Since governments worldwide have forced the closure of non-essential services, many bookstores have had to make some big changes. In Toronto, some independent bookstores have had to cease even their online operations as a response measure to COVID-19. With so much uncertainty, there is one thing that we know for sure – independent bookstores need your business now more than ever. Bookstores play an important role in our communities, so as social distancing presents us with more time to read, we’re asking everyone to consider the [positive] impact that stockpiling books could have on your community. Here’s a list of booksellers, or social distancing superheroes, that would love to supply you with your next read.
914 Queen Street East – (416) 778-5053
“We are so grateful to be a part of such a fantastic community.”
Queen Books in Toronto’s inner east has recently launched a webstore where you can browse thousands of great titles online. They offer curbside pickup at their storefront and delivery for a flat rate of $3 within the City of Toronto. Queen Books kindly asks that deliveries go to addresses that can be left with a concierge, in a mailbox, or on a porch, to minimize physical contact. Visit the Queen Books webstore or follow them on Twitter @QueenBooksTO
Queen St. 883 Queen St. – (416) 366-8973
Junction 2887 Dundas St. W. – (416) 761-9973
Forest Hill 427 Spadina Rd. – (416) 487-8973
“We believe that trying times and social distancing are made easier by the solace of a stack of books and the connection found therein.”
TYPE Books currently provides free delivery to Toronto’s West End, which they define as “King to Eglinton, Yonge to Jane-ish”, as well as curbside pickup from all three of its locations. Simply call your preferred store directly or email email@example.com to place an order. TYPE also sells gift certificates for any denomination, which never expire, and a "Mystery Bag" service, which features a selection of their booksellers' choice, for $100. Follow TYPE Books on Twitter @typebooks
A Different Booklist
779 Bathurst St. – (416) 538-0889
“We urge you to stay woke, be mindful of others and continue to nourish your mind, body and spirit in these difficult times.”
A Different Booklist celebrates authors of colour in a big way, from how the store is categorized to the Monthly Features section of its website. A Different Booklist is also one of the only independent bookstores in Toronto to offer free shipping Canada-wide. Browse the online store or follow them on Twitter @ADFRNTBooklist
Bakka Phoenix Books
84 Harbord St. – (416) 963-9993
“Our Forever Mission, especially in this time of quarantine, is to put great books in people’s hands.”
Founded in 1972, Bakka Phoenix is Canada's oldest speculative fiction bookstore. It offers an impressive selection of new and used books in an online store, plus a range of audiobooks through Libro.fm. All kids and young adult titles are currently 15% off until at least April 6, 2020. Browse the online store or follow Bakka Phoenix on Twitter @bakkaphoenix
662 Mt. Pleasant Rd. – (416) 322-0438
“Keep calm & read books…. We’re still answering phones and emails and packing up parcels and bags of goodies.”
Known mainly for its children's books, Mabel's Fables stocks titles for adults as well. They provide detailed recommendations for every age group and in recent weeks, their monthly subscription service has become particularly popular. Here’s how it works: starting at $15 plus delivery, subscribers are asked to submit a reading profile. They then receive a package with book(s) tailored specifically to their interests and reading level, if applicable.
Although they aren’t an independent bookstore, Audiobooks.com employs many Canadians and offers a large selection of free audiobooks, which are accessible from anywhere and don’t require any physical contact to acquire. Monthly Membership goes for $14.95 (USD) and gets you 1 book credit, which can be applied to your choice from 150,000 titles, plus one free book from a special list. The first month counts as a free trial and you get to keep your first book forever, even if you cancel before the month ends. Audiobooks also offers 8,000+ free titles exclusively through its app, which users don’t need a membership to access. Learn more at Audiobooks.com or follow them on Twitter @audiobooks_com
As new information unfolds about COVID-19, we acknowledge that businesses are reacting as best they can. Please note that the information provided here was confirmed as accurate by each business at the time of publication. Bookstore websites and social media channels continue to provide the most current updates.