Known as the City of Literature, Melbourne has a long history with reading, libraries, books, and bookstores. Melbourne bookstores range from cosy and independent to vast and historic, so you’re sure to find a great book.

If you’re looking to curl up with a good book on a rainy day, here are the best bookstores in Melbourne to visit to find your next page-turner.

Paperback Bookshop

The Paperback Bookshop is one of Melbourne’s best bookstores and a local favourite that has been in operation since the 1960s. It has a vast collection of both popular and rare paperback books, as well as fiction, hardcovers, Australian nonfiction, music books, poetry books and much more. You can also find an array of journals.

City Basement Books

City Basement Books is a cosy spot tucked away in a basement with an extensive collection of secondhand books. You can find everything from rare books to popular novels, all at a discount for being gently used and loved by previous readers.

Metropolis Books

Metropolis Books is the ideal spot for art lovers. Located within a spectacular art deco building, Metropolis Books has a curated collection of unique books on music, film, architecture, art and graphic design that appeal to artistic and creative types.

Readings

Readings is another historic bookstore that’s been around since the late 1960s and has since opened six more stores throughout the city. Part of its appeal is the incredible collection of books, records and magazines that cater to every taste and interest. Readings also hosts book launches featuring both emerging and popular authors on a regular basis.

Brown & Bunting Booksellers

If you prefer the history and nostalgia of used books, Brown & Bunting is the perfect spot and one of Melbourne’s best bookstores. The secondhand bookstore has a huge selection of used books that range from iconic literature to recent releases, so you might stumble upon a hidden gem among the shelves.

The School of Life

The School of Life is a bookstore dedicated to developing social intelligence. It not only has a large selection of books, but it also promotes open-mindedness and social awareness with public workshops and regular classes.

Embiggen Books

Embiggen Books is a quintessential bookshop with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves that are reminiscent of formal libraries. You can find everything from current fiction to cookbooks and children’s books in the curated collection, and the shop is also known for its exceptional collection of science books. Over the years, the bookstore has been known for events that feature prominent journalists, authors and politicians.

embiggen books melbourne

Trover Photo by Kaori, Embiggen Books, Melbourne

Hares & Hyenas

Though Hares & Hyenas originally opened as a specialty bookstore that catered to the LGBTQ community, it’s now a bookstore cafe, shop and bar where you can enjoy a beverage while perusing book titles. The bookstore also hosts regular readings from prominent authors.

Coventry Bookstore

Coventry Bookstore is a small, independent bookstore with a large selection of international and Australian fiction, nonfiction and children’s books. The collection is curated and organized, so you can quickly find a great read without spending hours browsing cluttered shelves.

Happy Valley

Happy Valley is a niche bookstore that specializes in classics, poetry, nonfiction, graphic novels and art and design books. It differs from other Melbourne bookstores in that it doesn’t stock the shelves with the newest popular titles but instead focuses on lesser-known gems. The store also sells indie records, magazines, jewellery and other unique goods.

Neighbourhood Books

Neighbourhood Books is a popular independent bookstore that opened recently and has quickly grown to become a local favourite. The store not only offers an array of unique titles, but it also features a book club and book launches to bring the community together through literature.

Brunswick Street Bookstore

Opened in 1987, the Brunswick Street Bookstore is a cosy shop that reflects the alternative and counterculture appeal of this suburb. The store is charming and on the smaller side, so you can spend time searching the nonfiction, backlist fiction and new release titles in a private and welcoming atmosphere. You can attend literary events hosted by the store as well.

Books for Cooks

Books for Cooks is a specialty bookstore that caters to chefs, cooks and foodies. For those who enjoy the feel of a printed recipe book, Books for Cooks offers a variety of antiquarian books on culinary arts, food culture and wine. It also features cookbooks from famous chefs, so you can try your hand at a gourmet recipe after visiting a nearby market.

Wayward Books

Located near many of the lovely cafes in Kensington, Wayward Books is an eclectic bookshop that offers titles ranging from fiction to children’s books. You can find just about any type of book you want at Wayward Books, and you can take it to a nearby cafe to enjoy a cup of coffee while you read.

Where to go to read in Melbourne

State Library of Victoria

The State Library of Victoria is one of the most beautiful options for a Melbourne library. It’s a cultural landmark that’s home to a seemingly endless amount of books, as well as exhibitions and galleries. The library has a stunning six-storey-high domed room, the La Trobe Reading Room, that’s a favourite of locals. You could also take a break from reading to visit the Crowen Gallery and Keith Murdock gallery to gaze upon masterpieces of artwork during your stay.

state library of victoria melbourne

State Library of Victoria, Melbourne

Fitzroy Gardens

Fitzroy Gardens is Melbourne’s best park and one of the most peaceful and beautiful spots in the area. You can see a range of historic buildings, such as Captain Cook’s cottage and a model Tudor village, and lounge on the grass to enjoy a good book while surrounded by Victorian era landscaped gardens. The park also features fountains and sculptures that add to its enchanting atmosphere.

Melbourne boasts a wide range of unique and eclectic bookstores that cater to literature lovers. If you’re planning a trip to Melbourne, visit Expedia to check out deals on Melbourne hotels to make the most of your time in the City of Literature.