Check off your #BookTok must-reads at one of Toronto’s top independently owned bookshops.
Word nerds have the world in their hands when it comes to Toronto’s book scene. With a bumper crop of genre shops like Little Ghosts (horror, obviously) to the oldest 2SLGBTQI+ bookshop in the world, Glad Day. Don’t forget to visit the Biblio-Mat, a Tiktok-approved book vending machine at Monkey’s Paw.
Here’s where to find #BookTok faves with shops for every literary taste.
For literary fiction: Type
With three locations in the city, Type is a beloved peak-cozy-vibes indie bookstore in Toronto that’s impossible to leave empty-handed. No matter the location, its collection of children’s books is always on point, and grown-ups love it for its emphasis on literary fiction. There’s its notable “plotless fiction” section to peruse and plenty of gorgeously curated gifts, including its printed nylon Baggu tote.
Shop here for #BookTok hits like A Little Life and Beautiful World, Where Are You.
For cookbooks & culinary culture: Good Egg
Can’t-miss Canadian food writers are stocked here, like Food Network’s French Food at Home host Laura Calder’s Kitchen Bliss, a memoir-meets-cookbook, and Corey Mintz’ How to Host a Dinner Party. These books will inevitably stoke your appetite, but luckily, street-style eats abound in every nook and cranny of the surrounding streets.
Shop here to find #BookTok hits like Fresh India and Salt Fat Acid Heat.
For BIPOC-centred nonfiction & fiction: A Different Booklist
A Different Booklist is a Black–owned independent bookstore in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood that specializes in lit from the Global South and the Caribbean and African diaspora. In a warm, homey space right around the corner from Koreatown’s busy restaurant scene, you’ll also find your fave #5starbooks from major publishers and small presses alike. Don’t miss the noteworthy selection of BIPOC children’s literature and local authors.
Shop here to find #BookTok hits like Ace of Spades and Black Cake.
Also see: 10 Black-Owned Businesses to Discover
For kids & young adults: Mabel’s Fables
From babies to teens (and even the many adults who love YA), Mabel’s Fables has a #kidlit book for everyone, whether for your own kids or the new and expectant parents in your life. Located near the lively Yonge & Eglinton neighbourhood, this snug indie bookstore is on two floors: upstairs, there’s a den-like YA reading area with a couch, and downstairs there are displays so fulsome with adorable kids’ books you’ll be hard-pressed to buy just one.
Shop here to find #BookTok hits like Little Blue Truck and The Summer I Turned Pretty.
For queer-centred nonfiction and fiction: Glad Day
The oldest surviving 2SLGBTQI+ bookstore in the world (a title formerly held by the now-shuttered Oscar Wilde Bookshop in New York City), Glad Day is a legend in the Gay Village, aka Church-Wellesley Village. Head to this bright community space and grab an Americano while you browse, or attend a Sunday Drag Brunch or Buffy the Vampire Slayer viewing party.
Shop here to find #BookTok hits like We Have Always Been Here and A Two-Spirit Journey.
For graphic novels & comics: Silver Snail
For 45 years, Silver Snail has served as Toronto’s go-to comic bookstore for new releases, past issues and must-have “keys.” The Queen Street West stalwart also boasts an impressive selection of manga and graphic novels, as well as a big range of action figure collectibles. Come to the neighbourhood for the comics, stay for the people-watching in nearby Trinity-Bellwoods Park.
Shop here to find #ComicTok and #MangaTikTok hits like Old Man Logan and Night of the Living Cat.
For diversity & politics: Another Story
With a focus on themes of social justice, equity and diversity, Another Story bookshop is a beloved institution of the Junction neighbourhood not only for its adult titles but for kid lit and YA offerings.
Bookworms will get a thrill from the mystery bundles wrapped up under genres like Social Commentary or YA Ages 12 and Up, the profits of which are regularly dedicated to non-profits like the Call Auntie Indigenous sex and reproductive health clinic or to sponsor author events.
Shop here to find #BookTok hits like Braiding Sweetgrass and The Myth of Normal.
For horror: Little Ghosts
The books inside this horror-genre bookshop may be terrifying, but the interior of this Little Portugal indie shop is light and inviting, with a sweet little café onsite so you can sip and be scared. Little Ghosts’ shelves also feature on-the-nose merch like cheeky greeting cards that read “Congrats on Not Dying,” cute ghost-logo shop T-shirts and skull candles. Frequent book launches and signings are announced on Little Ghosts’ Instagram.
Shop here to find #BookTok hits like Mexican Gothic and The Salt Grows Heavy.
For antiquarian books: Monkey’s Paw
Old and unusual books and paper artifacts like London tube maps and fascinating vintage catalogues (an Instagram post reveals strappy green leather pumps that cost, wait for it, $2.98 in 1951) await the curious at Monkey’s Paw. Another draw at this quaint west-end bookshop is the Biblio-Mat, a coin-operated vending machine that randomly dispenses books of the pre-loved variety.
Shop here to see the #BookTok hit the Biblio-Mat vending machine.
For mental health & wellness: Caversham Booksellers
Covering topics from psychology to self-help and beyond, a couple of doors over from the pizza/pasta institution, Piano Piano, is Caversham Booksellers, North America’s largest mental health bookstore.
While niche titles for healthcare professionals abound, you’ll also find recent NYTimes bestsellers like Naomi Klein’s Doppelganger among the displays. This is a bookstore where an intriguing title grabs your attention in every nook and cranny of the compact, well-stocked shop.
Shop here to find #BookTok hits like The Body Keeps the Score and Atomic Habits.