The Best Independent Bookshops in Melbourne

Matthew Clark

Melbourne is widely considered to be Australia’s cultural capital, and is a UNESCO city of literature. The city has a strong and diverse literary heritage, with indigenous Australians writing stories on rocks, bark or possum skins for over 40,000 years. Melbourne has also been home to many famous writers, such as Marcus Clarke, C.J. Dennis, Peter Carey, Helen Garner, Christios Tsoilkas and Nam Le. The city is Australia’s literary hub, and it supports a diverse cadre of writers, a hugely prosperous publishing industry (Lonely Planet being the most successful), numerous literature festivals, and a strong culture of independent booksellers. We take a look at some of the best bookshops in the city.

Paperback Bookshop

Located on Bourke Street in Melbourne’s CBD is this independent bookstore that was established in the early 1960s to offer a wide selection of books, especially paperbacks, that are not commonly found in Melbourne. There is something for everyone at the Paperback Bookshop, which sells good Australian and international new releases and classics. It is open until late most days, and shoppers are encouraged to grab a coffee at Pelligrini’s next door. They also have a monthly newsletter and an online shop. This store is packed wall-to-wall with books, making it a real haven for book-worms anywhere.

Opening hours: Mon-Thur 9.30am-10om; Fri 9.30am-11pm; Sat 11am-11pm; Sun 12-7pm

The Paperback Bookshop, 60 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC, Australia, +61 3 9662 1396

The Paperback Bookshop

Hares & Hyenas

Originally opening as a speciality bookstore selling books and magazines of the LGBTQ+ genre, Hares & Hyenas has transformed into a café and bar where you can come with friends for a drink, or just have a browse through the thousands of available titles. They also have regular readings from well-known writers. Hares & Hyenas was involved in the ‘Word is OUT’ exhibition, which looks at Melbourne’s LGBTQ+ history through the eyes of some of its greatest writers.

Opening ours: Mon-Sat 7am-7pm; Sunday 12-6pm

Hares & Hyenas, 63 Johnston St, Fitzroy VIC, Australia, +61 3 9495 6589

Embiggen Books

Located just behind the State Library of Victoria, Embiggen Books is an independent and family-run bookstore with an ever-changing collection. You will feel right at home thanks to décor that is reminiscent of a traditional bookshop. They stock many popular titles, but also thrive on stocking new, and self-published authors, so there is always something new and interesting to get your hands on. Their events programme is well-known, and has already attracted an international philosopher and a Nobel Prize winner. The staff are very knowledgeable, and if you have a brief idea of what you are looking for they will be able to point you to a few different titles that are sure to not disappoint.

Openng hours: Mon-Fri 10.30am-7pm; Sat-Sun 10.30am-5pm

Embiggen Books, Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC, Australia,+61 3 9662 2062

Embiggen Books

Coventry Bookstore

Coventry Street in South Melbourne is the beautiful home of Coventry Bookstore, a small independent bookstore providing a modern and spacious outlet for international and Australian fiction, as well as children’s fiction and non-fiction titles. Coventry Bookstore is free from the clutter and complexity that is so often found in other bookstores; here you will find a clean and tidy store that is easy to navigate and a pleasant book-browsing experience.

Opening hours: Mon-Friday 9.30am-5.30pm; Sat 9am-5pm; Sun 9.30am-4.30pm

Coventry Bookstore, 265 Coventry St, South Melbourne VIC, Australia, +61 3 9686 8200

The Brunswick Street Bookstore

Located in Fitzroy, Melbourne’s hub for alternative culture and the hipster life, is this bookshop that specialises in good service and stress-free browsing. The Brunswick Street Bookstore opened it’s doors in 1987, just in time for the cultural boom that was experienced in this cool, inner-city suburb. The Brunswick Street Bookstore is a cosy store where you can find the newest release books as well as backlist fiction and non-fiction, including arts and crafts, design and fashion.

Opening hours: 10am-10pm daily

The Brunswick Street Bookstore, 305 Brunswick St, Fitzroy VIC, Australia, +61 3 9416 1030

landscape with balloons floating in the air

KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

X
Edit article