Sydney’s best bookstores
Where to browse, read, listen and learn
1 Berkelouw Paddington
Oxford Street has undergone more changes in recent years than Shane Warne’s face but the three-level emporium next door to Verona Cinemas has been keeping bookish types happy for over two decades. Downstairs you’ll find new books, magazines, curios and gifts. The next two levels hold secondhand titles covering fiction, art, culture and history. The second floor is where you’ll also find the store’s licensed café that looks out over Oxford Street.
19 Oxford St, Paddington 2021. 02 9360 3200. berkelouw.com.au. Sun-Thu 9.30am-9pm; Fri, Sat 9.30am-10pm.
2 Desire Books and Records Biblio and audiophiles alike flock here for secondhand books as well as vintage vinyl from the good people at Pigeon Ground Records. There are retro touches throughout: Scrabble letters for signage, a vintage typewriter, and quotes like “what would Nietzsche do?”. Rather than the usual latest releases, staff recommendations are an eclectic mix of classics and oddities. 3/3 Whistler St, Manly 2095. 02 9977 0888. www.desirebooks.com.au. Daily 10am-5pm.
3 Gould’s Book Arcade
Gould’s secondhand cornucopia is charmingly shambolic. Used and rare books, magazines and records are piled high on shelves that look liable to fall down under their own weight. It’s possible to find anything here, especially what you’re not looking for. Early 1970s sex guides? An illustrated history of trout fishing in Australia? Of course. Staff are more than happy to help you navigate your way around the somewhat confusing filing system. 32 King St, Newtown 2042. 02 9519 8947. gouldsbooks.com. Daily 10am-10pm.
4 Gleebooks Glebe The family-run Gleebooks have been in the book business for over 40 years. We love the original – the secondhand shop just down the road – and the dainty Dulwich Hill outlet, but our heart belongs to number 49. This twolevel space services everyone from uni students to picky toddlers (and their parents) on the hunt for Dr Seuss. Talks are hosted throughout the week and feature an impressive roll call of authors and public figures debating the issues of the day. 49 Glebe Point Rd, Glebe 2037. 02 9660 2333. www.gleebooks.com.au. Sun-Wed 9am-7pm; Thu-Sat 9am-9pm.
Set at the top of the Galeries, Kinokuniya is a spacious shop selling most books worth reading in just about every genre. Wear comfy shoes because you’ll cover a lot of ground browsing as you work your way from classics to fantasy, baking bibles to philosophy. One corner is dedicated to Japanese and Chinese books and magazines, including a huge collection of manga. Black Star Bakery has set up shop within the store so you can rest and refuel. Lvl 2, The Galeries, 500 George St, Sydney 2000. 02 9262 7996. www.kinokuniya. com.au. Mon-Wed 10am-7pm; Thu 10am-9pm; Fri, Sat 10am-7pm; Sun 11am-6pm.
6 Better Read Than Dead Downstairs houses all the latest fiction and has an excellent children’s section. Head one level up and you’ll come to cookery, gardening and ephemera, while the third level contains artworks on loan from the Corrigan Collection. Book club meetings are hosted in store and kids can get in on the action with meetings for ages 7-12 and young adults. 265 King St, Newtown 2042. 02 9557 8700. www.betterread.com.au. Sun-Thu 9.30am-9pm; Fri, Sat 9.30am-10pm.
7 Gertrude & Alice
This cosy bookshop café is full to the brim with new and secondhand titles; all jumbled together, piled high to the ceiling and stacked along the walls. Tuck into a text or put your writer’s hat on at one of the communal tables and while away the hours over a
cuppa. à 46 Hall St, Bondi Beach 2026. 02 9130 5155. www.facebook.com/ gertrudeandalice. Daily 6.45am-9pm.
8 Sappho Books Café & Bar
Downstairs in the converted terrace house you’ll find fiction from Amis to Zelazny. Wend your way up the stairs to books on history and culture. Further up is a room dedicated to secondhand music books and sheet music. There are open mic nights and poetry readings on alternate Tuesdays. à 51 Glebe Point Rd, Glebe 2017. 02 9552 4498. www.sapphobooks. com.au. Mon, Tue 8.30am-6.30pm; Wed-Sat 8.30am-8pm; Sun 9am-6.30pm.
9 Love Vintage Books
Step into the store and you enter another era, with antique touches throughout marking a bygone era. There’s an emphasis on quality over quantity here, and the shelves are lined with classic titles, rare and first edition texts and out-of-print books from art and architecture, travel, history, classic literature and children’s favourites. You’ll
also find postcards, maps and
retro pamphlets. à 563 Willoughby Rd, Willoughby 2068. 02 9967 0017. www.lovevintagebooks.com.au. Tue-Fri 10am-4.30pm; Sat 10am-4pm.
10 Best Little Bookshop in Town
Inside Cronulla’s strip mall, this sanctuary for book lovers has a slick front half with new books on sale, while in the back order gives way to chaos, with shelves of used books. The excellent collection of secondhand children’s books is worth a visit alone. ■ à 81 Cronulla St, Cronulla 2230. 02 9527 3504. www. bestlittlebookshopintown.com.au. Mon, Tue 8am-6pm; Wed, Thu 8am-8.30pm; Fri-Sun 8am-6pm.
Sappho Books Café & Bar