This Saturday, May 2 is Authors for Indies Day. At indie bookstores across Canada, authors will be volunteering as guest booksellers, and that’s just the beginning of the bookish fun in store. To help get you ready, we’ve got suggested itineraries and highlights for six major cities, written by local booklovers just for you.
Where to go in Vancouver, by Mary Alice Elcock, VP Marketing & Publisher Relations at BitLit
There are tourists who travel in pursuit of wild adventure, others who search for the perfect food experience, and still others (like me) who consider themselves bookstore tourists. Let’s be honest, I’m a bit obsessed. Not a trip goes by that doesn’t find me tracking down a city’s best bookstores. Be it Shakespeare & Company in Paris or Powell’s Books in Portland, I’ve been there and I’ve bought a book (or two!).
But the bookstores you love the most are the ones in your own backyard. As a Vancouverite, I often hear people bemoan the lack of bookstores in our city and I say it ain’t so, friends. Vancouver is home to a plethora of purveyors of the written word who will let you wander their stacks, snoop through the backlist, and generally get lost in a good book.
My personal favourite, since relocating to the West Coast, has been Pulpfiction. Now with three locations in Vancouver, Pulpfiction is a great blend of new and used books. Do you need a $4 copy of Proust? They’ve got it. Looking for a new copy of Plenty More from Yotam Ottolenghi for Mother’s Day? They’ve got that, too. They’ll also go out of their way to find you that book you just have to have. When I couldn’t find a hardcover copy of my grandfather’s last published work, Plato’s Republic, Pulpfiction’s owner Chris not only found me the book, but had also read it. This year, in honour of Authors for Indies day, Pulpfiction will be playing host to Zsuzusi Gartner, Christopher Levenson, and Elena Johnson at their Kitsilano location, as well as E.R. Brown, Sam Wiebe, Michael Turner, Clint Burnham, Sheryda Warrener, and Rebecca Chaperon at their Main St. location.
Most recent purchase: Women in Clothes
Paper Hound, a newcomer on the Vancouver bookstore scene, has rapidly become another favourite of mine. This is partly because they’re a stone’s throw away from the BitLit offices, allowing me to peruse books on my lunch hour. Like Pulpfiction, Paper Hound blends new with used. While the storefront is small, they manage to cram a lot of books onto their towering shelves of everything from well-loved classics to beautiful Folio editions. They also stock a good selection of popular and local books, and I regularly find myself hankering for a new book from Arsenal Pulp or Anvil. Plus their logo is so charming that you too will soon be lusting after their tote bags. This year, Cynthia Flood and Elaine Woo will join Paper Hound in honour of Authors for Indies day.
Most recent purchase: When Everything Feels Like the Movies
Another favourite bookstore is the new location of Book Warehouse on Main St., which opened almost a year ago in May 2014. Next door to probably the best butcher in town, Vancouverites can now buy their bacon and a book on how to cook it in one fell swoop (not that this writer has ever done so). Playing host to a plethora of on- and off-site book signings, readings, and events, Book Warehouse has quickly become an important part of the Main St. community. In support of Authors for Indies, they will be hosting a great lineup of authors: June Hutton, Judy McFarlane, E.R. Brown, Théodora Armstrong, Hal Wake, Dietrich Kalteis, Steven Galloway, Robin Spano, Kevin Chong, Sarah Ellis, and Trevor Hughes.
Most recent purchase: The World Before Us
And finally, I would be remiss if I failed to single out Kidsbooks as possibly the best children’s bookstore I’ve ever visited. Founded 32 years ago, Kidsbooks is a true bookstore success story. They have their fingers on the pulse of children’s and YA literature, and I’ve been caught spending many hours choosing books for my nieces and nephews (and a few for myself). On May 2, Kidsbooks will be hosting Kathryn Shoemaker, Ashley Spires, Gabrielle Prendergast, Caroline Adderson, Cynthia Nugent, Norma Charles, Rosie Daykin, Susin Nielsen, Maggie De Vries, Sheri Radford, Tiffany Stone, Meeru Dhalwala, Jeremy Tankard, Julie Flett, Deborah Hodge, and Linda Bailey.
Most recent purchase: Dolphin SOS
Not in Vancouver? Check out our other itineraries for Toronto, Calgary, Montreal, Halifax, or Winnipeg. Or see a full list of participating stores on the Authors for Indies website.