Published April 19, 2024

Independent bookstores every bookworm should know about

Independent bookstores in Barrie and Simcoe County

Simcoe County, brimming with vibrant towns and charming villages, offers a haven not just for outdoor enthusiasts but also for bookworms. Here, independent bookstores brim with unique character, fostering a love for reading and nurturing a strong sense of community.  

So, grab your tote bag and get ready to lose yourself in these gems ...

Rivendell Books (Barrie)

A haven for used and rare book enthusiasts, Rivendell Books boasts a huge collection spanning every genre. From classic novels to new treasures, their friendly staff is always happy to help you find your next great read. 

They also offer cash and store credit for used books and, more recently, they moved their selection online so you can see what they have and order for pick up or delivery. 

“This bookstore is truly one of Barrie’s hidden gems! We’ve been fans for a long time and growing up, our kids always enjoyed shopping their amazing children’s section. Their staff are always super friendly and helpful and recent upgrades to technology means it’s easier for them to let you know if they have a book in stock!” — Noelle Kirk

Kerry's Book Store (Barrie)

Specializing in new and used books, Kerry's Book Store offers two floors of previously read and gently used books. Whether you're searching for a new bestseller or a classic favorite, Kerry's friendly staff can help you find your next literary adventure.

“Kerry's is wonderful. His prices are reasonable, and the selection is vast. Kerry knows his stock really well, and can find you just about anything. There's a reason the store has lasted so long within the ever-changing storefronts of downtown Barrie.” — Kat

Bell, Book and Candle (Barrie)

Bell, Book and Candle is well-known for their metaphysical products, such as crystals, herbs, and tarot decks. But they also have a great curated selection of books on mindfulness, spirituality, and alternative healing. 

“One of my favorite stores! Great products at great prices. Love the used book section too! All organized so you can find what you're looking for quickly, then I get to browse for other neat items in the store!!” — Dianne Desroches

The Book Re-View (Orillia)

Established in 1991, The Book Re-View is a cornerstone of Orillia's literary scene. The buy/sell store changed ownership in 2020 when David and Mary Oakley heard that the business would be closing. 

Having been patrons there for many years themselves, they saw it as a great opportunity to try something new! The store itself offers a welcoming atmosphere and massive selection of new and used books that is constantly growing. And of course, you’ll want to be sure to say “hi” to their cat’s Ember and Violet when you stop in. 

“Absolutely adore this place!! They're keeping an eye out for a trilogy I'm looking for and have donated books for charities in our community. Friendly staff, affordable books and overall amazing environment.” — Vickie Doiron

Manticore Books (Orillia)

Manticore Books offers a haven for readers of all genres. Whether you're a fan of science fiction and fantasy, crave a mystery, or yearn to lose yourself in a historical saga, Manticore Books boasts a thoughtfully curated selection to satisfy every literary taste.

Located in the heart of Orillia’s downtown, this independent community bookstore will find you whatever you are looking for, in and out of print. They even made it to BuzzFeed’s list of Canadian bookstores you have to visit

“Great local bookstore. Has a decent selection on site and can order anything and everything you need - including speciality items and even out-of-print books. It's wonderful to have a place like this in my hometown … I can’t recommend this book store enough!” — Gary Hodges

Chapter and Verse (Orillia)

Chapter and Verse is the newest addition to Orillia’s used bookstore scene. Located in Creative Nomad Studios, this pre-loved store specializes in books and music. From captivating novels to thought-provoking non-fiction, they offer something for every reader. 

“What a unique experience. The area is cozy and welcoming. The books [are] nicely organized and in excellent condition. It was self serve which I managed nicely. I will definitely be back! Thank you for creating such a welcoming place.” — Mary Morrison

Georgian Bay Books (Midland)

If you prefer a wide selection of new books, head to downtown Midland. Georgian Bay Books is an independently owned store offering a curated selection of new books for all ages.

Georgian Bay Books is also a champion for local authors. Explore a dedicated section showcasing works by talented writers from Simcoe County and discover the vibrant literary scene brewing right in your backyard. 

“My favourite bookstore. The staff are amazing. Very helpful and friendly. Wonderful selection of new books. I can spend hours in the store and I recommend it to everyone.” — Kathryn Beemer

The Reading Room Bookstore (Penetanguishene)

History buffs and literature lovers will find a haven at The Reading Room Bookstore in Penetanguishene. This small town bookshop is known for acquiring out-of-print local history books. While there, you can also explore their collection of other books, which cover a diverse selection of fiction and non-fiction to satisfy every literary craving.

“Love this book store!!! I always get my books there. Lots of books to choose from ... Very friendly and helpful service. Debbie and the other lady working there always know what books I am interested in. To me that's very personable and that is going that extra mile! I walk in and I am directed to the authors I love and given suggested authors as well. I will continue to purchase my books from The Reading Room as they always have what I am looking for and the service is impeccable!” — Joanne Legere

The Next Chapter (Alliston)

Nestled in the heart of Alliston, The Next Chapter promises a warm and inviting atmosphere for book lovers. While details online might be limited, word on the street suggests a curated selection of new and used books catering to a variety of interests. 

Whether you're a fan of classic literature, a mystery buff, or simply enjoy a good beach read, The Next Chapter is likely to have something to pique your curiosity. 

“The Next Chapter isn’t just a bookstore in downtown Alliston, it’s a journey with Frances, the owner, and the many spiritual souls who have come and gone from this shop over time… if you’re looking for a trendy read or something completely off the wall, chances are Frances will have a copy to offer you!

"You’ll find more than just books and vintage LP’s inside, you can browse the handmade jewelry and essential oils…if it heals or soothes the soul, you’ll find it here at The Next Chapter along with the warmest greeting, the friendliest smile and quite often a hug if you’re a frequent visitor!” — Kelly Martin

Read It Again New & Used Books (Collingwood)

Read It Again offers a treasure trove of pre-loved and brand new books to discover. Expect a welcoming environment perfect for browsing and unearthing hidden gems at fantastic prices.  

Their friendly staff is always happy to recommend a gripping novel or a captivating children's book, ensuring you leave with the perfect addition to your ever-growing TBR (to-be-read) pile.

“Great used bookstore with many old and new paperbacks and Hardcover books. This store has the feel of an older book shop from 1970's or '80's when big box book stores did not exist. If you are a book lover like myself, you could spend hours in this place just browsing the shelves and come out finding some treasured books you missed in your youth.” — Stephen Rudberg

Curiosity House Books (Creemore)

More than just a bookstore, Curiosity House Books in Creemore is an experience. Nestled amidst the charm of the village, this independent gem boasts a selection designed to spark your imagination and ignite a love for reading. 

Expect a diverse range of genres and a cozy atmosphere that inspires you to curl up with a good book and lose yourself in a world of words.

“A treasure in a quaint village with the fresh breath of community and continuity. For those who still love their books, I know that the destination is part of the experience. So take the time to drive to Creemore, Ontario and visit Curiosity House. You will not be disappointed and can always order the reading material you desire.” — Julie Rahier

These bookstores are more than just places to buy books; they're cultural hubs where bookworms can connect, discuss their favorite reads, and participate in author events. So next time you're in Simcoe County, skip the big chains and explore the magic of independent bookstores. You might just discover your next favorite novel, make some new bookish friends, or find a hidden gem that sparks a lifelong love of reading!

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