 4800 Henri-Julien Avenue | 514 844-7576 | librairie-henri-julien.com
Located for many years on Saint-Laurent Boulevard, S.W.Welch Bookseller moved into Mile-End to meet the demands of a growing English-speaking clientele. This bookseller maintains a lively Facebook page with photos of his latest second-hand books.
Info: 225 Saint-Viateur Street West | 514 848-9358 | facebook.com/SWWelch-Bookseller-283426633094
Established in 1975 in the area east of McGill University that is known as the McGill ghetto, The Word is an English language, used book store specializing in literature, philosophy, and poetry. It also offers a unique selection of books about drama, history, political science, art, and religion.
Info: 469 Milton Street | 514 845-5640 | wordbookstore.ca