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The World's Biggest Bookstore

The World's Biggest Bookstore is located in Toronto, Ontario, at 20 Edward St, just north of the Toronto Eaton Centre.

It is currently owned by Indigo Books and Music and was unquestionably[citation needed] the biggest bookstore in the world when first opened in 1980 in a converted bowling alley.


It was opened in 1980 by Jack and Carl Cole, former owners of Coles Bookstore.

Although it retains the name, the Guinness Book of World Records currently lists a Barnes and Noble outlet in New York City as the world's largest bookstore based on floor space, although New York's the Strand and Portland's Powell's Books are usually considered the largest based on shelf-space. Nevertheless, World's Biggest Bookstore still claims the title on the basis that it depends on how "biggest" is defined. The Barnes and Noble has more floor space, although World's Biggest Bookstore carries more titles.

The World's Biggest Bookstore was the first of the book "superstores"[citation needed], and was purchased from Coles by Chapters Inc, which itself was formed from the merger of the Coles bookstore chain and SmithBooks. Although it retains its unique name, its stock, distribution and advertising are closely integrated with the Chapters and Indigo chains.

It is noted for its bright lights, with over 20 kilometres of bookshelves.

The store made a brief appearance in the movie Short Circuit 2 when the main character, a robot named Johnny 5, enters the store and creates chaos as he reads through the books.


In the late 1990s, with customers' book shopping habits radically changing after the launch of Chapters and Indigo, the store chose to play up its "no frills" image with an advertising campaign that included the following slogans:

  • "We occasionally have soft mood lighting. But then we replaced the burnt out fluorescent tubes."
  • "Like other bookstores, we have places to sit. But why aggravate your hemorrhoids?"
  • "Books priced so low even people who don't read too good is buying them."

These self-deprecating slogans are in the style of Toronto's landmark bargain store, Honest Ed's.

External links

Coordinates: 43°39′25″N 79°22′56″W / 43.657008°N 79.382355°W / 43.657008; -79.382355



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