The Best Independent Bookstores in Adelaide, Australia

Kids books at Matilda Bookshop
Kids books at Matilda Bookshop | © Matilda
Photo of Tom Smith
12 March 2018

It hasn’t been smooth sailing for the publishing industry in recent years, but Adelaide’s bookworms can thank a group of quality independent stores for making sure they haven’t suffered too badly. Check out our pick of the eight best indie bookstores in Adelaide, South Australia.

Imprints Booksellers

Bookshelf full of colourful books © Pietro Bellini / Flickr
Bookshelf full of colourful books | © Pietro Bellini / Flickr

Warning: if you dive headfirst into Imprints’ elegant wooden bookshelves, you might never re-emerge, such is the depth of its catalogue. First opened in Adelaide’s West End in 1984 and a fixture on Hindley St since 1999, Imprints boasts more than three decades’ experience filling those shelves with an eclectic array of new and second-hand books.

O’Connell’s Bookshop

Benjamin O'Connell © Courtesy of O'Connell's
Benjamin O'Connell | © O'Connell's

Located in Station Arcade just across the road from Adelaide Railway Station, O’Connell’s Bookshop is the oldest purveyor of antiquarian and second-hand books in the city. Reg O’Connell opened the shop in 1957 and six decades later his grandson Benjamin is at the helm, curating an extensive collection of rare and unusual publications across a range of genres.

Adelaide’s Pop-up Bookshop

Crowded bookshelf © aehdeschaine / Flickr
Crowded bookshelf | © aehdeschaine / Flickr

As the name suggests, this bookshop sporadically pops up at different locations around the CBD, but their flagship store is open five days a week at the Adelaide Central Market. Experienced book purveyors Kate Treloar and Nick Patrick cut their teeth running a bricks-and-mortar bookshop before deciding to take their show on the road, bringing a carefully selected range of second-hand books to small inner-city spaces.

Matilda Bookshop

Matilda bookshop exterior © Courtesy of Matilda
Matilda bookshop exterior | © Matilda

The leafy surrounds of the quaint Adelaide Hills are almost as beautiful as the tomes on the shelves of this quality bookshop. A Stirling institution for more than three decades, Matilda’s book-loving staff are always quick with a recommendation from their extensive selection, which features a particularly strong kids section.

Booknook and Bean

Cup of coffee © Michael Allen Smith / Flickr
Cup of coffee | © Michael Allen Smith / Flickr

There are two great reasons to linger at Booknook and Bean. One is the charming wall of donated pre-loved books, which are sold to raise funds for a micro-loan charity. The other is the ethically sourced coffee roasted by De Groot Coffee Co., which is complemented by Tweedvale milk from the Adelaide Hills as well as a menu of tasty sweets and brunches.

Michael Treloar Antiquarian Booksellers

Second-hand books © Alexandre Duret-Lutz / Flickr
Second-hand books | © Alexandre Duret-Lutz / Flickr

Treloar’s has looked after an incredible catalogue of out-of-print and antiquarian books since 1976, giving them a deep understanding of the rare book market. Stock is maintained at the main outlet opposite the State Library of South Australia as well as the Antique Market Book Room on Grote St, home to 30,000 titles that are sure to keep book lovers browsing for hours.

Booked at North Adelaide

Booked at North Adelaide store front © Courtesy of Booked
Booked at North Adelaide store front | © Booked

Surrounded by the cafes and restaurants of the North Adelaide Shopping Village, this independent bookstore sources an impressive range of new releases as well as designer stationery, gifts and greeting cards. Open seven days a week and staffed by avid readers, this local favourite also runs loyalty programs to reward regular customers.

Dillons Bookshop

Norwood, Adelaide © Mertie / Flickr
Norwood, Adelaide | © Mertie / Flickr

Situated in the heart of the Parade in Norwood just east of the city centre, Dillons is the largest independent family-owned bookshop in the state of South Australia. Pop in to peruse its assortment of new release and classic books, as well as CDs, DVDs and gifts at the ABC Centre inside.

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