Things To Do

Auckland’s Best Independent Bookstores And Where To Find Them

By Natasha Van Der Laan
2nd Nov 2022

A well organised room at The Open Book, one of the best bookstores in Auckland.

If you’re anything like us, you know that one of life’s greatest pleasures is trawling through a bookstore to discover your next read. Nothing beats walking into a warmly lit store filled with floor-to-ceiling shelves containing precious novels. And the smell? Pure sensory wholesomeness.

Auckland is spoilt for choice 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. We’ve tracked down the best independent bookstores in Auckland for your bibliophile happiness.

Time Out Bookstore

Mount Eden 

Visiting Time Out is an Aucklander’s rite of passage. The book boutique has remained its eclectic self since its opening in 1988. They are well-known for their unique and quirky window displays and extensive selection of new releases and classics. And don’t just take our word for it—the store has won many awards, including New Zealand Bookseller of the Year and a finalist in the London Book Fair. When you’re in the area, grab a coffee and free your afternoon—it’s easy to lose track of time while uncovering your next read.

The Women’s Bookshop


In prime position on Ponsonby Road, The Women’s Bookshop has been celebrating female writers and the diverse interests of women since first opening in 1989. The independent bookstore is all about books by, for, and about women and is dedicated to providing a safe space for said books to be celebrated. The store is also home to an extensive collection of therapy and counselling books, as well as books dedicated to LGBTQIA+ authors and readers. Don’t let the name deter you—The Women’s Bookshop’s selection of books has something for every person and every interest.

People sprawl on the floor at Unity Books, one of the best bookstores in Auckland.Unity Books

High Street

Tucked away on High Street in Auckland’s CBD is a slice of heaven for book enthusiasts. Boasting shelves stacked to the ceiling, Unity Books specialises in New Zealand and international literature, poetry, history, and non-fiction, as well as the best new releases across all genres. You’re sure to find exactly what you’re looking for, but, on the off-chance you can’t, the Unity Books team are self-proclaimed expert book hunters. They’ll track down the trickiest of reads, including mysterious titles from all corners of the globe. Now that’s what we call service.

Little Unity

High Street

Conveniently located right next door to Unity Books is the aptly named Little Unity. As one of the best children’s bookshops in Auckland, they live and breathe books for the young… and the young at heart. The vibrant bookshelves are lined with books for kids and teens from Aotearoa and beyond. If you’re after a book for the little one in your life, let yourself be guided by the expert team—they love nothing more than recommending charming reads.

The Dorothy Butler Children’s Bookshop


Introduce your child to the wonderful world of literature at The Dorothy Butler Children’s Bookshop. The much-loved store was first established in the home of Dorothy Butler, a well-known children’s writer and literacy expert in 1964. The store has evolved over the years, finding its current home in Ponsonby in the 1980s. Here you’ll find children’s books that have stood the test of time, along with highly anticipated new releases. Gift shopping is a breeze here with a beautiful selection of puzzles, games, and toys.

Dear Reader

Grey Lynn

This independent bookstore is recognised Auckland-wide for its hand-selected titles that have earned their space on the shelves. Dear Reader's delightful collection spans classic titles from favourite authors, contemporary fiction, and extensive nonfiction. The latter includes books suited to the green-fingered, fashionistas, aspiring chefs, design enthusiasts, and more. Better yet, the bookstore has plush seating allowing you to sit back and relax while you find your perfect book.

Cook The Books


Grey Lynn’s Cook The Books is a haven for the foodies among us. The speciality bookstore celebrates all things food with an extensive cookbook selection and in-store demo kitchen. If you’re passionate about food and dining, this is your one-stop shop. The knowledgeable team is on-hand to suggest books, menus, and recipes to make your dinner parties an instant success. If you’re a regular, sign up for the “chocolate fish” loyalty program. You’ll earn credit towards your next cookbook as well as a cheeky choccie fish. Score.

Auckland's Best BookstoresHard To Find Books

Eden Terrace

Auckland’s famed Hard To Find Books has a history dating back to 1983. It first operated from a humble garage in Ponsonby before residing in Onehunga for more than three decades. Today, the bookstore is housed in a beautiful historic building on St Benedict Street in Eden Terrace. The founder, Warwick Jordan’s love for literature transcends throughout the bookshop and collection of more than 500,000 titles. Yes, you read that correctly—half a million books. Hard To Find is the place to go for rare collectables, ancient finds, and the very niche.

Dominion Books

Herne Bay

Dominion Books is a quaint second-hand bookstore that has been in operation for more than three decades. Pick up a comforting coffee at one of Herne Bay’s popular cafes before losing yourself in the treasure trove of books. The selection is well-organised for optimum browsing with the aisles stacked high with an impressive variety. Let the knowledgeable staff guide you in your literature adventures or simply quietly browse your morning away. Pure bliss.

BookMark Secondhand Books


Located in the quaint neighbourhood of Devonport, BookMark specialises in second-hand, used, and rare books. The delightful store is brimming with more than 20,000 books waiting to be discovered with an impressive collection of art, New Zealand, and Māori titles. Our advice? Visit the destination bookstore via ferry from Downtown Auckland. The warm and welcoming store is equipped with chairs and couches for relaxing browsing. Refuel at a local cafe before ferrying back to the city with your nose in your new read. A day well spent!

The Open Book


Sitting pretty in a Ponsonby villa is The Open Book. The unique second-hand bookstore has seven rooms of books, with each room themed and organised by interest. Wander the character home and discover rooms of non-fiction, fiction, languages, art, self-help, social sciences, and children’s. It’s no surprise the bookstore oozes homely vibes, encouraging you to take your sweet, sweet time as you thrift through the bookshelves.



Located in the heart of Herne Bay is the ultimate community bookstore, Novel. Known and loved by locals for its extensive offering of unique coffee table books, Novel is the perfect Sunday morning pit stop on a winter’s day. They have a selection of contemporary literary fiction as well, and the staff are always friendly. You’re sure to find the book you never knew you needed!

The Little Bookshop


Last but certainly not least comes Auckland's newest bookstore, The Little Bookshop. Tucked away behind the main Remuera strip, along a charming cobblestone-style alley this is a welcome addition to our list of the best bookstores in Auckland. The Little Bookshop has been thoughtfully curated by bibliophiles with a passion for the written word so whether you’re looking for a new page-turner, summer blockbuster or that classic book that’s been on your list for years, the knowledgeable staff will be able to recommend the perfect tome for you.

Image credit: The Open Book, Unity Books, Hard To Find Books, The Open Book.

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