21 May 2018

Best of Canberra callout – secondhand bookshops

| Gabrielle Kneipp
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There is a continuous debate regarding hardcopy or digital when it comes to books.

I own a Kindle and it is the perfect companion when travelling, easy to download hundreds of books to one place while on the move and compact for fitting in with all your belongings. I love it. Conversely, there is also something comforting about having a shelf full of your favourite books in the living room to re-read or lend to a friend.

At the weekend, the Lifeline book fair raised more than half a million dollars for the crisis service. Who says that books are dead?

So are you an avid reader? Do you enjoy poring through the bookshelves of secondhand bookstores, discovering hidden gems and departing with an armful of books?

Let me know your favourite place to mull through the shelves in the comments below. I’ll visit the two most popular bookstores and decide the verdict in next week’s article.

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I second Canty’s in Fyshwick. It’s really excellent, both in terms of titles available and the feel of the shop (it’s great to wander around). Barry’s Books is in the same strip, but I believe he is looking to close down once he has shifted the bulk of his stock. Beyond Q in Curtin is a close second behind Canty’s.

I don’t think that owning (and loving) an e-reader is mutually exclusive with loving books. Kindles and Kobos are excellent for travelling and handbags – but I have been known to buy both the electronic copy and a hard copy of books that I really love! They serve different purposes for different people.

pink little birdie11:04 am 18 Feb 16

I vote for Canty’s in Fyshwick. It has quite a large range of books and when I’ve gone in for the specifics modern fiction they generally have it.

And now in that same court there is another secondhand bookshop which for some reason has American books that you can’t get here easily (and by easily I mean you can’t go buy them at a regular bookshop).
When Gaslight was open Fyshwick was often a specific book shopping trip (Our fave genre you could only get 2nd hand).

I second BeyondQ. It is one of those wonderful hidden treasures we have in Canberra, and their Café is also a treasure. How can say no when they actually grate Belgian chocolate onto the Capuccinos! Their healthy prepped lunch plates are a treat as well.

I have 2 Kindles for travel but they are inordinately clumsy and poorly designed for browsing. I bought the second to get the Paperwhite technology but they chopped a bunch of features off the later model when they updated the model. As a designer and Mac user I find the Kindle User Interface clumsy, antiquated and unco-operative.

I have a very large personal library and enjoy the content, feel and look of real books. Sadly their days are numbered. Maybe it will be like vinyl records, after putting up with the second rate substitute for long enough, the next generation will finally realise what they have been missing.

Charlotte Harper7:58 am 18 Feb 16

BeyondQ at Curtin shops would be my pick. I could spend hours in there. Years even. It’s like the Lifeline Book Fair but all year round.
A book loving friend used to work at Book Lore at Lyneham, but I haven’t been for years.
Canty’s at Fyshwick is an old Canberra favourite too, but again, it’s been a while since I’ve visited.
For military history, try Alexander Fax in Mawson.
School fetes are excellent source of secondhand books. The Grammar school fetes especially. CGS fete is April 2, 10am-3pm. CGGS is usually third weekend in October.

I read books, but I don’t have a huge book collection, as after I read the book I give most away. I don’t hoard most books. I tend to only buy one or two books at a time, as I need them.

Not a bookstore as such, but the Lifeline Book Fair is a great place to pick up second hand books for cheap.

I know its not a actual bookshop, but I love getting my books from Down Memory Lane on Geelong St in Fyshwick.
They have a great range of every topic and genre you can imagine, and there always seems to be something new no matter how often you visit. And you get the added bonus of all the other fantastic second hand and vintage goodies that they have.

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