I have recently gotten back from a brief trip to Melbourne with a friend. Although the shopping scene is epic there (compared to my home town), we weren’t really there for the fashion. Instead, we decided to satisfy our inner geek and go book shopping.
I also thought why not make a short list of the book stores that we have visited.
Below is a blurry photo of a basic tourist tram map in the Melbourne CBD area. We also scribbled with a pink pen of the bookstores that we went to visit.
City Basement Books
Basement 342 Flinders Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
- This book store IS located in the basement of a larger building (as the name suggests).
- It features stacks and stacks of books lined along its narrow-ish walkway next to cluttered bookshelves. Very much like your old-school book-store where what looks like a ‘mess’ is actually not a ‘mess’.
- Contains a healthy collection of literature from all sorts of genre (ie. fiction, military, history, art/ design, architecture, etc). At a cheaper price, if you don’t mind a second-hand version of a really good book or an aviation book published in the 80s then this store is for you.
88 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
- This store occupies two floors.
- If you are a bit of an urban-culture fanatic (if that is a thing) or a design connoisseur or if you are just a fan of glossy finishes and plastic sleeves then this is the place for you.
- I found that the store had a lot of referencing materials/ magazines suited for my creative studies (ranging from fashion, illustration, gender/ social norms, photography etc.) Real helpful stuff that I probably don’t usually come across at home, save the internet.
- There are also stationeries and trinkets on display for sale that’ll keep you busy too.
- Oh, they also sell coffee and have a small outdoors seating area.
Ground & Basement 121 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
- This book-store is also located in a basement…a very roomy basement with bright-ish purple wall. From the top of the stairs looking down into the shop, it looks quite like a labyrinth. The bookshelves are over 6/7 foot tall towering over you.
- If you like action figures, graphic novels, comics, manga and anime (Japanese comic and animations respectively) this is like a one-stop shop/ hub.
- The store is stocked-up with most, if not all, the latest editions of mainstream and alternative titles and merchandises.
- Lots of hard cover illustration books fit for your coffee tables too.
Level 3, Curtin House 252 Swanston Street, Melbourn VIC 3000
- I was a little scared to enter the building where this bookshop was located because the stairwell looked quite dingy and ominous. But other than being poorly lit, it was actually quite spiffy.
- The book store has quite an eclectic, newly published collection of design/ art/ cinema books which are also great for your coffee table or used as referencing materials for an upcoming project.
- There is also a shelf closer to the store’s counter that contains more contemporary literature, covering the topics of philosophy, biography, poetry and fiction.
There are lots of book-stores in and around the Melbourne CBD (both independently operated or under a franchise) but I am just mentioning the ones that I enjoyed visiting most. My experiences, like others, are subjective and should only be taken as a recommendation. There are also great websites that offer more detailed and in-depths review of the bookstores. Enjoy!