A city that considers itself to be even a little bit 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.

Browse through stalwart independent bookstores in the heart of Melbourne. Author appearances, book festivals and a commitment to local writers make them worth the ink. Avid readers with particular hobbies and areas of interest are in luck, with a host of specialist bookstores outweighed only by iconic and memorable places in which to read them.

If flicking through Melbourne's bookshops still isn't literary enough for you, get along to the regular readings and discussions at the The Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas and immerse yourself in living history at the imposing State Library Victoria.

Literary events

Look for these events across Victoria:

  • Melbourne Writers Festival
  • Emerging Writers Festival
  • Melbourne Rare Book Week
  • Clunes Booktown
  • Bendigo Writers Festival
  • Daylesford Words in Winter
  • Yarra Valley Literary Festival

See City of Literature and Writers Victoria for more.


Hill of Content
Level 2, 86 Bourke St., Melbourne
(03) 9662 9472
One of Melbourne's cosiest book nooks. It's been in operation since 1922.

The Paperback Bookshop
60 Bourke St., Melbourne
(03) 9662 1396

Cramped, cosy and totally charming. This is Melbourne's answer to Black Books.

Lower Ground, 234 Collins St., Melbourne
(03) 9663 0900

One of the biggest collections in town. Literally. A great spot to kill some time in the CBD. 

Books for Cooks
Queen Victoria Market, 115-121 Victoria St., Melbourne
(03) 8415 1415

Does what it says on the tin: this is Melbourne's best independent cookbook store. 

Metroplis Bookstore
Curtin House, Level 3, 252 Swanston St., Melbourne
(03) 9663 2015

A Melbourne icon, tucked away inside Curtin House. Just climb the stairs till you see bookshelves. 

Book Grocer
455 Bourke St., Melbourne
0401 879 515

Specialists in book boxes, secondhand and remainder books. You can usually rummage till you find a bargain. 

Kay Craddock
156 Collins St., Melbourne
(03) 9654 8506

A literal treasure trove. Home to Melbourne's biggest collection of antiquarian books, some dating back to the 15th century. 

Mag Nation
Shop LG04, 287 Lonsdale St., Melbourne
(03) 8609 8195

In its new home on Lonsdale Street, Mag Nation is still the city's best spot for niche magazine titles. 

City Basement Books
342 Flinders St., Melbourne
(03) 9620 0428

If rows of floor-to-ceiling shelves stuffed with mostly secondhand books sounds like your thing, then locate the innocuous doorway opposite Flinders Street Station and descend. 


Readings Carlton
309 Lygon St., Carlton
(03) 9347 6633

The original, and still the best. It was awarded Best Bookstore in the World in 2016. 

Bookshop by Uro
Unit 5, 30 Perry St., Collingwood
0466 901 200

More art, design and architecture books than you can shake a spirit level at. Definitely worth a peek. 

The Sun Bookshop
10 Ballarat St., Yarraville
(03) 9689 0661

Part of Yarraville's iconic Sun Theatre complex, this little bookstore has been going strong since 1998. 

Avenue Bookstore
127 Dundas Pl., Albert Park
(03) 9690 2227

One of Australia's first independent bookshops. It's got a great selection of fiction, non-fiction and specialty titles. 

Neighbourhood Books
79 High St., Northcote
(03) 8679 6777

Great selection for all ages, and they host regular author talks, book signings, panels and discussion groups. 

The Little Bookroom
220 St Georges Rd, Fitzroy North
(03) 9387 9837

The oldest children's bookstore in the world, from the same team as Neighbourhood Books in Northcote. 

Brunswick Bound
361 Sydney Rd., Brunswick
(03) 9381 4019

A local favourite with a great selection and plenty of gifting options. Great spot for quirky oddities. 

Happy Valley

249 Smith St., Collingwood
(03) 9077 8509

Home to books, art, design, homewares and new vinyl. Happy Valley has a bit of everything.  

Mary Martin's
2/188 Bay St., Port Melbourne
(03) 9645 2058

Bay Street's indie bookshop institution. It also took our Independent Book Retailer of the Year.

Hares & Hyenas
79-81 Fitzroy St., St Kilda
(03) 9495 6589

Melbourne's favourite queer and intersectional bookshop. It's been breaking ground since 1991. 

Cook and Young
755 Burke Rd, Camberwell
(03) 9882 2258

When you're finished at Camberwell Market, head to Cook and Young to browse all the latest titles. 

Perimeter Books
734 High St., Thornbury
(02) 9484 8101

With a focus on contemporary art, design and architecture, Perimeter is your go-to for small press and indie books. 

Already Read
98 Scotchmer St., Fitzroy North
(03) 9489 1092

One of the biggest second-hand book collections in Melbourne. Terrific spot for a rummage. 

North Melbourne Books
546 Queensberry St., North Melbourne
(03) 9041 4216

Quiet, leafy street. Small independent bookstore. Great coffee 'round the corner. What more do you need? 

Coventry Bookstore
265 Coventry St., South Melbourne
(03) 9686 8200

Finish your South Melbourne Market adventures with a stop at this charming book nook on Coventry Street. 

201 Greville St., Prahran

The folk at Snailfish are on a mission to reduce waste by giving a second life to the finest books they can lay their hands on. 

Alice's Bookshop
181 Bell St., Preston
0437 400 071

With 18,000 books across four rooms, there's a good chance you'll find what you're looking for, or at least something you want, at Alice's. 

Page Two Books
99 George St., Fitzroy
(03) 9417 1852

A one-time furniture factory is now home to thousands of vintage, second-hand and out-of-print titles spanning a range of genres. You may well be joined by Oscar and Coco, the resident Burmese cats, as you browse.

Eltham Bookshop
10 Arthur St., Eltham
(03) 9439 8700

A winner of the Australian Bookseller of the Year Award, this self-described "fiercely independent" retailer proudly champions writers and independent publishers.

The Grumpy Swimmer
110 Ormond Rd., Elwood
(03) 9525 7488

As you'd expect, there's a story behind the name of this little gem in Elwood Village. You'll have to ask to find out.

Syber's Books
227 Glenferrie Rd., Malvern
(03) 9530 2222

A fascinating and eclectic collection of books curated by Penny, the knowledgeable proprietor. Find sci-fi and fantasy books, Australian literature, true crime and crime fiction, and modern war history spread across 75 bookcases.

Brunswick Second Hand Books
136a Sydney Rd., Brunswick
0438 202 177

The owners relentlessly comb Melbourne's secondhand book market to curate their quality selection, and have consciously created a tranquil space to browse, sit, read and recharge.


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