The best independent bookstores in Melbourne for happy browsing



Novels, paperbacks, picture books and more.

Melbourne residents love to wear black, drink coffee and drone on about how the city is the cultural capital of Australia. Could it be a little bit true? With the abundance of galleries, theatres, vintage stores and parks to sit and drink wine in, it truly is the cross-section of fashion, art, design, literature and turtlenecks. Which is it’s the home of so many wonderful bookstores!

Looking for more thought-provoking reads? Try our Life section.

Whether you need a new story to pass time on the train or something to lull you to sleep on a windy night, we’ve done the hard yards for you. Below, find a curated list of the bookstores in Melbourne.



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Since opening its first Carlton store in 1969, Readings has grown to be a seven-location retailer for books of every type and genre. With an extensive calendar of events, including its own literary prize, Readings is loved for its involvement in the local bookish community. Each store stocks a variety of small-press and self-published content in addition to a wide range of classic and contemporary literature.


NGV Design Store


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At the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), it’s a different kind of gallery gift-shop experience. Alongside a curated selection of design wares, stationary, posters and prints, the NGV Design Store offers an extensive range of unique art history, pop culture and design books. Each exhibition is coupled with a series of companion books, so you can read up on your favourite creative works.


Paperback Bookshop

Situated on Bourke Street, Paperback Bookshop has been operating since the 1960s. Originally housing only rare paperbacks, the bookshop now has a diverse range of content that prioritises quality and locality over big-name authors. With curated reading lists from employees and a monthly newsletter of recommended titles, the Paperback’s humble beginnings are not lost to history.


Hill of Content

Hill of Content claims the title of Melbourne’s oldest bookstore. Recently ticking over 100 years of operation, Hill of Content is celebrating its centenary with the re-publication of its founder’s novel by the same name. With a wide range of children’s books in addition to their expansive adult collection, there’s something for everyone.


Sun Bookshop


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Located in Yarraville, the Sun Bookshop is quintessential Melbourne with a retro feel. Based in the iconic Sun Theatre, Sun Bookshop is a must-visit spot for bookish browsers in Melbourne’s inner west (and maybe pick up a movie adaptation while you’re there). With a selection of both alternative literature and award-winning novels, you’re sure to find your next great read.


Happy Valley Shop

Located in Collingwood, Happy Valley Shop is a gift shop and bookstore combined. Specially curated by owner Chris Crouch, the store’s eclectic range of books pairs perfectly with the large vinyl collection; ready to shop seven days a week. Happy Valley is also the spot to hit if you’re looking for work by Japanese authors.


Bookshop by Uro


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Created by local publisher Uro Publications, Bookshop by Uro offers a curated selection of specialist art, architecture and design books from Australia and beyond. Operating out of independent arts precinct Collingwood Yards, Uro is an event space, gallery and bookstore hybrid. Have a browse before picking up some XXFlos flowers and a glass of pet nat from Hope St Radio.



Tucked away on the third floor of Melbourne city’s Curtin House, Metropolis is an independent bookstore with a focus on architecture, photography, counterculture, music, design and critical theory. Established in St Kilda in the mid-1990s, Metropolis has solidified its status as a resource for all things art literature and creative design.


Perimeter Books


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Founded in 2011, Perimeter is a hub for writers and readers alike, functioning as a bookstore, publisher and distribution house. Offering a range of independently-published work, zines, art and photography books, the Thornbury store is multiple-award-winning.


Brunswick Street Bookstore

Brunswick Street Bookstore is your trusty local. Situated in the heart of Fitzroy, it’s a retailer that prides itself on providing “connecting passionate readers with engaging reads”. A bustling meeting spot for readers, writers and sometimes Paul Mescal, it’s always worth a visit.


For books you can browse from the comfort of your bed, head here.

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