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Bookstores

NDJ Books

Posted by Roman Kliotzkin / Posted on November 2, 2008

NDJ BookstoreDespite declining in numbers during the recent 10 years, the used bookstore is still a Toronto staple. The uniqueness of each store is what keeps customers coming back to their favourite - whether it's the selection of books, the feel of the store, or the staff.

In the case of NDJ Books, it's most definitely the latter. Located at 504 Yonge Street, between College and Wellesley, the store is always staffed by the owner and operator - Nebojsa Knezic, who makes every customer feel like a long-lost friend.

No matter what I'm looking for when I visit, Nebojsa will spring from the cashier seat to scour the overflowing shelves of the one-room store, or failing to find anything, the dangerously crowded storage space in the back - complete with a bookcase that acts as a rotating wall. And when I have thirty (or a lot more) minutes of spare time, I talk with him on a range of subjects, from philosophy to politics to soccer. That, for me, is what makes the store a pleasure to be in.

NDJ Books Toronto

A recent conversation started when I asked for a copy of "Molto Italiano", Mario Batali's cookbook. While Nebojsa couldn't find it, he let me into the chaotic storage area to look for it myself, after which point I forgot about my book and spent the next hour listening to him talk about life.

Mr Knezic left Sarajevo with his family to find peace in Toronto, which he praises as a vibrant multicultural city with little overt racism. As a journalist and a writer, his options in Canada were limited - as he put it "...as an immigrant, you can open a pizza store, a dollar store, or drive a cab". He chose to put his money into a bookstore, as that was a natural extension of his love of literature and the written word - and for 11 years, NDJ Books has survived the domination of the Chapters-Indigo behemoth and the rise of the online retailers.

NDJ Toronto

Mr Knezic laments the closure of the many bookstores that used to be a more common feature of Toronto's streets, but he is hopeful that his knowledge of almost all subjects will keep NDJ Books going for many years more.

Although I did not leave with "Molto Italiano", I did buy a copy of "Balkan Ghosts", Robert D. Kaplan's travelogue of the Balkans. It seemed appropriate, and I will definitely be back soon and chat with Nebojsa again.

NDJ Books
NDJ Used Books

Discussion

31 Comments

/ November 3, 2008 at 04:35 am
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I thought it was called "Elliot's"?
/ November 3, 2008 at 04:35 am
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I thought it was called "Elliot's"?
Gallucci / November 3, 2008 at 06:30 am
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I love this store... I had a long talk with Mr Knezic about physics, William S. Burroughs, writing, getting published, Phillip K Dick, and about a dozen other topics in a winding, verbal adventure... I should go back this week
matts / November 3, 2008 at 03:25 pm
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Elliot's is further up Yonge; also a very good store.
anon / November 3, 2008 at 10:40 pm
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He is also very up on occult knowledge. If you are looking for a special title, ask him as it may not be on display.
AT / November 9, 2008 at 11:55 pm
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The "chaotic storage area" is scary. I went back there with a boyfriend once after being invited to look around. It's not for the claustrophobic. He told us about his "girls", although we couldn't figure out what relationship they were to him.

Unfortunately I've learned that some of the books he sells are cheaper online and that brings up a quandary: Buy the cheaper one or support the guy who owns the indie store and works long hours there alone.
/ November 11, 2008 at 06:15 am
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For many years now, this has been one of my favorite used bookstores in Toronto and I have spent many hours looking around and talking with the owner about books and life.

I'm not really sure what "girls" your talking about. The only two girls I have ever heard him talk about are his daughter and wife. So I guess there is nothing left for you to figure out. Your comments are very bizarre.

One more thing...as you can see in the above picture the storage area is tight and cozy, reminds of old European style bookstores. If you didn't appreciate his generosity to allow you a peek, next time try Chapters, its less "chaotic".
/ December 30, 2008 at 11:55 pm
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I've been a customer for a long time at NDJ's.
I like to talk to owner.He's very knowledgeable.He also recommended me a few good authors and titles that I still enjoy.
Unfortunately,bookstores like this are disappearing and they are very scarce in town.
I'm very surprised about your comment about some "girls".It's more then bizarre.
I'm not sure why he let you in to the storage area?!
You have to be looking for something else,perhaps something like this...
http://intelligenttravel.typepad.com/it/2007/12/rolfs-very-subj.html

Not books for sure.

Regards
Anthony / January 10, 2009 at 03:22 pm
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I've been visiting NDJ since it opened ten years ago. It's a great place to pick upbooks on Philosophy especially. Nebo always spins out a good tale to pass the time. I highly recommend that all visit him, and so keep the second hand bookshops a part of Toronto.
Kirk / March 6, 2009 at 07:36 pm
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One thing you can't get at the giant retailers are rare and out of print titles. Fortunately, used bookstores are virtually overflowing with these. The last time I was at NDJ I found a yellowed copy of a late 1960s screed on technology that had a section listing 100 predictions for the year 2000 (only three of which, by my count, have ever come to fruition). Then there's the philosophy section, which is a universe unto itself. And as always, there is conversation available on everything from politics to cosmology.

Nebojsa's journey from Sarajevo to Toronto was related to me in stories and anecdotes over the course of my many visits to the store. He is a writer, a book lover, a tenacious entrepreneur and a fascinating person. I still remember my first purchase back in 1998 - a volume on classical philosophy - and each time I return to NDJ my reading list gets a bit longer.

manuel a brizuela / March 26, 2009 at 10:09 am
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This is a great place to find books, specially philosophy . excellent place to talk with Nebo about life , Toronto, books, I am visiting this store many years and always find very good books very good prices, and very nice welcome. i hope you will be there many years, . manuel.

Jess / May 27, 2009 at 07:15 pm
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What an amazing store! Traveling from Kitchener, I looked out of my hotel window and saw the store, googled it and saw this website, and headed on out for a fantastic hour or so's browsing. A lot of amazing titles, and the owner is SO friendly. He showed me the back room, and I would LOVE to be able to spend more time in there. I was looking for a particular title which he didn't have, and still managed to spend some money with some treasures I hadn't realised I wanted! :)

A treasure in it's own right.
Oracle of The First Sun ~ Sungirl / September 4, 2009 at 11:27 am
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Incunabula! An interdimensional nexus in spacetime. At first ~ you may not find what you are looking for ~ you will find what you should be looking for ~ what you have foregotten, to Remember. Be sure to take a lunch and lots of money. Preferably other people's money. Seek. The proprietor is your guide. This vault in time, an arboreal archive filled with volumes of encoded solar energy, place holders for low entropy; (is) beyond earthly fiat value. As your gaze passes through the leaves, your cortex is quantum entangled with the thoughts and realizations of others who have held these streams of intercourse with other minds before you. Seek and surely ye shall find. Ask and surely ye shall receive. No possibility is too small to be a possibility. Treasures await. Bring your dreams. With Nabo, all things are possible. May the Sun be with you!
Patrick / May 21, 2010 at 10:49 pm
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I have been a frequent customer at NDJ's for over 10 years. I live all the way in Markham, but I still find the time to visit Nebo's store. His book store has a great selection of books with great prices. And most importantly, Nebo treats his customers with respect and he is like a true friend that has known you for years. I recently picked up a few books from him and I will be back to pick up some more soon! I highly recommend NDJ to anyone that is a book lover.
Anna / August 1, 2010 at 04:07 pm
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I'd like to express my appreciation for all,thank You Nebo!
I miss Toronto already, and,,,,,good book!
RankoBL / November 3, 2010 at 02:22 am
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KNEZIC ( MILE ) NEBOJSA, 1952. - SARAJEVO/BOSNIA...!

( Member of UDBA, well known ex Yugoslav ( comunist ) secret service. Yugoslav KGB. )
Now - Canadian Citizen !

( Photo above: http://www.blogto.com/listings/bookstores/upload/2008/11/20081102-ndg5.jpg )

http://rodoslovlje.blog.hr/2007/06/1622806541/popis-cuvara-jugoslavije.html
.....
KHATTAB (AHMEDA) ISMAIL, 1947. – EL FASKIR/SUDAN – »KAKTUS«
KIJAC (ILIJE) BOŽO, 1951. - MOSTAR – »LOGOS«
KLANCO (MEHE) HAMZO, 1945. – ŽEPČE – »ALADIN«
KLARIĆ (IVANA) MATO, 1936. – RITEŠIĆ/DOBOJ – »KRUNO«
KNEZIĆ (LUKE) BORIVOJE, 1908. – MOSTAR – »ASHKELON«
KNEZIĆ (MILE) NEBOJŠA, 1952. – SARAJEVO – »FILOZOF«
KNEZOVIĆ (MIJE) TOMISLAV, 1928. – MOSTAR – »SVETO«
KNEŽEVIĆ (AUGUSTINA) IVICA, 1945. – CEROVAC/TEŠANJ – »ORHAN«
KNEŽEVIĆ (JAKOVA) ILIJA, 1945. – BORČANI/TOMISLAVGRAD – »PAJO«
KNEŽEVIĆ (PEJE) JASMINKA, 1957. – DRIJENČA/LOPARE – »ZORAN«
KNEŽIĆ (RISTE) MIHAJLO, 1949. – ŠEMENO/KUPRES – »ŠERBO«
KODET WALTER, 1914. – GRAZ/AUSTRIJA – »OBREN« ... Etc. etc.

ATTENTION CANADA ! ATTENTION !!
Mark S / December 14, 2010 at 11:53 am
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I just discovered NBJ this week, as a random walk-in. Not only was it a goldmine for rare graphic design and architecture books, but Nebo was extremely pleasant to talk to. We ended up chatting for an hour about the importance of life passions and investing in your craft (especially as a student). He allowed me to respectfully barter for my stack of books, and ended up giving me an extremely good deal. NBJ's is my new favorite bookstore.
Observer - Zvor Nik replying to a comment from RankoBL / January 29, 2011 at 10:29 pm
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Yes. It's true! NEBOJSA NEBO KNEŽIĆ was the Yugoslav secret service agent. ( Spy ! )
( In The repressive communist system in Sarajevo - Bosnia. )
He was specialized in working against the Serbian political dissidents in repressive communist system. SHAME ON HIM !
james dubro / February 21, 2011 at 04:42 pm
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Hi Roman

Did you check out these Yougoslav secret police accusations against Nebo? It is quite damning to have online not true.

cheers..james dubro,
james dubro / February 21, 2011 at 04:44 pm
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Hi Roamn

Did you check out these accusations against Nebo?? That he wa a member of the secret police in charge of political dissenters?

Serious charges!!

cheers..james dubro
Zvor Nik replying to a comment from james dubro / February 24, 2011 at 09:52 am
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Yes ! It's true ! ( Istina, istina...!! )

http://www.ravnogorskipokret.com/index.php?option=com_kunena&;Itemid=2&func=view&catid=5&id=54

Look up - there - on The List!

....
KNEZIĆ (LUKE) BORIVOJE, 1908. – MOSTAR – »ASHKELON«
KNEZIĆ (MILE) NEBOJŠA, 1952. – SARAJEVO – »FILOZOF«
KNEZOVIĆ (MIJE) TOMISLAV, 1928. – MOSTAR – »SVETO«
....
Zvor Nik replying to a comment from Oracle of The First Sun ~ Sungirl / February 27, 2011 at 08:48 am
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http://www.ravnogorskipokret.com/index.php?option=com_kunena&;Itemid=2&func=view&catid=5&id=54

KHATTAB (AHMEDA) ISMAIL, 1947. – EL FASKIR/SUDAN – »KAKTUS«
KIJAC (ILIJE) BOŽO, 1951. - MOSTAR – »LOGOS«
KLANCO (MEHE) HAMZO, 1945. – ŽEPČE – »ALADIN«
KLARIĆ (IVANA) MATO, 1936. – RITEŠIĆ/DOBOJ – »KRUNO«
KNEZIĆ (LUKE) BORIVOJE, 1908. – MOSTAR – »ASHKELON«
KNEZIĆ (MILE) NEBOJŠA, 1952. SARAJEVO – »FILOZOF«
KNEZOVIĆ (MIJE) TOMISLAV, 1928. – MOSTAR – »SVETO«
KNEŽEVIĆ (AUGUSTINA) IVICA, 1945. – CEROVAC/TEŠANJ – »ORHAN«
KNEŽEVIĆ (JAKOVA) ILIJA, 1945. – BORČANI/TOMISLAVGRAD – »PAJO«
KNEŽEVIĆ (PEJE) JASMINKA, 1957. – DRIJENČA/LOPARE – »ZORAN«
KNEŽIĆ (RISTE) MIHAJLO, 1949. – ŠEMENO/KUPRES – »ŠERBO«
KODET WALTER, 1914. – GRAZ/AUSTRIJA – »OBREN« ... Etc. etc.

( KNEZIĆ ( MILE ) NEBOJŠA... = NEBO - NDJ Books ! )

This is a list of the Yugoslav communist secret agents!
Spy list! They were against their people, against God!
They were Judas! For little money!

http://www.ravnogorskipokret.com/index.php?option=com_kunena&;Itemid=2&func=view&catid=5&id=54
isabela / March 7, 2011 at 07:15 am
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Nebo,Iam making spaghetti, bolognese, in one hand big wooden spoon in other, your book People who Die Twice a Day. Miss You.
Hope to see You soon!
Hmmm,,,smell nice,,,and now I im going to have one glas of your Russian votka,lonely!
Zvor NiK / March 11, 2011 at 08:08 pm
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Na web-stranici "Ravnogorskog Pokreta" ( pod slovom "K" ) piše:
KNEZIĆ (MILE) NEBOJŠA, 1952. SARAJEVO – »FILOZOF« ( NEBO )

Vidi link: http://www.ravnogorskipokret.com/index.php?option=com_kunena&;Itemid=2&func=view&catid=5&id=54

Da se zna ! Da se zna !!
Autumn Ladouceur / March 21, 2011 at 11:07 am
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NDJ is amazing. It's an adventure trying to find what you want and you always come out with something interesting.
residenteagle / March 28, 2011 at 04:00 pm
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I have been reading these remarks about Nebo with regard to being a "spy", "seceret agent", that he was responsbile for dealing with political dissesion etc..

I have known Nebo for many years now and have shared many conversations with him on a variety topics including politics (both practical and philisophical) and find it hard to beleive the accusations being levied against him.

I have checked out the websites provided as evidence but unfortunatly they are not in english and therefore I am unable to read them.

With this said I would ask the following from Nebo's accusors:

1. Can you provide this apparent damning information in English?

2. Can you confirm how common the name cited on the list as being Nebo The BookSeller is in the culture (i.e., if you show a list with the name John Smith on it that proves nothing about any John Smith in particular as there are numerous John Smiths)

3. If these claims are indeed true why is it that the accusations are being posted on a website that is dedicated to Toronto stores and experiences and not being reported and investigated by any number of Canadian or international bodies?

These are VERY serious accusations and if they are true then no one would argue that something should be done but as it stands the only evidence being provided is that of a name on a list.

Zvor Nik / March 29, 2011 at 07:39 pm
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KNEZIĆ (MILE) NEBOJŠA, 1952. SARAJEVO – »FILOZOF«
( NEBO - NDJ Books )

Answers to your questions, you can find here:

http://www.ravnogorskipokret.com/index.php?option=com_kunena&;Itemid=2&func=view&catid=5&id=54

They know everything. They know the English language.
His father ( MILE ) was a colonel of the Yugoslav (Communist) Police!

Ask some translater for help:
Nebojsa ( Nebo ) je studirao na filozofskom fakultetu u Sarajevu. Odatle potječe njegovo kodno ime ( nick name ) "FILOZOF". Nakon što je njegov otac umro, pod "cudnim okolnostima", tajne sluzbe komunistickog rezima su vrbovale i njega ( Nebojsu ) da radi za njih. Za uzvrat su ga oslobodili od velikoga broja krivicnih djela kradje, zbog kojih je jednom vec bio osudjen. Kaznu je odlezao u KPD Zenica. ( Pocetkom sedamdesetih godina. )



Zvor Nik / March 29, 2011 at 07:51 pm
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Nebojsa ( Nebo ) Knezić pise za ove srpske novine:

http://www.kisobran.com/

http://www.kisobran.com/arhiva/2010/jun/pdf/knezic.pdf

Attention, attention ...! Be careful and vigilant!
Once a secret agent, always a secret agent!
Once a spy, always a spy!
Fenton S. Lo replying to a comment from / September 24, 2011 at 11:24 pm
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Eliot's is a different store, north of Wellesley.
Brigitte / October 9, 2011 at 03:10 pm
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Nebojsa, j'adore lire les livres que vous avec écrits autant que j'adore visiter votre librairie à Toronto, amalgame de textes portant sur une très grande diversité de genres mais toujours choisis avec le goût d'un vrai connaisseur de livres. En tant qu'étudiante en littératures, j'apprécie la valeur de votre collection, l'ambiance intime de votre venu et surtout vos opinions et suggestions, spécifiques à chaque client et toujours nés de votre enthousiasme sincère pour le mot écrit. J'espère avoir bientôt l'occasion de vous revoir et de causer avec vous parmi vos livres.



Patrick Monaghan / July 5, 2012 at 11:16 pm
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Nebojsa! I can't believe our paths crossed once more. Do you remember the days and nights in Montmartre when we chased after the French women and the wine flowed like water?
Life was carefree then, and I miss the days of wandering, drunk, along the Champs D'Elysees, and nearly falling down the stairs of the Eiffel Tower.

I am glad you survived the war, old friend, and we shall meet up again soon.

Vive La France!

Patrick

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