Winter is the season of grey skies, Game of Thrones puns and curling up under a blanket with an excellent book. Thankfully, Sydney’s bookstore scene is going strong, despite years of dire predictions. We’ve collected a few of our favourite places to browse for books.
Better Read Than Dead
Better Read than Dead in Newtown embodies the best things about independent bookstores. You can find the latest in literary fiction and non-fiction, literary journals, science fiction and an excellent children’s and young-adult range in this carefully curated store. If you can’t decide, ask the passionate and friendly staff for help. Manager Amelia Lush says staff members, “Read something, love it and tell people about it.” This bookstore is a hub for the local community; it holds regular events, its staff attends book fairs and visits local schools. It’s also the perfect end to date night and – for the bibliophile romantics out there – was the site of a recent engagement, which featured sneaky staff members and a faux-book proposal on the shelves.
(02) 9557 8700
265 King Steet, Newtown
Abbey’s is a family owned bookstore that specialises in history, literature, science and crime fiction. It’s filled with titles you won’t see elsewhere, and the densely packed shelves offer an “element of serendipity” often missing in our online browsing, says Abbey’s Craig Kirchner. If you’re into fantasy and science fiction the upstairs Galaxy Bookstore is essential: you’ll find a well-stocked shop and enthusiastic staff.
(02) 9264 3111
131 York Street, Sydney
Sappho Books, Cafe & Wine Bar
Sappho Books is a wonderfully ramshackle second-hand bookstore. You could spend hours searching through the packed shelves of contemporary fiction, rare and antiquarian books, sheet music and all the classics from your childhood (Enid Blyton, anyone?). Once you’ve made your selection, head out to the courtyard cafe for some food, coffee or wine.
(02) 9552 4498
51 Glebe Point Road, Glebe
Gleebooks has several locations through Sydney, but the charm of this independent bookseller is best represented by the Glebe Point Road store. Here you can peruse the latest literary releases, non-fiction offerings and the best in children’s and young-adult literature. This flagship store also regularly hosts events, from book launches to talks from local and international authors.
(02) 9660 2333
49 Glebe Point Road, Glebe
Elizabeth’s on King Street is a cosy bookstore with an excellent collection of second-hand books and a handful of new releases. If you find it impossible to make a decision, its charming “blind date with a book” service might be for you. Think literary lucky dip; for around $10 you can purchase a book in brown paper and tied up with twine.
(02) 9267 2533
257 King Street, Newtown
When it comes to the sheer scale of books on offer, it’s hard to go past Kinokuniya in The Galleries. This sprawling bookstore stocks more than 300,000 titles in English, Japanese, Chinese, French and German. This store’s particularly worth a visit for glossy-book addicts and graphic novel and magna enthusiasts. If you get hungry while making your way through its selection, there’s an in-store cafe.
(02) 9262 7996
500 George Street, Sydney
Dymocks On George Street
If you’re in the CBD and on the hunt for a new book, it’s hard to go past Dymocks on George Street. This extensive store stocks the latest fiction and non-fiction bestsellers, and the adjoining stationary store has enough cards, notepads and pens to delight the most dedicated stationary-addict.
(02) 9235 0155
424–430 George Street, Sydney
Berkelouw Books offers a carefully chosen selection of new fiction and non-fiction books (complete with staff suggestions), a collection of literary-themed stationary and knick-knacks, an extensive collection of fiction and non-fiction second-hand books and a cosy cafe(link). It’s the perfect spot for a sleepy Sunday afternoon.
1800 046 240
19 Oxford Street, Paddington
Press is a weekend-only bookstore that supports independent publishing. If you’re on the hunt for independent or handmade titles, including glossy photo books and zines, you’ll find them here.
116 Abercrombie Street, Chippendale