Melbourne was designated a UNESCO City of Literature back in 2008, and it’s no wonder why.
Melbourne is home to Australia’s oldest public library, the State Library of Victoria. It’s home base for Lonely Planet and the Wheeler Centre. Host of the Melbourne Writers’ Festival. Location of Scribe Publications, Affirm Press, and Penguin Random House Australia, among other publishing houses. We have world class bookstores dotted all over the city, many of them located near cafes serving world class coffee.
One of my favourite hobbies is bookstore browsing, so I’ll do my best to keep this list of my favourite bookstores updated for my fellow booklovers.
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City Basement Books
342 Flinders St, Melbourne
The entrance to City Basement Books is located on Flinders St, and if you’re not looking for it, you’ll probably miss it. Down a big, steep staircase, what lies beneath Flinders Street is a veritable cornucopia of books. So many, there is literally not enough room for them on shelves; they overflow in piles all over the place. Heaven.
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824 High St, Thornbury
Fully Booked in Thornbury is one of those old bookstores that makes you feel like you’ve fallen right down the rabbit hole. It’s a little space packed with an insane amount of books, and the range is excellent (war-fi to jazz music to expedition travel to insects, and everything in between). The lady who runs it is delightfully helpful, and they have the added advantage of being very close to quite a few excellent places to eat and drink.
Gone But Not Forgotten…
Grub Street Bookshop, Fitzroy
This was my happy place. The place I could never leave empty handed. The place that I always had time to visit, even when my parking was about to run out.
They had more books than they could fit on the old shelving, piling them up on the floor, on small tables, in cardboard boxes and wherever else they could fit them. You’d find second hand books on everything from cooking to history, art to travel, crime novels to science fiction, and literally everything in between, as well as some beautiful vintage first editions. I loved everything about this shop, from the creaky floors to the smell of the old pages, and I’ll miss it dearly.