April 27th is Canadian Independent Bookstore Day, a call for communities to support local Canadian businesses by visiting their local booksellers in person. This year, to celebrate, there will be coordinated efforts by over 300 bookstores across the country, to host special events, giveaways, exclusive products, discounts, and much more. 

Independent bookstores (often called indies) are pillars for local communities. As local hubs for culture and art, these stores do great work hosting author events, promoting local artists, and creating inclusive spaces where they can thoughtfully create content that reflects their communities, perspectives, and tastes.

Independent bookstores have done incredible work to build, sustain, and grow Canada’s literary ecosystem. While, of course, anyone can buy a book online, it’s the experience in indies that makes people keep coming back, that helps them develop connections with their community, and their local booksellers. By visiting, or purchasing from your local independent bookstore, you are advocating for independent businesses, and investing in art, culture, and communities in a way you can’t get from online retailers.

If you’re not familiar with the stores closest to where you are, you can use the new tool at  IndieBookstores.ca, to input your postal code, and find the bookstores closest to you. From April 27th-28th, The Canadian Independent Booksellers Association is also hosting a contest for five lucky people to win gift cards to their favourite independent bookseller. The grand prize is $1000, and the four runner-ups will receive $200.

To mark Canadian Independent Bookstore Day, we interviewed booksellers from four of Toronto’s most beloved independent bookstores, to ask them for book recommendations, and to learn about why they love what they do.


Nellwyn Lampert (She/Her), Bookseller

What’s your favourite thing about working at a bookstore? 

I love connecting with everyone in our community and finding the right book for the right reader. It’s wonderful to see kids and teens get excited about a book. Whether they’re a reluctant reader or haven’t seen themselves represented in literature before, getting kids interested in reading and curious about learning is very special.

What’s your favourite book right now? 

I just finished reading Babel by R.F. Kuang and I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s historical fiction with a dash of fantasy, and I fell in love with the characters. My favourite books are always ones that combine compelling storytelling with thought-provoking themes and ideas, and Babel does that excellently.

Anjula Gogia (She/Her), Retail Manager and Events Coordinator

What’s your favourite thing about working at a bookstore? 

Too many to count! Putting awesome books into people’s hands on a daily basis; organizing events that bring various communities together; working in a space dedicated to social justice!

What’s your favourite book right now? 

I loved Black Boys Like Me: Confrontations with Race, Identity and Belonging by Matthew R. Morris, and I just finished Outcaste by Sheila James and loved it!


Jessica Kasiama (She/Her), Bookseller + Events Coordinator (Type Junction) 

What’s your favourite thing about working at a bookstore? 

I love hearing about the reading lives of customers and coworkers. These conversations and interactions, although sometimes fleeting, feel like being given a snapshot of a life. At our Junction location, our bookselling team runs a Substack called The Juncture, which has given us a place to interview our favourite authors and regular customers, as well as share monthly reflections on what we’re reading and discovering in our own lives. It’s been nice to archive a little bit of that magic.

What’s your favourite book right now?
The 15th-anniversary edition of Zong! by M. NourbeSe Philip, published last year by Invisible Publishing, is my favourite book to recommend these days. In this book-length poem, Philip recounts the mass murder of over a hundred enslaved Africans who were insured as cargo and subsequently thrown overboard by the crew of the British slave ship, Zong in 1781. Heart-wrenching but so sensitively rendered, this book exemplifies how art can help transmute grief, especially when bringing buried histories to the surface of our collective memory. 

Claire Foster (She/Her), General Manager + Events Coordinator (Queen W. Store)

What’s your favourite thing about working in a bookstore? 

My proximity to books and to people who care about them. The shelves of Type Books are my preferred landscape. And because I hold more than one favourite —in the same way I frequently hold more than one book at a time — I’d also like to note my high esteem for public, bookstore-hosted literary events, which I’m fortunate enough to program for our Queen West store (and online!). 

What’s your favourite book right now? 

This spring I’ve been very excited to sell and share a book called The Beauty of Light. This book is made of interviews with Etel Adnan, conducted by Laure Adler in 2021, just before Adnan’s death. I think about Type Books when I underline the sentence, spoken by Adnan: “I’m very sensitive to the role of objects in our lives, to the importance of this collaboration.” Nothing feels more important to me than the collaboration that happens between a person and a new book. The book is changed by its movement in your tote bag, and you are changed by carrying it around. 


L to R: Faith D. (She/Her), Bookseller (Queen Books); Pauline N. (They/Them), Social Media and Special Projects Coordinator

What’s your favourite thing about working in a bookstore?  

Faith: My favourite thing about working at a bookstore is seeing all the young readers who come in and get excited about books – It’s so heartwarming!

Pauline: I love talking to fellow book lovers, both in terms of store visitors and colleagues! I’ve had so many delightful conversations in our space about books. The ones we love; The ones we enjoyed but are difficult to recommend (lots of weird novels haha); And the ones that made us cry.

What’s your favourite book right now? 

Faith: My favourite book that I’ve read this year is Piranesi by Susanna Clarke. Clarke does a wonderful job of crafting a very endearing protagonist and a mysterious world that will leave readers on the edge of their seats as the answers to all of their questions start to reveal themselves. 

Pauline: So far I’ve been recommending Kaveh Akbar’s Martyr! (yes, with an exclamation mark), which came out earlier this year. I recommend this to readers looking for something tender yet humorous in its consideration of mortality as well as to those who are into queer lit. I also recently finished Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield and it’s a gorgeously written meditation on grief, love, and deep sea biology that oscillates between the perspectives of both women in a marriage.


Photo by Lisa Naftolin

Martha (She/Her), Owner/ Publisher (Flying Books), along with Flying Books’ authors Marlowe, Anna and Tomas 

What’s your favourite thing about working in a bookstore?  

Our customers! We have such brilliant, supportive, well-read customers. They inspire me to find ways to make the store meet their reading needs.

What’s your favourite book right now? 

I highly recommend the three books we have published so far — the intoxicating and charming Happy Hour, by Marlowe Granados; The ‘thinky’ and spicy Good Girl, by Anna Fitzpatrick; And the romantic and eerily in tune with our times City in Flames, by Tomas Hachard.

Sarah (She/Her), Retail Consultant & Bookseller

What’s your favourite thing about working in a bookstore?  

I love solving operational issues, but I also love working with customers looking for recommendations to fit diverse reading tastes.

What’s your favourite book right now?

I can’t stop recommending Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin. I’m not into gaming and wasn’t sure it would be for me but absolutely devoured it — it’s epic in scope, following a complicated friendship over decades. It’s about creativity, love, and grief, and it’s absolutely beautifully written.

Ameema Saeed (@ameemabackwards) is a storyteller, a Capricorn, an avid bookworm, and a curator of very specific playlists and customized book recommendations. She’s a book reviewer, a Sensitivity Reader, a book buyer at Indigo Books & Music, and the Books Editor for She Does the City, where she writes and curates bookish content, and book recommendations. She enjoys bad puns, good food, dancing, and talking about feelings. She writes about books, big feelings, unruly bodies, and her lived experiences, and hopes to write your next favourite book one day. When she’s not reading books, she likes to talk about books (especially diverse books, and books by diverse authors) on her bookstagram: @ReadWithMeemz