bookshops of melbourne

you see, bookshops are dreams built of wood and paper. they are time travel and escape and knowledge and power. they are, simply put, the best of places. - jen campbell

Last month I traveled to Melbourne (the capital of Victoria in Australia and, like, at the bottom of the country from me) for my first real-all-on-my-own-but-with-friends-not-family holiday. My dear friend, Eleanor, is a lovely soul who didn't mind riding lots of public transport and singing musical theatre with me throughout the week I stayed with her family (and also put up with my wide-eyed country girl excitement, haha.) Because we are both bookish people, we visited five bookshops (four of those on one day with another friend). So, without further ado, come along, if you'd like, on a little tour of my book shopping days in Melbourne (all links are to the respective bookshop's Facebook page)...

Dymocks Melbourne // Firstly, this Dymocks (Dymocks is a nationwide bookshop chain in Australia, was huge, by the way); you walked down the escalators straight into nearly an entire floor of books. I lost track of the time we spent pointing out the prettiest covers and searching for specific editions and just normally browsing the shelves. There was also this cool bargain section; unfortunately I didn't find any I desperately wanted. :( As a bookshop of this size and being Dymocks there was a massive selection, however, it's kind of the same you'll find at a lot of Dymocks. On the other hand, if you want the feeling of being completely lost in and surrounded by books on like a shopping centre scale (honestly, who doesn't?), go here.
Hill of Content // This is a lovely, dark red, three-story shop on Bourke Street, with bookshelves lining the walls, tables of books all in the middle, and a sign to let you know there are more books upstairs. It has an almost homey feel to it and I love how many books they've managed to fit in every inch of the place. In their arts section I found a copy of the script for Fiddler on the Roof, which I almost bought if not for the cost of hardbacks (*sigh*), and spotted many familiar titles on the YA shelves. I definitely want to visit here again someday!
The Paperback Bookshop // Purely judging on bookshop name, The Paperback Bookshop is my all-time favourite on this list (but picking favourites is hard so lets just say they're all my favourites). I fell a bit in love. The inside was pretty great, as well. It wasn't as full of books as Hill of Content, but it felt thoughtfully arranged and they had a nice selection. I also think they host a few authors talks (from advertisements I saw in store); I can picture this bookshop as being the perfect place for that. Oh, and they give you a bookmark with a drawing of their shop and details on it with your purchase. I bought a lovely edition of Little Women, one of my favourite classics.
Embiggen Books // Conveniently located near the State Library of Victoria (which is amazing and huge and makes you feel like your footsteps are too loud), this shop had chalkboards in its window display saying things like 'Fight Evil Read Books,' wooden ladders against the wall shelves (Beauty and the Beast, anyone?) and a trolley of secondhand books, all of which I am a fan. They seemed to have a lot of unique/obscure books and lovely classic editions (including leatherbounds!). Also, chairs for the customers and a hot drinks counter. So worth the visit.
The Book Grocer // I believe The Book Grocer is actually in more than one location around Melbourne, but we visited one inside an outlet centre near Southern Cross Station. The coolest thing about this shop: all the books are only ten dollars. So, of course, I freaked out and proceeded to find one I would like, Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk (which has been on my list of books to read for a while). I will say, the one we went to didn't have a huge range, but I can't complain because ten dollar books, people. Other cool things: they have crosswords printed on their bags and they sell wrapping paper which you could honestly frame and hang on your wall. :)

So, friends, what's the last bookshop or a favourite bookshop you've visited? Any of these?


  1. Ooh these sound SO COOL!! I confess I rarely go to bookstores but I wish I did. Currently the town I'm in has a grand total of one second hand store *cries* So I tend to order online. But nothing beats the aesthetic of going into an actual bookstore, right?!? So glad you enjoyed these!! (Also I totally want to go to Melbourne sometime!!)

    1. Oh I know the struggle! The only options for bookshopping in my town are the op shops and the library sales. :( But bookshops aesthetics are the actual best, so I try and go as often as I can. I just spend the rest of my time browsing the Book Depository, haha. :)


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