Russell Books

Coordinates: 48°25′28″N 123°21′50″W / 48.424367°N 123.364022°W / 48.424367; -123.364022
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Russell Books
FoundedMontreal, Quebec (1962)
Headquarters747 Fort Street
Victoria, British Columbia
V8W 3E9
Key people
Reg Russell (founder)
Diana DePol
Ronald DePol
Andrea Minter (manager)
Jordan Minter (manager)
Chad DePol
Number of employees
WebsiteOfficial website

Russell Books is an independent bookstore in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.[1] A family-owned business still owned and operated by the children and grandchildren of its founder, it has been labelled as the largest used bookstore in Canada.[2]


Russell Books was founded in 1962 by Reg Russell in Montreal.[3] Originally launched as The Book Nook, the store became Russell Books in 1983.[4]

In 1991, Russell helped open a Victoria branch with his daughter Diana and her husband Ron DePol.[5] The store is currently managed by Reg Russell's granddaughter Andrea Minter and her husband Jordan Minter.

The Montreal store remained in operation until 1999, when its location was expropriated for the expansion of the Palais des congrès de Montréal; Reg Russell then launched the smaller Diamond Books store in another location, and operated it until selling it upon his retirement in 2004.[6] Upon his retirement, Russell's antiquarian book collection was shipped to his daughter's Victoria store, while most of the store's regular stock remained with its new owners.[6] A scene in the 1999 film The Bone Collector was shot in the Montreal store before its closure.[7]

In 1996, Russell Books became one of the first independent bookstores in the world to place its inventory on AbeBooks.[7]

In 2005, Diana's son Brandon and his wife Charlene helped start up another store, Books on View, as a division of Russell Books, in the Sayward Building at the corner of View and Douglas Streets.[5]

The Victoria store expanded its space several times, taking over the upstairs floor of an adjoining building in 2008[8] and taking over the neighbouring Fort Café in 2013.[9] In 2019 the store moved across the street to a new larger location with 10,000 square feet on the main floor and 8,000 square feet below.[10] This move required employees to manually move over half a million books.[11] Because of the main store's expanded space, Books on View was concurrently shut down.[12]

Prior to the move, Russell Books claimed to be the largest independent used bookseller in Canada,[13] with their locations containing over 1 million volumes. They hoped the new location would allow them to increase their inventory to 1.25 million volumes.[10]

Guinness World Records[edit]

On November 14, 2019, as an event promoting their new location, the bookstore set a new world record for the number of stacked Guinness World Records books.[14]


It has been rated as one of the best bookstores in Victoria, British Columbia in LSE Review of Books, published by London School of Economics.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Matt Humphrey, "Page-turning turnover: Huge demand spurs Victoria book store to move to larger location". CBC News British Columbia, August 14, 2019.
  2. ^ "Russell Books on Fort Street a family affair". Victoria News, January 2, 2008.
  3. ^ Ian Mayer, "Bookstore fare includes cut-rate best-sellers and rare first editions". Montreal Gazette, July 13, 1985.
  4. ^ A. Lawrence Healey, "His Montreal store held almost a square kilometre of used books: Dean of the city's English-language antiquarian booksellers believed in high volume and low prices". The Globe and Mail, May 30, 2007.
  5. ^ a b Alan Hustak, "Montreal icon had Victoria connections". Victoria Times-Colonist, March 10, 2007.
  6. ^ a b Pat Donnelly, "It's the end of an era for local bibliophiles". Montreal Gazette, August 21, 2004.
  7. ^ a b Carla Wilson, "Russell Books a fixture in downtown Victoria". Vancouver Sun, March 22, 2006.
  8. ^ Darron Kloster, "Canada's largest used-book seller expands Victoria shop; Russell Books downtown location adds 3,000 square feet of space". Vancouver Sun, October 3, 2008.
  9. ^ Darron Kloster, "Russell Books expands again; Canada's biggest used bookstore stretches to 16,000 square feet". Victoria Times-Colonist, February 23, 2013.
  10. ^ a b Wilson, Carla (June 7, 2019). "Russell Books to move, expand downtown". Times Colonist. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
  11. ^ Crescenzi, Nicole (December 12, 2019). "Victoria book store begins challenge of moving 500,000 books". Victoria News. Retrieved August 20, 2019.
  12. ^ Richard Watts, "Russell begins march of a million books". Times Colonist, August 16, 2019.
  13. ^ Kloster, Darron (February 23, 2013). "Victoria's Russell Books carves out success and expansion amid troubles of other retailers". Times Colonist. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
  14. ^ "Victoria bookshop lands in the record books". CTV News Vancouver Island. November 15, 2019. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
  15. ^ Tiffany Chan (March 12, 2018). "The Best Bookshops in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada". LSE Review of Books. Retrieved December 12, 2019.

48°25′28″N 123°21′50″W / 48.424367°N 123.364022°W / 48.424367; -123.364022