Melbourne’s Best Independent Bookstores for Pleasant Browsing
Novels, paperbacks, picture books and more.
Melbourne residents love to wear black, drink coffee and talk about how the city is Australia’s cultural capital. Could this be somewhat true? With the abundance of galleries, theaters, vintage stores and parks to sit and drink wine in, this is truly the cross section of fashion, art, design, literature and turtlenecks. It is the home of so many wonderful bookstores!
Looking for more stimulating reads? Try our Life section.
Whether you need a new story to pass the time on the train or something to lull you to sleep on a windy night, we’ve done the hard work for you. Below, find a curated list of bookstores in Melbourne.
Since the opening of its first Carlton store in 1969, Readings became a seven-location retailer for books of all types and genres. With an extensive calendar of events, including its own literary award, Readings is popular for its involvement in the local book community. Each store stocks a variety of small press and self-published content in addition to a wide range of classic and contemporary literature.
GNV design shop
At the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), it’s a different kind of gift shop experience. Along with a curated selection of design items, stationery, posters and prints, the NGV Design Store offers an extensive range of unique books on art history, pop culture and design. Each exhibit comes with a series of companion books, so you can read about your favorite creative works.
Located on Bourke Street, Paperback Bookshop has been in business since the 1960s. Originally housing only rare paperbacks, the bookshop now offers a diverse range of content that favors quality and locality over big-name authors . With employee-curated reading lists and a monthly newsletter of recommended titles, the paperback’s humble beginnings aren’t lost to history.
Hill of Content lays claim to the title of Melbourne’s oldest bookstore. After more than 100 years in business, Hill of Content celebrates its centenary with the re-release of its founder’s novel of the same name. With a wide range of children’s books in addition to their extensive collection for adults, there is something for everyone.
Library of the Sun
Located in Yarraville, Sun Bookshop is quintessential Melbourne with a retro vibe. Based in the iconic Sun Theatre, Sun Bookshop is a go-to place for book-browsers in Melbourne’s mid-west (and maybe pick up a film adaptation while you’re there). With a selection of alternative literature and award-winning novels, you’re sure to find your next great read.
Happy Valley Shop
Located in Collingwood, Happy Valley Shop is both a gift shop and a bookstore. Specially curated by owner Chris Crouch, the store’s eclectic range of books blend perfectly with the llarge vinyl collection; ready to shop seven days a week. Happy Valley is also the place to go if you’re looking for works by Japanese authors.
Created by local publisher Uro Publications, Bookshop by Uro offers a curated selection of specialist books on art, architecture and design from Australia and beyond. Operating out of the independent art district of Collingwood Yards, Uro is a hybrid of event space, gallery and bookstore. Take a ride before you buy XXFlos flowers and a glass of fart nat from Hope St Radio.
Nestled on the third floor of Melbourne’s Curtin House, Metropolis is an independent bookstore specializing in architecture, photography, counterculture, music, design and critical theory. Established in St Kilda in the mid-1990s, Metropolis has cemented its status as a resource for all things artistic literature and creative design.
Founded in 2011, Perimeter is a hub for writers and readers, operating as a bookstore, publisher, and distribution house. Offering a range of independently published books, zines, art and photography books, the multi-award winning Thornbury store.
Brunswick Street Bookstore
The Brunswick Street bookstore is your trusted local. Located in the heart of Fitzroy, it’s a retailer that prides itself on providing “avid readers connected with captivating reads.” A lively meeting place for readers, writers and sometimes Paul Mescalalways worth the detour.
For books you can leaf through from the comfort of your bed, head here.