Cool Bookish Places: Amherstburg’s River Bookshop

Opening a new bookshop is a fraught proposition at the best of times, but opening a bookshop during a global pandemic takes passion, community pride, and a whole lot of bravery.

This weekend, River Bookshop in Amherstburg celebrated its grand opening weekend. How could a porcupette resist? Naturally I had to go!

It’s a bit of a jaunt out to the shop from my house, but the day was fine and I was further tempted by the prospect of ice cream at the nearby riverside parlour. So my friend and I climbed into the car and made for the county.

side of River Bookshop, decorated with multicoloured book mural
You certainly can’t miss the bookshop with the massive, colourful bookish mural decorating the side of the building, offering a lovely contrast with the black and white aesthetic.
facade of River Bookshop in Amherstburg
The monochromatic facade is eye-catching and stylish and neat as a pin. It somehow comes across as both modern and traditional at the same time, and I think it will definitely appeal to book lovers and Instagramers alike.
interior of River Bookshop showing tidy displays and shelves full of books
Inside, we’re treated to a small but carefully curated selection of books. If you look closely you might see a few gaps on the shelves–a hallmark of a successful opening weekend!
interior seating area of River Bookshop, with coveted rolling ladder
This cozy seating area by the fire is perfect for flipping through the pages of your potential purchases. Also note the rolling bookshelf ladder on the right. Are those bookshelf goals or what?
alcove for children's books featuring colourful fantasy mural
The children’s alcove is positively magical and set up perfectly for little readers to discover a new favourite book.
black feature wall
This bold feature wall fits nicely with the store’s aesthetic and draws attention to the colourful covers on display.
cozy chair with brick feature wall
And here’s another comfortable and functional seating area if you need to take a load off after all that book shopping.

Though I timed my pictures to avoid catching too many patrons unawares, the shop appeared to be doing a brisk business, with a steady stream of people filing in to browse the shop and purchase a book or two. The staff were friendly and clearly passionate about their work, making pleasant bookish chitchat even when they were trying to navigate the new payment system. Grace under pressure is what I’d call that!

All in all, River Bookshop is a lovely addition to the quaint town of Amherstburg, and I have no doubt it will grow into its role as a place to gather for book lovers in the community. Best of luck to the brand new indie!


I hope you enjoyed these photos of this beautiful new Essex County Bookshop. We encourage you all to explore new and established indies in your neighbourhood. Shop local and shop indie!



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The Porcupine's Quill would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts for our publishing program. The financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF) is also gratefully acknowledged.