I recently took a trip to Australia and after thoroughly enjoying my London Bookshop Crawl I eagerly planned one for Sydney. I visited a selection of indies and chain booksellers for a thorough investigation of Australian bookshops. One thing I noticed was the prevalence of paperbacks. Very few books were available as hardbacks, despite many being recent releases. Of course, I used this as an excuse to buy even more books.
I began my day with Better Read Than Dead. I’ll admit, I was lured in by the name and I definitely wasn’t disappointed. This indie bookshop was deceptively big. It stretched deep into the building with an unexpected second floor, offering plenty of space for shelves upon shelves of books. Several books had personalised staff recommendation notes to entice browsers. The upstairs art book section featured several beautiful paintings and cushioned benches. I made use of these seats to consider the armful of books I’d acquired as I explored downstairs. Keeping in mind my luggage restrictions, I reluctantly put one whole book back and only bought five others.
I moved onto Elizabeth’s Bookshop, a wonderful second-hand bookseller, where I bought my first Blind Date with a Book. I love the smell of old book. The musty pages and aged ink creates an enticing perfume that invites booklovers to linger as they wander through the rooms. I spent a fair bit of time investigating the stock and recommendation notes displayed on the shelves. In the end, I decided I wanted a surprise and, based on only a few clues, I picked my Blind Date Book.
Next stop was a remainder bookseller, Basement Books. Much like The Works in England, this shop sold heavily discounted books along with stationary and art supplies. There was quite a bit of stock and I spent a lot of time meandering among the shelves. I can never resist a good stationary section either. Eventually, I pulled myself away so that I could visit my last stop.
My final bookshop was Dymocks, a chain spread all across Australia. As is increasingly common, Dymocks not only offered a vast selection of books but also cute impulse-buys. I couldn’t resist the Australian wildlife bookmarks. This well-presented shop was bright and modern, filled with bestsellers and new releases (still in paperback). They even had shopping baskets! A brilliant idea as my arms are never as big as my stack of books to buy. After I bought an unwise number of books I headed home to do some serious repacking.
It was really fun to be able to explore Sydney through its bookshops. It’s interesting to see the similarities and differences between bookselling in other countries. I would’ve loved to visit even more bookshops but that’ll have to wait for another time. Share your favourite bookshop visits with us @Fairlightbooks on Twitter or Facebook and let’s keep the bookshop hunt alive!
Read all about my London Bookshop Crawl here.