10 Edward St, (near Yonge and Dundas)
Yup, it’s another bookstore review. We’ll be back to the traditional LCS with next week’s review, but in this round of posts, we’re going to explore comics beyond the LCS. In order to get a picture of the state of comics retailing in Toronto, we think it’s important to review a variety of venues–because comics, both literary and pop, exist outside of what we often think of as comics culture.
You know about BMV, right? It’s a small chain of stores that sell used and remaindered books, music and video (mostly DVDs although they do carry video). Today we’ll be looking at the original Edward St location, which is just a quick walk north from Yonge and Dundas. The best part of BMV is that they will buy your used everything. They buy and sell everything from philosophy, to single issues of comics, to awful Enya CDs, to John Wayne movies, and you can be sure to find a wide selection of stuff, every time you enter one of their stores. They also sell a lot of remaindered books, which means you’ll be able to find that hot read of the year, for half the price you would at Indigo/Chapters.
The Edward St location is quite small, but it’s got a few things going for it. It is, firstly, located directly next to the World’s Biggest Bookstore, making it an instant alternative for disappointed shoppers, put off by WBB’s price point. Secondly, they’ve got comics, which come on, all the points to you. BMV Edward St has a wall o’ trades, an erotica section, and a couple of tables worth of back issue bins. Its comics selection is, in other words, about the size of a small LCS, but without the racks of fresh monthly issues. Because it’s a used bookstore, selection varies. They don’t consistently carry top sellers, but a mix of stuff people got rid of, or ordered too much of. That’s not to say that BMV sells bad comics–there’s plenty of solid stuff on their shelves, as well as real gems you might not find at a superhero-oriented LCS. A big plus is that they don’t just sell comics, they also sell comics commentary and history, and art books. They have back issues of The Comics Journal and Frank Frazetta books. It’s cool.
The second best part of BMV is that because it’s a used bookstore, stuff is cheap. Your two broke girl reviewers (students, both of us) appreciate their highly discounted merchandise. Megan has been slowly acquiring the 28 Days Later trades (shut up, it’s a good story) from their various locations, often for $6.00 to $9.00 a book. These are pretty standard used trade prices, but they come with the added benefit of being able to physically browse the merchandise, and chat with staff and other shoppers about what’s new and interesting. As with WBB, the staff generally doesn’t have the kind of expertise you hope for from LCS counter monkeys. On the other hand, we got to talking with the lady behind the counter, about grandmothers gone bad, so there’s that.
Another point in BMV Edward St’s favour is that the entrance is accessible–no step–and the store is all on one level. Their setup, a mix of shelves and tables, overflowing with books, isn’t so great though, as it’s easy to knock over merchandise with your bag, or get bottlenecked in a corner with other shoppers. Wider aisles would probably be a big help in this regard. We visited the store in the evening when the store is fairly busy, but it is a bit easier to navigate in the day.
We recommend BMV Edward St to downtown bargain hunters, but it’s no replacement for a LCS.