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 World Book Day coming up on 23 April, 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.
Despite its proximity to the State Library, you don’t need to be an academic to appreciate the quality of books devoted to the realms of science, history, design and philosophy. A curious mind and thirst for knowledge is all that’s required at Embiggen Books.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.