Art & Design

Fave 5 Melbourne Bookstores

By Emilie Guillemain
13th Oct 2015

Some things just go together, like PB and jelly, and Posh and Becks, so this year we’ve teamed up with MINI to bring you, our discerning readers and drivers, our fortnightly MINI Fave 5 series: The must-try guide to Melbourne, celebrating the launch of the new MINI 5-door hatch!

A man in a second-hand bookshop once said to me, “Bookstores, they’re like little sanctuaries, aren’t they?” I remember beaming back at him and thinking good sir, you couldn’t be more right. It’s no doubt Melbourne kills it when it comes to food, drink and the arts, and we’d have to say the same about the city’s bookshops.

Here are our fave 5 Melbourne bookstores to hit up for some brilliant reads.

Perimeter Books


Independent publishing love is what it’s all about at Perimeter Books. The focus here is on small press titles, art and design books and zines. Having recently presented at MOMA’s New York Art Book Fair, this humble little Melbourne bookstore is taking big strides in supporting both local and international names in the independent publishing industry. Boasting clean lines and loads of natural light, Perimeter is a dream for the book-lover meets minimalist meets design-enthusiast.

Hill of Content

Melbourne CBD

At 94 years of age, Hill of Content is Melbourne’s oldest bookstore. A charming shop by the corner of Exhibition and Bourke streets in the city, this two-story treasure is a must for book-lovers. Upon entering, readers will find a small and savvy selection of magazines to the right, featuring the likes of The Lifted Brow, Womankind and The New Yorker. The ground floor is largely filled with new releases and fiction titles, while upstairs delves into classic literature, art, philosophy and travel. Hill of Content also stock a small selection of gifts and reading accessories, one of our favourites being the clever tote bags by Out of Print.

Avenue Bookstore

Albert Park

Avenue is located right in the heart of Albert Park Village and is beloved by local book fiends. Focusing on new title releases across all categories, you can bet you’ll be able to get your hands on the best fresh reads from both Australian and international authors. Kids will be spoilt for choice here as the store has an extensive children’s selection, from picture books to young adult novels and a number of gift ideas (just in case you feel like spoiling them a bit more). For the especially keen, Avenue runs a monthly book club with nibbles and wine provided by Albert Park Deli and Trembath & Taylor.

The Grumpy Swimmer


There’s nothing to be grumpy about in here. We dig a bookshop that can combine a love for the written word and a penchant for sharp design and beautiful homewares. We know where to head when we want to get lost between the pages while surrounded by Uashmama paper bags, Robert Gordon ceramics and Pony Rider textiles. The Grumpy Swimmer has built a warm community of book-lovers through their book club, poetry readings and storytelling nights. Despite its small size, The Grumpy Swimmer customers return time and time again for the carefully curated range of titles and friendly staff.

Coventry Bookstore

South Melbourne

South Melbourne delight Coventry Bookstore is another shop that will deliver the goods on service and content from a small location. Owner Stephen Hepburn takes great pride in the store reads and loves connecting with his customers. Whether looking for yourself, a friend or a loved one, Hepburn is always willing to talk tastes and offer recommendations. Although stocking a reasonable selection per genre, Coventry is a must for cooking and design-lovers. For occasional events and author meet-and-greets, head to the store website.

We're thrilled to partner with MINI to bring you our Fave 5 series—our fortnightly guide to the best of the best in Melbourne. From food to fashion, Campari to Crossfit, each Fave 5 edition is researched and recommended by The Urban List, and driven by the new MINI 5-Door Hatch—putting the city at your fingertips and giving you the freedom to explore it! 

Image credit: Michelle Jarni for The Urban List

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