Books + Music

Sydney’s Best Book Shops

By Sarah Mulholland - 13 Feb 2018

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Although bad weather and moments of boredom have meant only one thing to Sydney siders recently (we’re looking at you Netflix), there’s another fab way to pass the time indoors. Guilt-free nights, curled up on the couch indulging in a literary delight. Books. We’re talking about real, IRL books.

For those of you who’re less inclined to the tablet ways of the future and more interested in the nostalgia and challenge of a good old paperback, here are the best bookstores in Sydney.

Better Read Than Dead

Newtown

Better Read Than Dead is a book lover's heaven. With an A-Z of authors that can keep you browsing for hours, there's no denying this is one of Sydney's best bookstores. And if you're interested in meeting other like-minded book fanatics, The Better Reader Book Club meets monthly to discuss a novel over wine and cheese. Is there anything better?

Berkelouw

Around Sydney

Housing an amazing selection of new books, secondhand books, and rare books, Berkelouw has got something for everyone! The perfect store for lovers of all things literary, Berkelouw stores have been popping up all over town, which is convenient for the bookworms among us. The helpful staff and extensive range of genres makes it one of the best bookshops in Sydney. Don't have time to peruse its shelves of books? Never fear, Berkelouw has a nifty online shop, where you can browse and buy 'til your heart's content. 

Gertrude & Alice Cafe Bookstore

Bondi

The change in season is certainly upon us and, as the winter drizzles become more regular, we propose that the best way to pass the time is with some good food and great books! Gertrude & Alice is Bondi's li'l hub of creativity, the perfect spot to perch with a coffee on one of the communal tables and lose yourself in the depths of a novel. Finding just the right balance between delicious cafe and boutique library (not an easy task!), Gertrude & Alice definitely deserves its spot on our list of the best bookstores in Sydney.

Ariel Booksellers

Paddington

If you're at a loss for where to buy books in Sydney, this quirky bookseller is your new best friend. The enthusiastic staff are extremely knowledgeable when it comes to the business of books, and are more than happy to help you make the right choice. Ariel has a vast range, from fiction to photography, autobiographies, and cute gift ideas—you'll be spoilt for choice! 

Kinokuniya

CBD

Boasting one of the largest collections of titles in Sydney, Kinokuniya certainly earns its spot on our hit list of Sydney's best bookstores. Escape the hustle and bustle of the CBD with its extensive catalogue of Japanese, French, Chinese, German and English publications, which you can devour in the lovely café. Be sure to check out Kinokuniya's in-store art space, The Wedge Gallery, which showcases works from local and international up-and-coming artists. 

Published Art Bookshop

Surry Hills

The name says it all, a bookshop truly dedicated to all things art, architecture, and design. Published Art in Surry Hills houses the latest titles and is the place to go if you're after high-quality, international publications. Take your time to peruse and purchase, it's worth it!

MCA Store

Circular Quay

For those days when you wake up feeling oh so cultured, head to the MCA Store and treat yourself to a bit of artistic inspiration. Perfect for reading up on your favourite creative, the MCA Store offers an array of literature, covering everything from contemporary art to fashion and architecture—so you're sure to pick up a unique coffee table addition.

Potts Point Bookshop

Potts Point

Although chain book stores are reliably (or at least used to be) everywhere, little gems like Potts Point Bookshop are fantastic sources of unconventional reads (read: hidden gems). Whether you’re a psycho like Stephen King, a philosopher like Tim Winton or a passionate feminist like Daphne du Maurier, you can find a whole range of #bingeworthy books on these shelves. Oh, and forget about the run down book stores of your childhood, this place does packed walls in the best way—we mean perfectly ordered with everything in its place. We’re not obsessive, ou are. 

Abbey’s Bookshop

CBD

We’d probably describe Abbey’s Bookshop (and they do too) as Aladdin’s cave for readers, so if you’re feeling in more a Jafar mood today, maybe take a step back. Abbey’s specialises in a range of eclectic, adventurous and indie selections that’ll bring out your inner hipster. If you’re looking to truly expand your tastes, their upstairs level features a huuuuuge range of international books so good you won’t even have to leave your home to truly see the world (well, kind of). Get there, STAT.

Sappho Books

Glebe

Ok so if you need a little more inspo to dive into bookworm territory, Sappho Books has got it—food. This second-hand bookshop features a fabulous range of novels as well as a cheeky courtyard cafe and wine bar our the back that’ll have even a Netflix addict heading out into the light of day. Not only can you catch up on some light reading from previous owners across Sydney and the world, you can also tune into some live music and feel all the vibes.

Oracle Books

Mosman

This independent bookstore is the perfect destination for all those looking for, well actually, those who aren’t really sure what they’re looking for. From Australian work to biographies, sport, health, spiritual reads and even adult colouring books, you can’t really go wrong here. We suggest stepping inside and grabbing the first thing that catches your fancy—you’ll probably walk out with something way cooler than you planned anyway. 

The Best Little Bookshop In Town

Cronulla

How could we compile a list of the best bookstores in Sydney without including The Best Little Bookshop In Town? You’re right. We couldn’t. Sitting pretty in the beachside suburb of Cronulla, this one-stop book shop definitely lives up to its name. Their collection is carefully curated by their buyers and we know you’ll walk away with more goodies than you planned. If you find reading a little too solitary they also run a bookclub every Wednesday so you can discuss all things literary with like-minded souls—jump on this one ASAP.

Gertrude & Alice

Bondi

From Thelma & Louise to Romy and Michele, and Tina Fey and Amy Poehler—there’s truly nothing better than a female pairing. And Gertrude & Alice is just another one to add to your list. Mixing our favourites, that is: books and food, this café slash bookstore is about to become your new favourite book shop in Sydney. Designed as an oasis for writers, readers, and coffee lovers, you can thank us later (we already know you’re going to love this one).

Love Vintage Books

Willoughby

Do you Love Vintage Books? Do you love ironic store names even more? Let us introduce you to Love Vintage Books in Willoughby—can you guess what they’re selling? Not only can you upsize your collection with books on sport, history, military, art and architecture, travel and Australiana, but you can also downsize your collection. Yep, if your bookshelf is looking a little too packed, thee guys might just buy a few off you. There’s a reason this place is one of Sydney’s best book shops.

Aquarius Rising

Parramatta

For those trying to figure out if Aquarius is rising or Saturn is in retrograde, then venture to Parramatta’s original New Age haven—Aquarius Rising. Their shelves are packed with old favourites and new selections as well as CDs (yes, they still exist), DVDs, tarot and oracle cards, incenses, oils, candles and of, course crystals—you can’t forget the crystals, people. So get there ASAP and follow the incense trail all the way to nirvana, or whatever you call it.

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Image credit: Radu Marcusu

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