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The Paperback book shop Bourke Street
Photograph: Jake Roden

The best bookshops in Melbourne that deliver or offer click and collect

If you're running low on books to read, these Melbourne bookshops will deliver or offer click and collect

Written by
Time Out editors

There are few greater pleasures in life than getting lost in a really good book. But what happens when you're running low on things to read during lockdown? At the moment, you can't exactly cram into cozy bookstores and wander through shelves to your heart's content. So we've put together a list of the best bookshops in Melbourne that will either deliver juicy reading material straight to your doorstep or offer click and collect throughout the week. In these uncertain times, let's not underestimate the quiet power of a book to take you to imagined worlds. 

Knowing that you'll never be lonely or bored with a book, further expand your collection by checking out Melbourne's best second-hand bookshops. Want to know exactly what to read? These are the best books written about Melbourne.

The best bookstores in Melbourne

  • Things to do
  • Carlton

Though the Readings empire stretches to St Kilda and the State Library of Victoria, it's the Lygon Street store that really holds the hearts and minds of Melbourne's faithful. Readings opened its original doors back in 1969, before relocating twice to its current premises. The jolly so and sos donate ten per cent of all profits to literacy, arts and community charity projects. A massive book depository filled with uncanny characters on both sides of the counter, it's a legend that will surely never die.

Best for: shopping at the world's best bookstore (!).

Online shopping: Yes! You can order for delivery through the website.

Hares & Hyenas
  • Gay and lesbian
  • Fitzroy

Probably the best gay and lesbian culture bookshop in Australia, and quite possibly the world, Hares and Hyenas is a warm and friendly place that welcomes even the timidest and unsure young gun yet to explode from out of that closet. It’s a gorgeous space on Johnston Street and they make a mean coffee while you peruse everything from queer fiction to glossy coffee table books full of big cocks.

Best for: the finest selection of queer counter culture on this fine continent.

Online shopping: You can place an order on the website and the store is open for click and collect Mondays through Fridays from 10am to 4pm and on the weekend from 11.30pm to 2pm. 

The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia
  • Art
  • Melbourne

While both of Melbourne's national galleries have a fantastic bookstore, it's the fancy pants one over at Fed Square that really makes us proud to be Aussie. The beautiful design lane is worth a gander, especially if you're a fan of Fed Squares kooky architecture. Situated as it is in the garden central walkway of the square, with only a small frontage onto the actual museum's foyer, it is a welcoming space that's chock full of the most glorious art and design books. You can pick up some nifty homewares and jewellery, too.

Best for: its outstanding Indigenous range and graffiti books.

Online shopping: You can place an order for delivery through the website

Hill of Content
  • Things to do
  • Melbourne

Hill of Content has all the characteristics of a quintessential bookstore. Across two elegant and serene levels, the cosy shop features a broad yet considered range of contemporary fiction and non-fiction titles, along with an expansive selection of international imports. The staff talk with all the fervour and knowledge you’d expect of an established bookshop – it first opened its doors in 1922 – making it one of the best in town for casual browsing.

Best for: CBD dwellers looking to kill a few hours between coffees.

Online shopping: Hill of Content is open for click and collect from 10am to 3pm on weekdays. 

Kay Craddock Antiquarian Booksellers
  • Things to do
  • Melbourne

This is the sort of proper ye olde shop you expect to find magical amulets, never-ending stories that take you to a far-off land of flying dogs and unicorns or, at the very least, find Gizmo and be told in no uncertain terms not to feed him after midnight or get him wet. It's a fantastical place full of the finest, rarest books, and probably a gateway to Narnia if you look hard enough. 

Best for: blowing an obscene fortune on one tiny, ancient little book that will make you happy ever after.

Online shopping: Satisfy your antique book needs by placing a click and collect order through the website

Metropolis Bookshop
  • Things to do
  • Melbourne

Any shop that brings to mind Fritz Lang's sci-fi genius or Superman's adopted home is fine by me, but Metropolis has so much more to offer than that. For one thing, it's in the beautiful old setting of Curtin House. Secondly, it's run by knowledgeable staff. And thirdly it has a jaw-dropping collection of specialist books on everything from pop culture and photography to architecture and graphic design. The baby blue shelving and Japanese-style counter are a sight to behold.

Best for: fashion and textiles books for the bookworms who love their glad rags.

Online shopping: While they are closed during the lockdown, you can shop online to browse Metropolis' selection and get free delivery on your order if you're in the Melbourne metropolitan area. Shipping is free across Australia for orders over $50. 

  • Things to do
  • Melbourne

One of Melbourne's most iconic bookstores, the Paperback has been championing the independent scene since the '60s, and will no doubt long outlive the dying chain stores. With an outstanding fiction collection, as well as an awesome array of Australian non-fiction, the paperback also nabs some nifty numbers not available on these fine shores. Staying open way after dark, it is a beacon for book lovers with insomnia. 

Best for: perusing the works of the latest paperback writers while sipping an espresso from Pellegrini's next door.

Online shopping: You can place an order for delivery either through the website, via email or on the phone. 

Perimeter Books
  • Things to do
  • Thornbury

A relative newcomer to Melbourne's crowded independent book scene, this little beauty busts open the hip suburb of Thornbury. Run by arts columnist Dan Rule and Monkhouse girl Justine Ellis, Perimeter is a champion of independent titles and short-run goodies. If you love to gorge yourself on the most obscure design magus, these guys are most likely packing.

Best for: the most awesomely obscure titles in town and the freaking cool contemporary art displayed on the walls.

Online shopping: Click-and-collect is available through the website, and you can save 10 per cent on your order with the code 'five2survive'. 

  • Kids
  • Carlton North

Bookshops are magical places, and the Little Bookroom is a fine example of providing that magic to adults and children alike. Stocking everything from picture books for toddlers to young adult fiction, comics, graphic novels and a carefully curated range of fiction and non-fiction for adults, the Little Bookroom has been supplying tomes to locals since the 1960s.

Best for: Stocking up on fun and educational books for the little ones in your life. 

Online shopping: You can pick up a click and collect order Mondays through Saturdays from 10am to 3pm, or you can take advantage of free local home delivery. 

  • Shopping
  • Book stores
  • Elsternwick

In a world where the humble bricks-and-mortar bookshop is under threat from online retailers, Avenue Bookstore is bucking the trend by doing a roaring trade in their Albert Park, Elsternwick and Richmond shops. The independently-owned shops stock a wide range of local and imported titles, with a particular focus on fiction, children's books, and non-fiction books in areas ranging from food and wine to architecture and design.

Best for: Independent fiction by local Australian authors and beautiful coffee table books. 

Online shopping: Avenue Bookstore is offering free local delivery within a 5km radius, and you can place your order on the website or over the phone. 

Get thrifty at these shops

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