2020 02 Apr

We made it!


Twelve days ago, I wrote a message to let you know that Octopus Books was in imminent danger. Within hours, our community responded with an incredible outpouring of support and solidarity.

To say I am surprised, overwhelmed, and full of gratitude would barely scratch the surface. March 31 has come and gone, and thanks to you, Octopus Books remains!

Your patience is deeply appreciated as we work to fulfill the great many orders we've received. I apologize if you're still waiting to hear back from us - rest assured, we will get to you.

2020 21 Mar

State of the Octopus in a COVID-19 world

Please see our latest update from April 2: We made it!

Dear friends,

Last year, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of our store. We welcomed new friends and old who share our passion for progressive ideas and activism. And as usual, we organized and participated in more than fifty events dedicated to social, racial, class, gender, disability, and environmental justice.

2019 03 Dec

GivingTuesday fundraiser by Octopus Books 2019

GivingTuesday is a global movement for giving and volunteering, taking place each year after Buy Nothing Day. As we head into the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, we encourage friends of Octopus Books to extend their thoughts to members of our community who need our support. For 2019, we've put together a list of 5 local charities whose missions are near and dear to our hearts. Please join us for a week of giving, and set these organizations up for success in 2020!

2014 07 Dec

Podcast: Clearing the Plains with James Daschuk

For a book that began as a PhD thesis, the level of success it’s achieved since last year’s release has taken many—even the author—by surprise.

2014 04 Nov

New Book with Ottawa Connections to Eco-Crimes in Borneo, Malaysia to be Launched on Tuesday, November 11th

For Immediate Release: 

(OTTAWA/Nov. 4) - An explosive new book, Money Logging: On the Trail of the Asian Timber Mafia, to be released on November 11th in Ottawa exposes the multi-million-dollar-businesses of a Malaysian despot Abdul Taib Mahmud in Canada, including his investments in a major office complex on Preston Street. The money trail leads from the rain forests of Borneo, to Ottawa, to the Ontario government and the FBI. 

2014 30 Sep

Report from Revolutionary Medicine film Screening on September 25 by Veronica Newbury

Veronica Newbury is a second-year student in the School of Journalism and Communication at Carleton University.

2014 15 Sep

To The Cloud: An Interview With Vincent Mosco

To The Cloud: An interview with Vincent Mosco

Vincent Mosco is Professor Emeritus, Queen's University, author most recently of To The Cloud: Big Data In A Turbulent World, The Digital Sublime: Myth, Power & Cyberspace, and The Political Economy of Communication, among other titles.

This is a long piece. It goes into some depth into the issues surrounding the move to "the cloud", including the implications for workers, the environment, privacy and surveillance, and culture, knowledge and power in the digital age. 

2014 22 Apr

Rest in Power, Rubin " Hurricane" Carter

The passing of Rubin Carter isn't surprising - he had been ill for a while. It's the end of an era though. A man who lived a life documented in song by Bob Dylan, in words by many including himself, and in film by Denzel Washington.  His story was a terrible miscarriage of justice. Rather than lament his passing and move on, we are taking this opportunity to write about it, and to create a list of some of the books that we recommend.

2013 04 Dec

Some things to think about when you think about where to spend your $ this holiday season

Of course we want you to shop at the Octopus.

Question is, why shop here, when you can shop anywhere - in person or online? Because:

2013 29 Nov

Today, buy nothing. Not even a book

Well there you go.

Now AC/DC rocks it right wide for Wal-Mart, in the store’s “Black Friday” ads. You can see one here, but before you go, take a guess what song it is.

Here’s a clue:

Number one with a bullet, I'm a power pack

Yes, I'm in a bang

With a gang

They've got to catch me if they want me to hang

And a Merry Christmas to you, too!

2013 04 Nov

Toronto folks! Pack the courtroom! Justice for Hassan Diab!

Please come out to show solidarity with Dr. Hassan Diab. Join us in Toronto at the Court of Appeal for Ontario, today and tomorrow, November 4 and 5, for a crucial hearing regarding Canada's unjust extradition law.

Take a stand against extradition based on secret intelligence and a single handwriting analysis report that has been discredited and condemned in Court!  

You can attend Court the whole day or come and go whenever you wish.

2013 11 Sep

New book by Maude Barlow on global water crisis solutions to be published this month

(Originally posted on the Council of Canadians website)


Media Release
September 9, 2013

2013 06 Sep


This is a public service announcement – with guitars!

How to survive the looming coursebook crush 

There are 5 things to do.

The #1 thing to do is KNOW YOUR OCTOPUS.

We have two locations: Centretown and the Glebe.

Ottawa U students go to our Centretown location at 251 Bank Street. It looks like this:

2013 02 Aug

We are Closed for the Civic Holiday!

Octopus Bookstore will be closed on Monday August 5th, 2013. We wish you a great and relaxing long-weekend!

2013 11 Jun

Staff picks for summer reading

Friends, we share below a list of staff picks for your summer reading pleasure, edification and mental ammunition. La lucha continua, as does the noble tradition of kicking up yer heels and renewing your imagination in that oldfangled device, a book.

Enjoy! - and please get in touch if you'd like to grab any of these from our humble shoppe. 

2013 30 Apr

Commit sociology. Commit learning. Commit mischief.

Last week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said it wasn’t the time to “commit sociology” when questioned about a thwarted bombing on a Via Rail train.

His comment has caused a bit of a stir. And while his use of this odd term might be mere overreach on the part of his communications handlers, it clearly belittles and demeans anyone’s attempt to actually come to grips with an issue rather than rely on pre-programmed responses based on racism and fear.

2013 17 Apr

Heal the body, heal the system: Julie Devaney's "My Leaky Body"

When she puts on the gown, she goes from being Julie, who can talk about anything, to being a patient, who is a condition.

That condition is ulcerative colitis. It kicked her ass but she kicked right back, transforming her struggle with her health – and with our health care system – into a chance for healing and transformation of both. She’s impressive, to say the least.

Julie has told her story to over 80 conferences and events across the country, from medical societies to Marxist gatherings.

2013 28 Mar

The Elliot Extravaganza and the World

Every year on April 6, Octopus Books marks the occasion of our dear Elliot’s birthday with a super sale of 30% off everything.

And every year around this time we mark 20% off all kids books.

And then of course we also have the one and only Elliot Extravaganza, a festival dedicated to celebrating Elliot and all things kid. We have story time, and cake, and every kid gets a free book. This year the Extravaganza is on Saturday, April 20.

2013 06 Mar

Who said what at the Eco Tour? With David Suzuki & Jeff Rubin

Last week we teamed up with Centretown United Church and Random House Canada to host a cozy event with David Suzuki, Jeff Rubin and over 500 of our closest friends.

It was our largest event – ever. That is, until tonight’s looming blockbuster, with Thomas King (tickets are sold out!).

The Eco Tour produced a lovely evening of discussion, passion and laughter. And then there were our speakers!

David Suzuki: environmentalist, author, broadcaster and troublemaker.

2013 26 Feb

Rainbow youth meeting today!

Octopus Books is proud to do its part to make our community more welcoming and inclusive for youth who are GLBTTQ (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Trans, Two-Spirit, and Questioning).

That's why we're attending today's meeting of the Rainbow Youth Forum, held in collaboration with the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board and the GLBTTQ Youth Service Providers Network, a network of community agencies who promote inclusive services for GLBTTQ youth. 

2013 03 Jan

Welcome 2013

Happy New Year everyone!

The Octopus wishes its friends, customers, neighbours and colleagues a Happy New Year and best wishes for 2013. May your year be full of learning, light, love and the radical transformation of society as we know it.

If not radical transformation, we’d settle for major reforms pending revolution.

If not reform, or revolution, then we’d settle for seeing the end of the Stephen Harper Government.

You get the idea.

Welcome to 2013!

2012 11 Dec

Long live Collected Works Bookstore & Coffeebar

The relentless campaign waged by Ottawa residents to rid the city of its remaining independent bookstores has claimed another victory!

2012 27 Nov

Red Wednesday - party and wish list registration event

Hey hey! HO HO HO!

For all those about to shop, keep Christmas local and progressive!

Register your Christmas book wish list with Octopus Books

Register? Wish list?

Here's how it works:

ONE. Tell us what books are on your Christmas wish list. Email us at octopus@octopusbooks.ca or call your list in at 613 233 2589.

TWO. Tell your friends. "Why, I registered at Octopus."

2012 26 Nov

What is the future for Canadian development NGOs?

Last week Octopus hosted the kind of event where you say to yourself, yeah, this is what it’s all about.

We hosted a “dialogue and debate” about Canadian development NGOs at our location at Under One Roof, inspired by the hard-hitting book, Paved With Good Intentions: Canadian development NGOs from idealism to imperialism, by Nikolas Barry-Shaw and Dru Oja Jay.

Over 80 passionate and informed people came out to participate in one of the most engaged and wide ranging discussions we’ve hosted to date.