Student Life

Ranking Montreal’s neighborhood bookstores

Where does one go to find the perfect book? Maybe, you’re looking for a novella to read while waiting in line for ice cream at Frostbite, or maybe an anthology of poems to complement your English class. Either way, you can find any of these books at the following local shops. Here is a list of English-language bookstores near campus—listed from least to most cute and charming.  

4. Paragraphe  

//Distance from campus: 2 minutes by foot//

In terms of convenience, Paragraphe is the place to go. Paragraphe’s selection ranges from  romance to cookbooks. There are also McGill course books and a large nonfiction section to complement your studies. However, it is not technically an independent bookstore—it is owned by the Renaud-Bray Group—so if you are looking to support local businesses, you might consider the listings below. 

3. Argo Bookstore

//Distance from campus: 21 minutes by foot, 13 minutes by metro, and 9 minutes by bike //

Located in the heart of downtown, Argo is a respite from the noise and crowds of the street. The shop is small and quaint, matching the vibe one expects when walking into a bookstore. The walls are lined with books, some with index cards describing the text and giving recommendations from the staff. Argo is also queer-owned and has a large selection of queer literature. They house a Japanese book club and specialize in speculative fiction. 

2.  L’Eugélionne 

//Distance from campus: 36 minutes by foot, 12 minutes by metro, and 10 minutes by bike//

When you first walk into L’Eugélionne, you are met with mainly queer and feminist literature along with miscellaneous yonis. L’Eugélionne prides itself on being a feminist bookstore, with an equal number of books in both French and English. There is a large collection of nonfiction books on feminist theory, social movements, gender and sexuality, and colonialism. L’Eugélionne has a large zine collection, offering the buyer a wide variety of different forms of reading besides the typical novel. It is also a non-profit co-op so you can become a member and receive discounts. 

1. The Word

//Distance from campus: 5 minutes by foot, 3 minute by bike//

The Word is a family-run independent used bookstore that has been around for nearly 49 years. When you walk around the store—which started as an underground book dealership run out of Adrian King-Edwards’s living room—you are met by the friendly and knowledgeable staff who are willing to help you search for any book you need. Their focus on second-hand books allows them to maintain a varied collection, from local Montreal poetry to used course textbooks. The turnover rate at The Word is fast, so you’re sure to see different books every time you enter. The location is ideal for McGill students, and the small store crammed with books piled high and in every corner gives the energy of an old-timey store kept alive through the magic of writing.  

The local touch

There’s something very special about buying a new book—perusing a bookstore and then getting home and cracking open the spine of your newest read. It belongs to you, a slice of the story becomes your own, a world you can dive into, a silent retreat from your outside life. Hopefully, one of these picturesque bookstores will offer you this feeling and maybe even become part of your routine. It’s important to support these local shops; they bring the literary arts to the neighbourhood, organize events for and interact with the community, and act as safe spaces for different groups. If you leave without buying anything, you’ll still come out with a good experience, whether that be having a friendly conversation with the clerk, taking note of an interesting author, or discovering a place of like-minded readers.

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