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Stepping through the front door of MacLeod's Books, it instantly becomes clear why MacLean's magazine dubbed it Canada's “last great bookshop.” The legendary Pender Street store has been a Vancouver institution for more than 50 years, serving the needs of everyone from the casual reader to the literary professional. Its towering shelves are piled high with books on every conceivable subject, from fiction to history to geography to the occult, and everything from cheap paperbacks to priceless first editions.

“We have books priced at down to $1 and up to $15-20,000,” explains owner Don Stewart. “It's a complete range. And people who are browsing will often make a wonderful little discovery that they didn't know existed in a subject area, or they'll just randomly pick something up that speaks to them.”

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Appears in 3 Smart Lists

Editor’s Pick
Vancouver’s most enchanting used bookstores

Vancouver’s most enchanting used bookstores

If you’re ever downtown and want to kill some time, head over to MacLeod Books. The iconic Gastown bookstore is reminiscent of Powell’s Books in Portland with plenty of square footage and overflowing shelves that create a labyrinth of paperbacks. They deal in rare and antique books

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Used bookstores for second-hand books in Vancouver

Used bookstores for second-hand books in Vancouver

This otherworldly shop is reminiscent of an old bookstore in a historical period film, with its dark wooden shelves filled to the brim with dusty old hardbacks (you know, those beautiful gold-lined leather books) and overflowing stacks over books piled on the ground. If you’re looking to do some indoor exploring during Vancouver’s rainy months, this is the perfect place to hunt around for some interesting reading material.

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Independent bookstores in Vancouver

Independent bookstores in Vancouver

This iconic used bookstore on Pender Street hardly needs an introduction. Once the subject of a Maclean’s article titled The Last Great Bookstore, MacLeod’s is a Canadian literary institution. The Gastown bookshop has an attic-like feel, with towering stacks of antiquarian hardcovers, piles of well-worn paperbacks strewn haphazardly throughout the space, and a wooden ladder on hand for those hard-to-reach shelves. Ask the staff for a hand if you’re looking for a specific title or, better yet, simply wander through the labyrinthine maze of bookcases and uncover your next literary love.

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