A book lover's guide to Melbourne

As the only City of Literature in Australia, Melbourne’s love affair with books has a long history. In 1922, the Hill of Content Bookshop opened at the top end of Bourke Street, near another Melbourne institution, The Paperback Bookshop, in what was known as the seediest part of town. How times have changed.
With Love Your Bookshop Day on Saturday 10 August, now’s the time to hit up Melbourne’s iconic book stores. If you’re looking for something to curl up with, here are the city bookstores to browse.

A woman walking past a bookshop

The Paperback Bookshop

City Basement Books

If you prefer books of the papery kind rather than the type that emit blue light, City Basement Books is for you. This cosy dungeon of secondhand books will take you from childhood classics, out-of-print rarities to popular fiction – all for a fraction of the original price.

Books for Cooks

What’s old is new again as avid chefs and foodie readers flock back to printed recipe books. Discover the likes of Ottolenghi or take a chance on one of the many antiquarian books on wine, food and the culinary arts. Books for Cooks is a must visit every time you swing by the market.

Metropolis Books

If you’re looking for creative inspiration, Metropolis Books, housed up three flights of stairs within Art Deco building Curtin House, is well worth seeking out. Culture vultures will love this carefully curated selection of specialist books on art, graphic design, music, film and architecture.

A man looking at a book surrounded by bookshelves in a bookstore

Metropolis Books

Kay Craddock-Antiquarian Bookseller

Established in Essendon back in 1965, Kay Craddock carry a large and varied stock of antiquarian and second-hand books, dating from the 15th to 21st centuries. Their city block has become the literary heart of Collins Street, offering something old, new and borrowed in books.

Readings Carlton

It’s no mean feat to be the winner of the inaugural International Bookstore of the Year award by the London Book Fair. But Readings Kids Carlton has managed to survive and thrive in the digital age. It’s a like a cerebral playground for little imaginations to run wild.
The store for grown-ups, otherwise known as Readings Carlton, has also been recently renovated. Check out their swish new shelves on Lygon Street.

Wayward books

Shaded by leafy trees and wedged between a variety of cafés in Kensington, Wayward Books is definitely worth a visit. Peruse the shelves to find books to stretch your mind and satisfy the quirky, eclectic and individual nature of us all.

The School of Life

Browse for books in a sociable and open-minded atmosphere at The School of Life. Dedicated to developing social intelligence, this book shop is more than just books. They also offer public workshops and classes dedicated to how to live fulfilling life.
For more bookish inspiration, browse all bookstores in Melbourne.