Best Bookstore in Kingston

Best Bookstore in Kingston, OntarioIn a city with two universities and a college, a flourishing public library system, as well as an increasingly popular annual WritersFest, it’s safe to say that Kingstonians are generally a well-read bunch. Peering beyond the glowing screens of our tablets and the endless stacks within media warehouses, and you’ll catch a glimpse of the half dozen or so independent, locally-owned, new and used book retailers.  These stalwarts of local lit are undeniably the little guys when compared to online retailers and the massive brick and mortal superstores such as Chapters, Indigo, and Costco.  The likes of Novel Idea and Book Land are small and humble establishments, free of overpriced in-store espresso bars, and rich with character and staff who are passionate about the pleasures of the printed page.  Identifying the best bookstore in Kingston is undeniably a difficult endeavor, and it is dependent upon personal preference pertaining to factors such as new versus used inventory, location, customer service, and special events such book signings and readings.  Nevertheless, this week’s page-turning poll seeks to answer the following:

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Truthfully, I have special memories of most of the bookstores that have survived the onslaught of fierce online and corporate competition.  Wayfarer Books has added numerous essential reads to our home library including used copies of Moby Dick and The Edible Woman.  While combing the stacks at Berry & Peterson, I found an amazing copy of a philosophical book penned by an author of the same last name as myself, which I had to have.  Novel Idea is the spot where I purchased copies of local hockey historian Bill Fitsell’s How Hockey Happened, which he later signed for me, and I gave away to family members a few Christmases ago.  Finally, Bookland was where I was first introduced to the X-Men and The New Mutants, while the latter group’s 98th edition (the first appearance of Deadpool) is one my favorite and seemingly valuable comics.

Forget the cozy armchairs, the Black Friday door crashers and reek of cinnamon, that are common to the massive book and media retailers.  This holiday season (and beyond), why not turn to the best bookstore in Kingston via one of the many locally-owned, new and used retailers?  While you may pay bit more for that new release, you’ll likely get a great deal more in terms of a rewarding experience by shopping and supporting local business owners.

Just what are the characteristics that elevate the best bookstore in Kingston above the competition?

Photo credit to Furcifer Pardalis.

Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

3 thoughts on “Best Bookstore in Kingston

  • Interesting comments – For an out-of- towner it’s nice to know about these local stores.

  • I am from out of town but whenever I visit Kingston I always visit Wayfarer and B&P, used bookstores overflowing with treasures the way they used to have in profusion in Toronto but, alas, high rents, the Internet, and Chapters took care of that. The Novel Idea is a beautiful little store with an eclectic collection of books. Unfortunately I don't know Bookland but I will have to seek it out next time. A quiz like this is kind of like asking who is your favourite child. We love them all.

  • Apple’s and Oranges. Novel Idea is the best place for new and interesting books of all types, Berry & Peterson and Wayfarer are the places to go for rare and used treasures.

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