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"For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the LORD, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel."

"For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the LORD, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel."   

A tour of used bookshops is not an ordinary introduction to school, but was one of the most enjoyable and useful activities I did as a student. For many years, a professor hosted a two-hour bookshop crawl as part of a week of events for incoming students at Toronto School of Theology. Richard Steele once summarized, "reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." So in that spirit, I've continued to explore Toronto's bookshops ever since.

Combining, like all students, an insatiable appetite for books with an extremely modest budget, I make an afternoon bookshop crawl, sometimes alone, and sometimes with friends, a regular part of my weekly routine. Not only does knowing the local used book market save me money on textbooks and research materials, but also two- or three-hours spent wandering from store to store and sifting through dusty tomes, helps with another problem that all students face: namely, that the body part on which one sits to write a dissertation seems to increase in size even faster than the page count of one's petition does.

Types of Book Bargains 

Just as cars lose most of their value when you drive them out of the dealer's lot, so books, even if they are in perfect condition, are most expensive when they ship from the publisher's warehouse on the publication date, and they quickly go down in price. Also like cars, appearance counts. The cheapest books are "reading copies," used books that are clean and unmarked inside but may be missing jackets and have scuffs on the cover and minor discolorations. When I buy books for myself, I always look in used bookshops and online for the cheapest possible reading copies.

If I am buying books as gifts, I will look for books in "excellent" or "as new" condition. Big chain bookshops sometimes have promotional discounts on new bestsellers, but I find the best deals on gift books by looking for overstocks, remainders, and hard covers that have been issued in paperback. 

If bookshops order more of a title than they can sell, they will either heavily discount the extra copies or ship the extras back to the publisher. While stores may place a small black dot with a magic marker on these books to indicate that they are overstocks, in every way that matters, they are new books. These books may have traveled back and forth to a warehouse or been put out on a display table, but they are usually in perfect condition. Many small independent booksellers in Toronto buy up these overstocks at massive discounts and sell them cheaply. I can normally take care of my entire Christmas shopping list by selecting glossy, heavily illustrated "coffee table" book overstocks. I can always find faith-oriented books for the spiritually inclined, dog books for pet enthusiasts, cookbooks for gourmets or vegetarians, how-to books for DIY'ers, or art history books for travelers.

In Toronto, used and independent bookshops cluster mainly around Bloor, Yonge, and Spadina streets. Look below for a list of Toronto's most accessible book bargains, all located conveniently close to TTC subway stations.


General Used Book Stores

ABC Book Store. 662 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4Y 2A6, Phone: 416.967.7654. TTC: Wellesley Station.

BMV Books: Downtown. 10 Edward St, Toronto, ON M5G 1C9. Phone: 416.977.3087. TTC: Dundas Station.

BMV Books: Annex. 471 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON M5S 1X9. Phone: 416.967.5757. TTC: Spadina Station.

David Mason Books. 366 Adelaide Street West, Toronto, ON M5V 1R9. Phone: 416.598.1015. TTC: King Street Station.

Eliot's Bookshop. 584 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4Y 1Z3. Phone: 416.925.0268. TTC: Wellesley Station.

She Said Boom!: Kensington Market. 372 College St., Toronto, ON M5T 1S6. Phone: 416.944.3224. TTC: Spadina Station.

She Said Boom!: Bloor West Village. 393 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto, ON M6R 2N1. Phone: 416.531.6843. TTC: Dundas West Station. 

Ten Editions Books. 698 Spadina Ave. Toronto, ON M5S 2J2. Phone: 416.964.3803. TTC: Spadina Station. 


Used Theological and Spiritual Books

Crux Books. 5a Hoskin Avenue, Toronto, ON M5S 1H7. Phone: 416.946.3535. TTC: Spadina or St. George Station.

Seekers Books. 509 Bloor Street West. Toronto, ON M5S 1Y2. Phone: 416.925.1982. TTC: Spadina or Bathurst Station.

Discounted New Books

Book City in the Annex. 501 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON M5S 1Y2, Canada. Phone: 416.961.4496. TTC: Spadina or Bathurst Station.

World's Biggest Book Store. 20 Edward Street, Toronto, ON M5G 1C9. Phone: 416.977.7009. TTC: Dundas Station.

Link to Image:

Caption: Buy books used to save money.

Name and City: Carol, Toronto


Spiritual Prayer

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.