Walking into Westside Stories is unlike walking into most bookstores.
Westside Stories, located at 852 King St. W., is a used bookstore that has 76 categories of books including philosophy, Canadian books, local history, art, and classics. Upon walking into the store, shoppers can notice the different organization and layout giving Westside Stories the feel of a bookstore from the 50s. Both fiction and non-fiction works are stacked on shelves vertically and horizontally. It is a smaller building, however, there are two floors of books for customers to explore.
Lyn Barlow is the owner of Westside Stories. She has only owned the store for three years but has been working at it for 17, since it was known as The Bookworm. Barlow said having a bookstore in Westdale is crucial to the community.
“There’s always been a bookstore here for the past 20-odd years,” Barlow said. “It’s a part of history. It’s all part of the community, if it wasn’t a bookstore here I think Westdale would kind of be in shock because it has been here for so many years.”
The store tends to carry more titles than chain stores, instead of having dozens of copies of the latest bestseller.
“We have 30,000 different books, not 500 repeats,” Barlow said. “We’re not telling people what to read, we’re offering them a huge selection whereas your box stores tend to be the latest.
“Here we have books that are out of print, unavailable, and we find books for people. There are always new books, new to us, coming in. But on the other score, the book could be 100 years old so we’ve always got this accessibility to things that nobody else in a box store does.”
People can come into Westside Stories with a book already in mind, looking for suggestions, or even just to browse around while chatting with Barlow and anyone who may be in the store.
“The encouragement is literacy,” Barlow said.
Find out about other must-see bookstores in Hamilton here.