Melbourne is famous for its music, art centres, museums, and incredible local food. In addition to all that, however, Australia’s second-largest city is also a great place to find your next favourite book. From cosy indy bookshops with hardcovers piled high to quirky neighbourhood bookstores brimming with community spirit, here are some of the best bookshops in Melbourne.
The 7 Best Bookshops in Melbourne
This community bookshop specialises in queer identity, sexuality, sex and gender diversity. It is one of the best gay and lesbian culture bookshops in Australia. In business for over 30 years, Hares and Hyenas is located at the beautiful Victorian Pride Centre in St Kilda and is a warm and friendly place that welcomes all. Apart from selling books, Hares and Hyenas also hosts book clubs, literary meet-ups, and spoken word events.
Readings won the Australian Book Retailer of the Year 2021, and for good reason; this independent retailer of books, music and film has a massive depository and donates ten per cent of all profits to literacy, arts and community charity projects. There are seven branches in Melbourne – as well as a speciality children’s and young adult bookshop. However, the shop at Lygon Street in Carlton is one of our favourites, and a favourite with locals too.
Located on Bourke Street, The Paperback Bookshop has been trading since the early 1960s. On the shelves, you’ll find a terrific selection of new release and backlist titles, particularly fiction, Australian non-fiction, history, poetry, classics, music books, cultural studies and travel. This bookshop is ideal for bibliophiles with insomnia as it stays open really late. This bookshop is small but it is overflowing with books piled high like a literary game of Jenga.
Also located on Bourke Steet is the Hill of Content Bookshop, which, at 99 years old, is Melbourne’s oldest Bookshop. This charming and cosy bookshop is filled with new releases and fiction titles on the ground floor and classic literature, art, philosophy and travel on the upper floor. You’ll also find a great array of reading accessories and gifts, and they provide a free gift-wrapping service too.
Located right in the heart of Albert Park Village, Avenue Bookstore first opened in 1986 and has been serving up the community great books ever since. On the shelves, you’ll find a superb selection of new title releases across many genres from both Australian and international authors. There’s also a great selection of children’s books and gifts. Avenue Bookstore also has two other shops: one in Elsternwick and one in Richmond.
6. Happy Valley
If you are looking for eclectic gifts and novels from all over the world, make your way to the Happy Valley shop in Collingwood. Inside the light, bright and spacious shop, you’ll find carefully curated books, gifts, cards and vinyl collections that you won’t find anywhere else in Australia. There are lots of genres too, including fiction, comics, biographies, and a wide selection of art and design, cookbooks and music books.
The Little Bookroom is one for the little ones. Opened in 1960, this is one of Melbourne’s first kids’ bookshops, and it is just as charming and magical as ever. On the shelves, you’ll find everything from picture books for toddlers to young adult fiction, comics, and graphic novels. There’s also a carefully selected range of fiction and non-fiction titles for adults. Apart from selling books, the shop has a great calendar of events, including a weekly storytime, book clubs, author talks and events for parents.