Greetings Fellow BookNerds!
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from four years of university, it’s that the words ‘free’ and ‘cheap’ and two of the sweetest words in the English language. This is especially true for a book addict like me, as I figure I own more books than I’ll be able to read through in a single lifetime. I was ecstatic when I first learned that there was a Chapters within walking distance from the place I’m staying at, having grown up in a small neighbourhood where the closest book store was almost an hours drive away. I could spend hours in Chapters, roaming the shelves and committing to memory every book I would like to get my hands on one day… when I have money.
This is when my search began for Ottawa’s less expensive book purchasing alternatives, and so far it has yielded some very positive results. Let’s take a look!
1. All Books
Admittedly, I’ve only been to this place once, but all it took was that one visit for this store to make it to the very top of my list. It’s an independently owned used bookstore which, according to a quick internet search, has been around for about 15 years. That’s saying a lot, as independently owned ventures in the writing and literary world have been steadily disappearing in recent years. It’s small, but every corner of the store is packed with books, and what doesn’t fit on the shelves is stacked in piles wherever they will fit. It looks very much like the dream room I wanted when I was younger… what am I saying, it’s still my dream room 🙂 This is where I finally bought a copy of Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, and I don’t think I paid much more than five dollars. The prices are beyond reasonable, and they have an incredibly diverse collection of both fiction and non-fiction, as well as quite a few academic reads. What I love most is when they set up the table just outside the store, which is then covered in books that you can buy for just 1 or 2 bucks. I hope this plays sticks around for a long time, so that I can refill my book reservoir when it starts to go down again. It’s located between the Bytowne Cinema and the Mac’s convenience store on Rideau Street, and if you haven’t been there yet, I recommend you do so immediately!
2. Agora Bookstore
Okay, so not exactly the place to go to if you’re looking for a leisurely novel to read, but if you’re a university student like I was – still feels strange to say it in the past tense – and you really don’t want to pay the price that the university bookstore is demanding of you, then this place is great. The price is a hell of a lot more reasonable, and even moreso if you choose to rent as opposed to buying the books that you’ll probably only read once and then never open again anyway. There’s also the wonderful option of ordering the book to be sent directly to your house, which is especially great in the winter time when you really don’t feel like braving the Ottawa cold. This one is also near the downtown area, and the building is pretty hard to miss.
3. Benjamin Books
This is yet another place that specializes more in academia. It’s small, kind of like All Books, but with a bit more space to move around, and a bit ore organized so that students can find what they’re looking for quickly. The people who work there are very good at what they do. I have two foreign exchange students staying with me, and they were looking to buy some of their books from Benjamin’s. One of them wasn’t sure what the book was called, but at the mere mention of the class name, one of the gentlemen working there knew exactly what she was looking for. Very good service, and the prices aren’t bad either. They do sell fiction books, although it’s usually because they’re being studied for English, literature or other fiction novel oriented courses. I was ecstatic beyond belief when I saw that the mandatory reading for one of those classes was The Fault In Our Stars. This store is located on Osgoode, close to the University of Ottawa Campus, and next door to a pretty good Shawarma place 😉
That’s the end of my list for now, but I shall continue to search until I have visited every literary repository this city has to offer. As always, I would love to get some feedback from my wonderful BookNerds. If you know of any reasonably priced bookstores in the Ottawa area, don’t hesitate to jot the name down in the comments below. Or if you have a book you’d like to recommend, visit the Book Recommendations From You page above and leave the title of the book and the author in the comments. I look forward to hearing from you, and as always, happy reading!