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Bookworms Unite! The Best Bookstores in Melbourne’s North

January 12, 2017
best book shops in the inner north

Holidays left you broke? There’s no better way to save the dollars than soaking up the sunshine while reading the latest book from your favourite author

When it comes to bookstores, Melbourne has an abundance of locations where you are sure to find something that tickles your fancy. Offering everything from biographies, thrillers, non-fiction and kids books, here’s our choice for the top bookstores in Melbourne’s north.

Brunswick bookstore

Credit: Instagram

The Brunswick Street Bookstore

Celebrating its 30th anniversary later this year, The Brunswick Street Bookstore is a staple amongst booklovers living in and around Fitzroy. The store covers a wide range of topics (fashion, film, music, sport, cooking, business, history and more) along with a healthy selection of fiction and non-fiction books. Special mention must be made of their diverse magazine selection and political publications, with the store hosting book launches as well as the acclaimed podcast The Morning Bell, featuring a mix of interesting and in-depth interviews with emerging writers.

Location: 305 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

Website: The Brunswick Street Bookstore

Readings bookshop

Credit: Julian Frees


Independent retailer Readings has seven shops across the state with their Carlton store our personal pick of the bunch. Their selection of books is diverse and includes other media such as vinyls and DVDs, the staff are friendly and knowledgeable and the layout of the store is soothing and inviting. As well as providing great service, Readings contribute 10% of their annual profits towards The Readings Foundation, an organisation setup to further support the development of literacy, community and arts amongst Melbournians. Did we mention Readings also won the 2016 award for Bookstore of The Year at the London Book Fair International Excellence Awards, and the Independent Book Retailer of the Year at the Australian Book Industry Awards? Enough said.

Location: 309 Lygon Street, Carlton

Website: Readings

Hares & Hyenas

Credit: Instagram

Hares & Hyenas

The creation of partners Rowland Thomson and Crusader Hills, Melbourne’s number one queer and alternative bookshop, Hares & Hyenas, recently celebrated 25 years in business, and it’s not hard to see why. While specialising in books about sexuality, gender and the like, the store caters to all comers, with charming rows of bookshelves full of novels, biographies, fanzines, poetry, educational books and everything in between. There’s ample space to sit with friends or on your own and sip a latte while enjoying the homely surroundings. Hares & Hyenas also host regular book clubs, spoken word nights and speaking events in The Hare Hole that can also be hired out for private functions.

Location: 63 Johnston Street, Fitzroy

Website: Hares & Hyenas

alice bookshop

Credit: Instagram

Alice’s Bookshop

Nestled between retail stores on busy Lygon Street, Alice’s Bookshop is a quaint store dealing primarily in second hand books. Trading for over three decades, Alice’s stocks over 18,000 books piled high on rickety shelves across four jam-packed rooms. You can find everything from well-read pulp paperbacks, hard to find first editions and hefty leather-bound publications, all at reasonable prices and varying conditions. This is a store for people who love the smell of old books, and you could get lost for days trawling through what Alice’s has to offer without ever getting bored.

Location: 629 Rathdowne Street, Carlton North

Website: Alice’s Bookshop

Happy Valley

Credit: Happy Valley

Happy Valley

Founded by former Polyester Records owner Chris Couch, Happy Valley is a modern design/book/art store with a homely feel and pleasing aesthetic. Wooden floorboards greet you on entry as multiple displays feature a large range of eclectic gifts and art related products that make the perfect gift, while the walls are lined with hundreds of books on a variety of subjects, all personally chosen by Couch. While specialising in design and art, particularly from Melbourne artists, there’s literally something for everyone in Happy Valley.

Location: 294 Smith Street, Collingwood

Website: Happy Valley

Brunswick Bound

A northern favourite, Brunswick Bound is an old fashioned independent store where the service is just as important as the range. Located in the heart of Sydney Road, Brunswick Bound is packed with an awesome selection of books, both new, old and everything in-between. But it’s just not books, with art, zines, jewellery, records and all sorts of knickknacks available to purchase. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, the staff is more than happy to order it for you or recommend something similar if they can’t acquire what you’re after.

Location: 361 Sydney Road, Brunswick

Website: Brunswick Bound

Feature Image Credit: Julian Frees

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