Great Bookstores In Melbourne, Australia's Literary Capital

Photo of Monique La Terra
2 November 2016

Recognised as one of seven UNESCO Cities of Literature in the world, Melbourne’s infatuation with the written word spans across genres and decades. From harrowing tales to amorous anecdotes, the shelves of Melbourne’s many bookstores are crammed with the yellowing pages of hardcover and paperback books. To get you started, here are five stores that carry literature titles and a few others with more specific collections.

The Brunswick Street Bookstore

Bookstore, Store
Map View
The Brunswick Street Bookstore, Fitzroy
The Brunswick Street Bookstore, Fitzroy
Established in 1987, The Brunswick Street Bookstore has been a permanent fixture in Fitzroy long before café culture came to town. In 1989, the store upgraded their tiny premises for a place large enough to hold their extensive collection of new releases, backlist fiction, and non-fiction titles.
The store is open late seven days a week, allowing you to lose yourself in pure imagination long after the sun has set.

Avenue Bookstore

Map View
This self-proclaimed ‘book haven’ has been providing Bayside bookworms with new release titles, old favourites and children’s books for 30 years. Avenue Bookstore opened their flagship store in June 1986 in Albert Park before moving to their current location in 1993. They’re also located in Elsternwick, and in September 2016, their Richmond store will open. Avenue Bookstore has been named Victorian Bookshop of the Year on four occasions and Independent Bookseller of the Year five times. Take a walk through the Avenue, and you’ll meet knowledgeable staff, find titles you’ve forgotten and unique stationery items.

Paperback Bookshop

Bookstore, Shop
Map View
The Paperback Bookshop at night in Dec 2012 | © Nick-D/WikiCommons
The Paperback Bookshop | © Nick D / WikiCommons
When the Paperback Bookshop opened at the top end of Bourke Street in the early 1960s, it had a concentrated collection of hard-to-find local and imported paperback editions – hence, the name. The collection is now hardcover inclusive and stocks fiction, Australian non-fiction, poetry and music books, classics, history, philosophical titles, politics and current affairs and travel books. Paperback also carries a selection of journals. For an authentically Melbourne experience, purchase a title at Paperback, then hop across the road to Pellegrini’s and enjoy a plate of pasta and espresso while browsing through the first few chapters.

Embiggen Books

Shop, Bookstore
Map View
Inside Embiggen
Inside Embiggen | © Embiggen Books
Inside a dimly lit lair opposite the Wheeler Centre lies Embiggen Books. Floor-to-ceiling wooden bookshelves akin to studious antiquated libraries hold a curated collection of fiction, history, young adult, economics, art and design, children’s, politics and cooking books. Born and raised on the Sunshine Coast in 2008, Embiggen made the move to Melbourne and now holds the largest collection of science books in Australia and the fourth largest in the world. The store has hosted events featuring Nobel winners, authors, journalists, politicians and international guests. Drop by, climb the antique ladder and choose a title from the top shelf – it’s guaranteed to be a fascinating read.

Coventry Bookstore

Map View
Independent bookseller Coventry is an inviting South Melbourne sanctuary where you could easily spend an entire day with your nose stuck in a book. The collection encompasses Australian and international new release and classic fiction, and there’s an entire room dedicated to kids. Knowledgeable staff roam the store and are always ready to suggest a title with a friendly smile. The store opens bright and early at 9 am on Saturday so that you can buy a book and enjoy it with breakfast.

A Few More Favourites

Children’s Books: The Little Bookroom

Antiquarian: Kay Craddock

Supernatural: The Haunted Bookshop

Art and Design: Metropolis

Small Press: Perimeter