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7 Best Bookstores in Sydney [2023]

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Bookstore Sydney

Bookstore Sydney

Sydney is a city known for its love of books. If you are looking for the best bookstore in Sydney, look no further! We’ve compiled a list of the seven best bookstores in Sydney, each with its own unique charms and offerings. Whether you’re looking for a new release or an old favourite, these bookstore Sydney have you covered. So what are you waiting for? Start browsing!

1) Ariel Books

Key ServiceOne of Sydney’s oldest independent bookshops
Address326 Oxford St, Paddington NSW 2021, Australia
Phone02 9332 4581
Operating HoursDaily 10 AM to 6 PM

On their shelves, the bookshelves of Ariel are adorned with a fantastic variety of art, architecture, and design titles. The interior of the store is open and clean, with a few lovely lanterns adding to the appeal, and it remains open until midnight. Mostly, it’s the excellent variety of books and the place’s ambience that make Ariel so pleasant. But you may also acquire a Moleskine, some Mexican decorations, or some chocolate if they tickle your fancy.

Key Differentiators:

  • Has the latest releases
  • One of Sydney’s oldest independent bookshops
  • Excellent collection of books covering art, design and architecture 

Customer’s Review:

One of my top favourite book shops in Sydney! As someone who is into art, they have the widest selection of art/design books I’ve seen in independent bookshops. Always friendly service and a really calming vibe.

Marissa Vafakos

2) Gould’s Book Arcade

Key ServiceAllows online order
AddressGoulds Books, 536 King St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia
Email(612) 9519 8947
Operating HoursHours: 10:30am – 6pm except on Tuesdays

You can’t dispute the supremacy of this location. It is the unquestioned ruler of second-hand books in Sydney. This place has the potential to take you away and keep you there forever. I’d bet you could discover a passage to Narnia in Gould’s. Bob Gould, the silver-haired stalwart of Sydney’s sixties counter-culture who was once arrested for his anti-Vietnam and anti-establishment activities, presided over Joe Browns’ until his death in May of 2011.

Key Differentiators:

  • Allows online order
  • Local, family-run bookshop
  • Sells secondhand books

Customer’s Review:

Great books. Excellent to not cause unnecessary waste by getting them new. Wonderful place.

Michael Huntington

3) Gleebooks

Key ServiceWell-classified books
Address49 Glebe Point Road, Glebe, NSW, 2037
Phone+61-2-9660 2333
Operating HoursMon-Sat 9.00am-6.00pm Sun 10am-5pm

For many years, they have been the city’s most dependable independent bookseller, with an enormous selection of titles in both fiction and non-fiction genres, as well as talks by international and national personalities such as The Chaser boys. When they talk about independent booksellers being threatened, you can bet that Gleebooks will be the last to go.

Key Differentiators:

  • Sydney’s leading independent bookseller
  • Helpful staff
  • Well-classified books

Customer’s Review:

Well-classified books-e.g. Australian literature, science fiction, cook books, etc.- are sorted alphabetically. It was quite easy to find books which I was looking for and there were some recommendations and reviews so that I could find some new interesting books! I liked this clean, tidy and full of knowledge place.

Jisun Chun

4) Better Read Than Dead

Key ServiceExcellent customer service
Address265 King Street, Newtown NSW 2042
Phone(+ 61 2) 9557 8700
Operating Hours10:00am – 7:00pm everyday

Better Read Than Dead has one of the greatest staff recommendation systems in existence, and they’ll frequently introduce you to items you’ll adore for a lifetime that you would never discover on your own. The staff is kind and talkative if you engage with them, but they’ll otherwise allow you to go at your leisure. On a nice day, one of the most appealing things to do near Camperdown Memorial Park is to get yourself a book and select a tree to relax under and read.

Key Differentiators:

  • Excellent customer service
  • Well sorted out bookstore
  • Wide range of classic books

Customer’s Review:

Beautiful bookstore on King St, staff very knowledgable and enthusiastic about book recommendations. I had to buy a present for a colleague, and lovely bookseller Maddy helped me pick out the perfect book for him based on the three facts I know about him. Also, I got a few books for myself based on Maddy’s enthusiasm for them!

Sarah Browne

5) Gertrude & Alice

Key ServiceCosy space with a wonderful range, fantastic coffee and food
Address46 Hall Street, Bondi Beach, NSW 2026
Phone(02) 9130 5155
Operating HoursWeekdays, 6:30am – 4pm, and weekends, 7:00am – 4pm

The name was given to the city in honor of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, the famous ex-pat American couple who supported the rise of Hemingway and Henry Miller, among others. There’s a lot of heart here and gorgeous velvet sofas and delicious chai. They also have a Hemingway room, which is quieter and lined with reference books, making it the ideal spot to seduce another gorgeous bookworm.

Key Differentiators:

  • Offers food
  • Very flavoursome coffee and a vegan breakfast roll
  • Cosy space with a wonderful range, fantastic coffee and food

Customer’s Review:

Nothing beats a G&A trip! Come for the delicious chai/coffee, stay for the wholesome food and leave with the perfect book courtesy of the spookily astute recommendations of Jane and her amazing team! This family-owned business is a local treasure and the staff never fail to brighten even the cloudiest of days. Highly recommend a visit!

Jem Waud

6) Berkelouw Books

Key ServiceCofee and book shop
AddressBendooley Estate, 3020 Old Hume Highway, Berrima NSW 2577
Phone1800 046 240
Operating HoursDaily 10 AM to 8 PM

Berkelouw is everywhere right now – really, there’s one near a parking lot in Cronulla. However, they all appear unique and spectacular. The older branches of Berkelouw are Paddington and Leichhardt and the recent but charming Newtown branch. There’s also a separate second-hand section, which is often worth a peek at Berkelouw. There’s even a cozy cafe and comfy leather couches for you to perch on and read for hours.

Key Differentiators:

  • Cofee and book shop
  • Excellent selection of books 
  • Knowledgeable staff

Customer’s Review:

I love going to Berkelouw’s Bookshop. It has a superb selection of new and second-hand books, on a huge number of topics. There is an excellent cafe on the first floor where you can sit by the window and look out over Oxford Street and the Verona Movie Theatre, next door.

Wendy Yeomans

7) Kinokuniya

Key ServiceWide Japanese selection
AddressLevel 2, The Galeries, 500 George Street (opposite QVB), Sydney NSW 2000
Phone02 9262-7996
Operating HoursMonday: 10am – 7pm
Tuesday: 10am – 7pm
Wednesday: 10am – 7pm
Thursday: 10am – 9pm
Friday: 10am – 7pm
Saturday: 10am – 7pm
Sunday: 11am – 6pm

Aside from Kodak, no other big chain store was included on the list, but it would be meaningless without it. The Japanese bookstore chain, which has become one of the city’s most popular additions in recent years, believes in promoting art and culture rather than simply selling the best-selling pulp literary to people.

Key Differentiators:

  • Light-filled building
  • Wide Japanese selection
  •  In-store gallery 

Customer’s Review:

Woohoo. Where to start. This place is amazing. Brilliant selection of books covering all interests. Easy to lose a couple of hours browsing around. An excellent Japanese and Chinese section of not only books but magazines too. It has a well-stocked stationery store. The shopping centre in which the book store is located has lots of Asian food outlets which is a real treat if you like that cuisine.

Trevor Huttley

Bookstore Sydney

The bookstore scene in Sydney is thriving and there are plenty of options to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a bookstore with the best customer service or one that’s close to home, it shouldn’t be difficult to find one near you. No matter what your preferences may be, we’ve got an excellent bookstore Sydney nearby that will make sure your reading needs are met.

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Rachel Tan - FunEmpire

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Rachel Tan is the editor at FunEmpire Media Australia. She has over 8 years of experience in the media industry discovering the best local businesses, places and things to do in Australia. From lifestyle, entertainment, food, travel, education and more, Rachel is a trusted source to curate the very best Australia has to offer.