The Paperback Bookshop, 60 Bourke St, Melbourne +61 3 96621396
Paperback has been championing the independent book scene since the 1960s, and is subsequently one of Melbourne’s most iconic bookstores. Originally offering hard-to-find paperback editions, the store has since increased its charter, and specializes in Australian non-fiction, as well as a good selection of both local and international books. Open late, they’re an insomniac’s best friend.
Metropolis Bookshop, Level 3 Curtin House, 252 Swanston Street, Melbourne +61 3 9663 2015
This space is airy with a jaw-dropping selection of specialist books, including pop-culture, fashion, textiles, photography, architecture and graphic design tomes, as well as magazines and music, too. The staff are friendly and happy to let you browse as long as you like.
Brunswick Street Bookstore, 305 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne +61 3 9416 1030
Open from 10am to 11pm everyday of the week. In 2003, the light-filled first floor opened, allowing a significant increasing their art, design and architecture section. The range of books is fantastic, as well as their selection of local and international magazines. A great spot to calm your nerves while you wait for that dinner date.
Coventry Bookstore, 265 Coventry Street, South Melbourne +61 3 9686 8200
The staff here are lovely and the space has a warm, friendly feeling, filled with a fantastic range of design and interiors books. Voted by TimeOut Melbourne as one of the city’s best independent bookstores, they stock fiction, non-fiction, design, food and children’s titles.
The Avenue Bookstore, 127 Dundas Place, Albert Park +61 3 9690 2227
With one of the best selections of any bookstore in Melbourne, beware: you can easily lose a day in here browsing the feasts upon the shelves. Check out the new-ish section up the back devoted entirely to art and design books. They also offer a great selection of kids books, magazines, and beautiful cards.
Perimeter, 748 High Street, Thornbury +61 3 9484 8101
Perimeter is a small bookstore and art space which stocks a curated selection of local and international small press, art, photography, architecture and design publications, as well as exhibiting contemporary artists interested in the printed form. Run by arts columnist Dan Rule and Justin Ells, the store is best for sourcing obscure design titles and contemporary art for walls.
Bookhouse, 137 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda +61 3 9534 7841
One of Melbourne’s best secondhand book stores (and there are many contenders) Bookhouse is also strong in the window display department, with it’s ‘almost dark magic ability’ to draw you inside. A tiny space with a lot of heart, the owner Ben Kemp is full of knowledgeable suggestions.
Readings Carlton, 309 Lygon St, Carlton +61 3 9347 6633
The pre-eminent independent bookstore of Melbourne for the past two decades, Readings Carlton offers customers an outstanding selection: from cutting edge music to classic books. Passionate about Australian literature, they also hold numerous in-house launches and literary events throughout the year, which are free and open to the public. Watch out for big names passing through.
NGV Bookshop, Fed Square, Swanston Street +61 3 8620 2222
The National Gallery of Victoria Bookshop has, as one would expect, a great selection of art books, as well as a spectacular array of interior, architecture, graphic design books and the like. Gift items are also exceptional: mud ceramics, interesting jewelry and accessories, and a cute kids section.
Syber’s Books, 38 Chapel Street, Windsor +61 3 9530 2222
A “rare and out of print bookshop”, Syber’s has been hailed as Melbourne’s kookiest bookstore. Run by Penny Merriot (and a couple of cats) since time immemorial, the store is filled with for second hand sci-fi and fantasy novels, as well as true crime and war history texts.
Kay Craddock Antiquarian Booksellers, The Assembly Hall Building, 156 Collins Street +61 3 9654 8506
Interested in magical amulets, never-ending stories, unicorns, flying dogs or a gateway to Narnia? Rumour has it this Antiquarian Booksellers may just be the portal to all of your wildest dreams. If you’re the kind of person whose happiness rests on laying an obscene fortune on a tiny and ancient book, knock on Kay Craddock’s door.
By Sophie Ward