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Bookstores

BMV Express

Posted by Elizabeth / Posted on April 24, 2010

BMV Express booksBMV Express recently popped up on Queen West, across the street from the CTV building in the space formerly occupied by St. Patricks convenience store, but just what exactly is a BMV Express anyway?

BMV ExpressThe shop looks like a used bookstore at the moment, with sketchy carpeting and handmade placards proclaiming various sections. Having opened only last week, it recently got some better signage to let people know that it is indeed open for business. The vinyl sign is an upgrade from the cute hand drawn cardboard sign in the window. Unlike other BMV Books locations in the city, for the time being this location is dealing explicitly in remaindered books.

BMV ExpressSome might call the choice in location crazy, being only a 1/2 a block away from the carcass of the much beloved Pages Bookstore, (still empty after losing its lease back in the fall) and another block away from a mega Chapters, but BMV owner Patrick Templeton has an ace up his sleeve as the owner of the building itself. With no worries of befalling the same fate as Pages, Templeton is setting up shop as a 6-month test run to see if having an indie bookstore in this over-commercialized, big business stretch of Queen West is viable. If everything goes well, the plans are to shut down and renovate into the second floor and turning it into a full service BMV, selling new and used books, magazines and videos.

BMV BooksBecause they're dealing primarily in remaindered books for now, not only will you find hard-to-find titles and authors here, but the prices are mindbogglingly low. For instance in the "Queen Specials" section sits a massive tome of Don Martin Mad Magazine Illustrations, marked down from $180 to only $50, or a Scorsese DVD box set for $20, regularly $50.

There is a huge selection of art books as well as shelves stocked with everything from children's lit to classics, to a wide selection of graphic novels - all at bargain prices.

BMV BooksWhile I browsed the shelves at 3pm on a weekday, I had to jockey for position amidst the throngs of people streaming in from the street which gives me the impression that this bookstore is here to stay. Indie bookstore lovers know how popular BMV's Queen Street predecessor was, and are likely rejoicing at the return of the indie bookstore to the strip. Like all business great and small, big ones like Chapters do have their place, but there is certainly something to be said for the browse-ability and like-ability of a smaller bookstore, even with the sketchy carpets.

BMV Express

Discussion

25 Comments

Mike / April 24, 2010 at 11:11 am
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I wouldn't call BMV an "indie bookstore." Like most Book City locations, it's more a bargain shop than a real bookstore.
SpaceDog / April 24, 2010 at 11:20 am
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I wandered into BMV Express right after it opened and it instantly became my favourite book store in the city.

The selection and the way the books are organized makes for a great experience. And the prices are unbelievable.

I'm going to go back for another visit this week. While I'm there I plan to get some of those cool oversized coffee table books (that I wouldn't normally buy at almost $100 bucks), for about 70% off.

I love this store and I hope it's here to stay.
KR / April 24, 2010 at 11:33 am
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I agree with the first poster - this really is more of a bargain shop than bookstore. And the second poster illustrates that perfectly - she loves it because she can get those "cool coffee table books" for 70 per cent off
Alex / April 24, 2010 at 11:34 am
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Happy to see this! Hopefully they get a better sign - if I was walking on the other side of the street, I wouldn't even notice that it was a bookstore.

SpaceDog replying to a comment from KR / April 24, 2010 at 11:49 am
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i find it interesting how cynical people can be when posting comments. true, i noted that there are great prices, but did so as a bonus. i clearly mentioned the experience first. what amazes me about BMV Express, why I keep going back, is how well curated their selection of titles is, and how efficiently organized the store is.

it is nothing at all like those bargain book stores. i'm wondering if KR and Mike have even been there ... don't judge a book by it's cover.
Elle / April 25, 2010 at 12:51 am
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All BMV chains are combination of bargain books and used books and it's a great business model I think.

Many times I've gone in wanting to get something cheap and walk out instead with some out-of-print books or rare titles. Plus they priced their used books quite reasonably compare to other used book stores (but they get snapped up quite quickly too).

I hope their new location works.
priscilla / April 25, 2010 at 10:07 am
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It's a shame that more businesses don't have enough pride to create a proper sign. Hire a local artist to paint something interesting. There is nothing worse than the ugliness of this throwaway piece of plastic. You may only be there for six months but add something to the neighbourhood streetscape instead of taking away.
Elizabeth / April 26, 2010 at 05:02 am
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BMV is a great store - you almost always find something to take home. Hopefully this location makes it!
Alexis / April 26, 2010 at 09:23 am
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Interesting to find out that Mr. Tempelton owns the space, as I was very sad to see the St. Pats clan have to pack it in. Working in the area means that I grew quite close to the individuals involved with St. Patricks Grocery. It was a lovely family-run operation, and I have made it my personal quest to never go into this BMV.
Mr. Templeton - a job well done at wrecking a whole families livelihood for your latest "experiment".
M-PC / April 26, 2010 at 10:27 am
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oh please please please let this happen.
Ben / April 26, 2010 at 01:23 pm
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I'm with Alexis.. In your face Mr. Tempelton! We want St. Pats back! I will give my money to the bigger box store in this situation.

J.J. - St. Pat's FAN! / April 26, 2010 at 01:29 pm
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I COMPLETELY AGREE is "Alexis". for many years, i have worked in this area and loved to get both breakfast and lunch from the kind family-run "St. Patricks" grocery. Upon hearing the news, that the family who had kept shop there for 25 years, was given notice that the rent was going to be "largely" increased....to say the least, myself and 100 other co-workers were devastated.

i would rather go to a big box store, and pay double, then go into BMV books. opening this store is one of the worst idea's i've heard besides that time that britney spears shaved her head.

may god have mercy on your soul.

missing st pat's / April 26, 2010 at 02:54 pm
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I agree with JJ and Alexis -I will boycott this store and Patrick Templeton forever for forcing out a successful, established, family-owned business and will not be shy about spreading the word about the shady origins of BMV books.

Those who live and work in the area knew the family who operated St Pat's quite well and heard all their stories about how callously and disrespectfully they were treated by Mr Templeton and his people. I'll confirm the above story about the impossible to afford rent increase, and it was given to them with essentially no notice.

Patrick Templeton, you are an asshole. I hope your business fails miserably. Karma is a bitch, and I hope it hits you hard.

I'd rather shop at Chapters. For real.
Chicken Club / April 26, 2010 at 04:19 pm
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I wonder if BMV has a book on where I can find a halfway decent club sandwich around here now that they've forced out St. Patrick's Grocery. Shameful.
gabe / April 27, 2010 at 08:09 am
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Welcome BMV. Welcome. Educate the area with BOOKS for those that want to read!!!! We don't need another convience store!!!
Loïc replying to a comment from missing st pat's / April 27, 2010 at 11:32 am
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so much venom spewed in Mr. Templeton's direction because of what? he took over a lease from a convenience store that faltered and closed shop? people please, its all about location and obviously St-Patrick's couldnt afford the lease any longer by selling smokes a dollar cans of sodas.
The Lam / April 27, 2010 at 09:06 pm
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I hope it works out for them. I was surprised to see the store when I was down there a week ago.
Elle / April 28, 2010 at 06:23 am
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I don't want to judge Mr. Templeton action so quickly...

Does anyone know how much rent St. Pat's was paying before the sudden increase? Was it commensurate to what other stores are paying in the neighbourhood. If the increase is way more than the market level, then maybe we could made the argument that Templeton is a meanie.

Plus we're forgetting that a Shopper's Drug Mart is going to open just down the street. How would that affect St. Pat if they stayed on?
bigbog / April 28, 2010 at 03:41 pm
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I hope the landlord of the old Pages space is reeling from not having tenants for almost half a year. Pages should have never closed it was one of the best bookstores in the city and would have been happy to continue paying rent should the landlord not have gotten so greedy.
le / April 29, 2010 at 09:09 pm
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Sad to see St. Pat's grocer go, but all for independent retailers (and now BMV Books) holding strong on the gentrified street that Queen West has become.
Jonathon Moxon / June 6, 2010 at 05:11 pm
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Love me some remaindered books. Hope the staff at this location is a little less surly.
Allan Smith / October 5, 2010 at 02:57 pm
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Im looking for Enterprises of Robt Hamilton by Bruce Wilson
Sarah replying to a comment from priscilla / December 31, 2010 at 12:04 pm
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Get over it.
Sherry G.ZHU / February 26, 2012 at 12:45 pm
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I'm looking forward to some books about Physics theory.Maybe Herzberg,Gerhard's is the better one which I need.
Used is ok.
Marisa / June 5, 2013 at 10:54 am
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The chef of this bookstore is my uncle! He`s german, I live in Germany.

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