Metropolis Bookstore, Curtin House, Swanston Street, Melbourne, Australia. Photo: Ben King.
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Books & magazines

Like the best books, a city that considers itself to be even a little literary needs to have something for everyone. As a UNESCO City of Literature and a bonafide book nerd, Melbourne hits the spot with more bookshops per head than anywhere else in Australia.

Dependable independents
Browse through the stalwart independent bookstores in the heart of Melbourne, like Paperback Bookshop, Hill Of Content, and Readers Feast. Author appearances and book festivals and a commitment to local writers make them worth the ink they're written in.

Vintage finds, secondhand books or marked-down latest reads can be picked up at the weekly Federation Square Book Market or within the ordered subterranean chaos at City Basement Books. Kay Craddock sees those pre-loved books and shrugs, offering access to antiquarian titles dating as far back as the fifteenth century.

Specialist bookstores
Avid readers with particular hobbies and areas of interest are in luck in Melbourne, with a host of specialist bookstores outweighed only by iconic and memorable places in which to read them.

Keen cooks can stock up on culinary literature, imported cookbooks and out-of-print recipes in the Books For Cooks larder. The rarest reads will confer instant credibility at any of Gertrude Street's fanciest eateries.

A climb to Metropolis Books in Curtin House is rewarded with a veritable world of art, graphic design, architecture, photography, fashion and textiles, popular culture, film, music and performing arts books. Keep climbing up to Rooftop Bar for maximum reading pleasures.

Aesthetic reads
Inspired by the great libraries of the world (including, no doubt, Melbourne's own splendid State Library) Embiggen Books sells an ever-changing, curated collection of excellent new books with a nod to the page on which art meets science.

The most bookish junior readers are included in Melbourne's booming book scene, with The Little Bookroom – reputedly the world's oldest children's bookshop -  leading the way when it comes to imaginative, colourful kids' books.

Books alive
If flicking through Melbourne's bookshops still isn't literary enough for you, get along to the regular readings and discussions at the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas and inhale the dusty historic pages in the imposing State Library. And if you still need to breathe and eat books, get stuck into The Moat Bar and Café, Mr Tulk café, or Journal café.

Books for Cooks

Books for Cooks

Buy your gifts here and be invited to dinner parties from now to eternity. There's enough kitchen literature here to make your eyeballs' mouths water.

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City Basement Books, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

City Basement Books

Explore the enthralling, ordered chaos of aisles pre-loved novels, journals, magazines, textbooks and reference tomes. It's a goldmine for bookworms.

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Coventry Bookstore, South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Coventry Bookstore

Bury your nose in tomes of all types or hang around for the regular readings for children at one of Melbourne's favourite independent bookshops.

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Embiggen Books, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Embiggen Books

Peruse the curated collections at this little Melbourne bookshop where art meets science and absorb the traditional charms of its interiors.

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Hill of Content, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Hill of Content

While away a few hours in one of the Melbourne's best-loved bookstores and discover a history dating back to the gangster days of Squizzy Taylor.

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Kay Craddock, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Kay Craddock

Step into a bookshop and back into history. Choose from a range of antiquarian and secondhand titles, dating as far back as the fifteenth century.

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Mag Nation City, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Mag Nation City

Flick through pristine titles with great coffee, cool staff and crazy promotions at the hippest periodical dispensary in the city. Say 'Undies Monday'.

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Mag Nation, Prahran, Victoria, Australia

Mag Nation Prahran

Help save magazines from extinction and peruse the impressive range of titles. There's everything from glossy fashion to conceptual art, plus coffee.

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Metropolis Bookstore, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Metropolis Bookstore

Scout the shelves of this reader's oasis to discover rare, niche and hard to find tomes. The quirky selection here offers books to suit any taste.

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Reader's Feast Bookstore, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Image: Hilary Bradford

Reader's Feast Bookstore

Head up to the sumptuous surrounds of the Georges Building on Collins to browse a diverse array of books and get tips from knowledgeable staff.

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Readings Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Image: David Collopy

Readings Carlton

Whether you're popping in at lunchtime, attending a literary event, or killing time before a movie, Readings is always a hive of bookish activity.

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Sticky, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


Get stuck into zines at Australia's undisputed headquarters for lovingly photocopied publications about everything from fashion to science fiction.

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The Little Bookroom, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

The Little Bookroom

Immerse yourself in the hundreds of beautifully illustrated and imaginative children's titles and browse bookshelves bursting with colour.

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The Paperback Bookshop, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

The Paperback Bookshop

Quiet, intriguing and always up late – everything you want in a city bookstore. Pick up Australian fiction, poetry, classics, politics and lots more.

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The Sun Bookshop, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

The Sun Bookshop

Located on the doorstep of the art deco Sun Theatre, this little treasure of the West is popular with locals, authors and visiting cinefiles.

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Record stores

Book breaks

City of literature