Given that we are graduate students, and it’s a pretty safe bet that we like books or know someone who likes books. Whether you need something for your secret santa-ee at SJC, or you want to give yourself a little something for having survived the semester, nothing brightens up a dark winter day like bookstore hopping. Because I am contractually obligated by my library degree program only to participate in activities that are laughably stereotypical, I signed up for a “used bookstore crawl” this past Sunday. Here are the deets on some great used bookstores downtown you might want to visit:
MacLeod’s Books (455 W Pender St.)
MacLeod’s is a Vancouver institution, and a trip to the ultra packed store is a pretty unique experience. Here’s the thing about MacLeod’s: If you suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder, dislike dust, or have a reoccurring nightmare about being crushed by a towering pile of books, this might not be the place for you. However, they have an amazing selection, and if you have some time to dig and enjoy the thrill of the hunt, you’ll almost certainly find a used copy of any book you could possibly want.
Criterion Books (434 W Pender St.)
A pretty standard little used bookstore. It’s not as perilous as MacLeod’s, but it’s also much smaller, so the selection is not as extensive. However, it’s a pleasant, cozy place with the added bonus of a small collection of record albums for those of you who appreciate the warmer sound you get from vinyl (still have no idea what this means).
The Paper Hound (344 W Pender St.)
This might be my new favorite bookstore in Vancouver. It’s a beautifully curated, warm, and inviting little place with a combination of new and used books. The used books have been thoughtfully chosen and are displayed in a way that’s both attractive and easy to browse. There are some artfully arranged stacks of vintage-y books that add charm to the décor without also adding clutter and a little set of metal drawers with all sorts of treasures inside. Basically, it’s lovely, and even though it’s small you can spend quite a lot of time in there just enjoying the book eye candy.
Obviously there are several other great used bookstores in Vancouver (add your favorites in the comments below!), but these three make for a nice little SJC afternoon outing, especially when paired with cocoa or lunch. Happy book hunting!