Read ’em and reap: A list of West Kootenay bookstores

Can’t get enough reading material? Check out this list of bookstores in the West Kootenay.

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Letty Bartel, owner of Otter Books, stands in front of bookshelves holding a large stack of books.

Letty Bartels is the owner of Otter Books in Nelson. The store is celebrating its 19th birthday this year. — Photo courtesy Otter Books/Instagram

As a society, we may be firmly rooted in the digital age but when it comes to books, most of us prefer the comforting, tactile feel of crisp paper over the smooth texture of a touchscreen under our fingertips. According to the 2021 Canadian Book Consumer Study, conducted by BookNet Canada, about 75 per cent of purchased books are printed editions rather than digital ebooks or audiobooks. Here are some other interesting facts found in the same study:

  • Paperback books are twice as popular as hardcover books
  • Roughly 50 per cent of people buy their printed books through an online retailer or bookseller
  • The most popular types of genres among Canadians include fantasy, fictional thrillers, autobiographies, self-help books and history
  • Over 38 per cent of people reported that they discover new books and authors to read by browsing through their local bookstore

Despite our love of electronics and digital gadgets, it seems that traditional printed books are here to stay. That’s great news for our local bookstores and used booksellers. How about paying a visit to one of the local East Kootenay book purveyors on this list and bringing home a new stack of books to read? After all, curling up on the couch with a Kindle doesn’t quite cut it.

And if you’re interested in expanding your bookstore visits, check out our list of new and used bookstores in the East Kootenay region as well.

Bookstores in Nakusp, B.C.

Meritxell Books 

If you’re visiting Nakusp, a stop at Meritxell Books is a must. Owner Wes Towle is “a jolly old man and the friendliest shop owner in Nakusp,” according to a Google review.The shop is the quintessential used bookstore—the mess of books and boxes piled up everywhere forces the devoted reader to dig deep to find treasures (which, of course, is one of the best things about a good used bookstore).

Where to find them: 314 Broadway Street West, Nakusp
Hours of operation: Monday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday closed
How to contact them: Phone 250-265-4450

Interior photo of Notably, showing rows of books and giftware.

Notably, a Book Lover's Emporium in Nelson carries a huge range of books, giftware, tote bags, journals and much more. — Photo courtesy Notably, a Book Lover's Emporium/Facebook

Bookstores in Nelson, B.C.

Booksmyth Used Books

“We love books!” proclaims the website of Booksmyth Used Books. This shop, located on Nelson’s historic Baker Street, specializes in carefully curated, quality books on a nice range of subject matter including art, history, classic literature and Canadiana.

Where to find them: 106 -  402 Baker Street, Nelson
Hours of operation: Tuesday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday noon to 6 p.m., Monday closed
How to contact them: Phone 250-352-1225

Coles/Indigo

There’s a familiar Coles Bookstore in many communities across Canada, and Nelson is no exception. Located in the Chahko Mika Mall, this Coles location carries a wide variety of new books for all ages and tastes, as well as stationery, giftware and gaming supplies.

Where to find them: Chahko Mika Mall, 1107 Lakeside Drive, Nelson
Hours of operation: Monday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
How to contact them: Phone 250-352-0057

Notably, A Book Lover’s Emporium

The newest addition to Nelson’s bookish community, Notably opened their doors in June of 2021. This independently-owned store caters to literary lovers of all ages and stocks a far-reaching range of fiction and non-fiction titles. They also carry a nice selection of high-end stationery and gift items. Keep an eye out for fun events at the bookstore like literary game nights, author talks and music and poetry evenings.

Where to find them: 454 Ward Street, Nelson
Hours of operation: Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday closed
How to contact them: Phone 250-354-0148, email [email protected]

Otter Books

This locally-owned independent bookstore carries a great selection of local interest titles, current and bestselling books as well as items like puzzles and giftware. They regularly hold events like meet the author/signing days and have a great bargain section of books to browse through.

Where to find them: 398 Baker Street, Nelson
Hours of operation: Monday to Friday 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday closed
How to contact them: Phone: 250-352-3434, email [email protected]

Interior shot of Packrat Annie's, showing long row of books and shelves, records in foreground of picture.

Books, books and more books (and vinyl records too!) can be found at Packrat Annie's in Nelson. — Photo courtesy Packrat Annie’s Facebook page

Packrat Annie’s

This wonderfully eclectic spot in Nelson houses an ever-changing collection of used books—you never know what you’ll dig up at Packrat Annie’s! As well as a wealth of books, the store sells new and used vinyl records and CDs.

Where to find them: 411 Kootenay Street, Nelson
Hours of operation: Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
How to contact them: Phone 250-354-4722, email [email protected]

Bookstores in Revelstoke, B.C.

Fable Book Parlour

This independently-owned bookstore is all about sharing their love of community, arts and culture . . . and books, of course. The store stocks a carefully curated selection of quality new and used books that will appeal to everyone, whether it’s a visiting tourist or a local looking for the newest read. They also carry a range of musical instruments and vinyl records, as well as offer music lessons. Read our in-depth story about Fable Book Parlour and the dynamic ladies behind the business here

Where to find them: 102 - 311 First Street West, Revelstoke
Hours of operation: Monday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday closed
How to contact them: Phone 250-683-9904, email [email protected]

The historical town of Rossland features many historic buildings, including this one where the Gold Rush Bookstore is currently housed. — Photo collage courtesy Michelle Fairbanks/Rossland Heritage Commission

Bookstores in Rossland, B.C.

Gold Rush Bookstore

Housed in a circa 1914 heritage building in downtown Rossland, the Gold Rush Bookstore is all about taking a step back from the rush of daily life. Enjoy a bit of quiet time and take in the wealth of new and used books found at this friendly little bookstore. A nice cross-section of titles can be found, from best-sellers to uniquely “Kootenay” books from local authors. Read our article about this local bookstore and the historical town of Rossland.

Where to find them: 2063 Washington Street, Rossland
Hours of operation: Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m, Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
How to contact them: Phone 250-362-5454, email [email protected]

Bookstores in Trail, B.C.

Crockett Book Company

The Crockett Book Company is a small, independently-run store and carries a surprisingly large, well-rounded selection of books and magazines. From local tourist guides, maps and reference books to graphic novels and children’s titles, there is something for everyone. They also carry a large selection of award-winning card and board games for adults and kids, as well as hold regular game days at the store.

Where to find them: Waneta Plaza Mall, 109 - 8100 Rock Island Highway, Trail
Hours of operation: Monday to Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
How to contact them: Phone 250-364-1123, email [email protected]

Page One Used Books

With a stock of over used 65,000 books, this unassuming little bookstore garners rave reviews from many repeat customers. It’s cluttered (as any good used bookshop should be) but well organized into categories. The proprietor is friendly, knowledgeable and happy to suggest new authors to try out.

Where to find them: 1703 - 2nd Avenue, Trail
Hours of operation: Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday closed
How to contact them: Phone 250-231-3573, email [email protected]

If we missed adding your bookstore to this list and you would like to be included, please send us a message: [email protected].

Interior view of Crockett Book Co. in mall.

The Crockett Book Company is located in Trail's Waneta Plaza Mall. — Photo courtesy Crockett Book Company Facebook page

Julie Matchett

Julie Matchett is a writer and content coordinator for KPI Media. She ranks as a 7 on the Introversion vs. Extraversion scale out of 100, which might help to explain why she chose a career of quiet contemplation as opposed to public speaking. View all of Julie Matchett’s articles

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