Spartacus Books is a nonprofit, volunteer-run bookstore and resource centre offering tools for social change, located from 1973 to 2014, on the edge of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. In 2014, forced from Hastings St. by gentrification we moved to our current location at Commercial Drive and 18th Avenue.
Spartacus Books was begun by students at Simon Fraser University in 1972 as a regular booktable: bringing ideas and information otherwise unavailable to the campus. After a year, seeing the enthusiastic reception and the need they were meeting, they rented a third floor room above a pool hall opposite Woodward’s Department Store and brought the project to Vancouver. The space was large enough for many public meetings and events as well as housing the bookstore.
Within two years we moved to our second floor location on Victory Square where for 30 years we grew to be possibly the largest radical English language bookstore anywhere, again with space for organizing and cultural events.
In 2004 the building burned to the ground, destroying everything. Because fire insurance had become unaffordable, we had nothing left but with community support we began again with thousands of donated books. After years of slow rebuilding we again can offer a wide range of new titles as well as inexpensive used books.
Through all these years we have maintained our original mandate of being progressive and non-sectarian, and always volunteer-run.
You can learn more about Spartacus’ history on Wikipedia.