Podcasts & Books

Brisbane’s Best Bookstores

By Nadia Buick
1st May 2012

Despite all the doom and gloom surrounding the retail and publishing industries at present, Brisbane remains pretty well-off when it comes to bookstores. Having said that, we definitely shouldn't take these literary nooks for granted. Get out there and support your local bookshop, or discover a new one! Some of my favourite bookstores have a second-hand focus, while others will serve you a coffee while you sit back and read. Here's my list of the very best:

Title | Fortitude Valley
I cannot tell you how thrilled I was when I first discovered my favourite Melbourne bookstore had also opened up shop in Brisbane. Title is the epitome of good editing: small but jam-packed with all the books you want to own but never knew existed. Likewise, it contains drool-worthy criterion edition dvds and a truly eclectic selection of music.
Where: 60 James Street in Fortitude Valley
Contact: 07 3358 5858

Folio Books | Brisbane CBD
Attempting to walk-past Folio Books is a dangerous exercise when you're in a hurry. Their windows are a book-lover's dream, filled from top to bottom with lavish coffee table books on every subject imaginable. If that wasn't enough to win you over, wait 'til you walk inside! I guarantee Folio will win your book-loving heart.
Where: 80 Albert Street in Brisbane CBD
Contact: 07 3221 1368

Bookstores With Cafés

Avid Reader | West End
Avid Reader combines a truly excellent selection of books with super friendly staff and a great little café. On a sunny day, their courtyard is the perfect spot to sip a latte and dive into a great new book. Avid is known for its great author events and, if you have kids, the children's section is outstanding. Avid also has a small selection of cds and dvds, along with some gorgeous stationary.
Where: 193 Boundary Street in West End
Contact: 07 3846 3422

Black Cat Books | Paddington 
Paddington is a popular place, especially on the weekends. If you're looking for an alternative spot for a great weekend (or weekday) coffee, Black Cat might just be it. Spend some time browsing upstairs in the bookstore before heading down to the hidden, but generously sized, café and garden.
Where: 179 Latrobe Terrace in Paddington
Contact: 07 3367 8777

Riverbend Books | Bulimba 
Riverbend is a favourite among Bulimba locals for its cosy and comfortable environment, and a visit to this store makes you feel like part of a small community. Alongside an impressive range of titles, Riverbend also has a lovely café out on its front deck. But this bookstore is not just a pretty face. Riverbend was also instrumental in founding a program aimed at supporting literacy in remote Indigenous communities, now known as the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and going strong in its eighth year.
Where: 193 Oxford Street in Bulimba
Contact: 07 3899 8555

Second-Hand Bookstores

Bent Books | West End
This second-hand bookstore is a West End institution. If you're looking for it, it's probably at Bent, and if it's not, they'll find it for you. Bent Books goes far beyond the standard subjects, with sections of the store devoted to everything from Australiana to Counter Culture. Bent also has an impressive range of antique books and some gorgeous first editions. 
Where: 205a Boundary Street in West End
Contact: 07 3846 5004

Atavist Books | Fortitude Valley 
Atavist Books is the latest edition to Winn Lane. A tiny gem of a store, Atavist Books stocks a beautifully curated selection of second-hand titles covering popular to cult fiction and local artist's books and zines. The perfect companion to your Sunday sojourn to Flamingo café.
Where: 5M Winn Lane in Fortitude Valley
Contact: [email protected]

Archives Fine Books | Brisbane CBD
The sign outside this gorgeous old building on Charlotte Street claims there are over one million books inside, and I'm inclined to believe it. This really is a bookstore that you could lose a whole day in, and it is one of my favourite places in the city to do just that. If you love books and relish an obscure find, this is the bookstore for you.
Where: 40 Charlotte Street in Brisbane CBD
Contact: 07 3221 0491


Nadia Buick, a PHD fashion candidate at QUT, knows a thing or two when it comes to art and style. Working as a freelance fashion curator, she is an avid wearer of vintage (just ask for her best spots about town), collects old paintings and postcards and can always find the beauty in a little clutter.  

Image Credit: Nadia Buick

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