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The Best Bookshops in Canberra

Even in the digital age, there’s nothing quite like reading a physical book. The weight, the cover, even the smell of the pages inspires us to read more.

To purchase a book, you’ll need to visit a bookshop. While there are less and less book stores than ever before, Canberra is home to a handful of real gems. These shops are worth a visit, even if you don’t plan on buying anything.

In this article, we’ll share our picks for the top bookshops in the Canberra region. If you don’t agree with our list, add your thoughts to the comments section below.

What Makes a Great Bookshop?

Bookshops should be an absolute pleasure to visit, and the best bookshops have us coming back again and again.

So, what separates the average bookshops from the very best? Here are the traits we believe are key:

  • An excellent range of books: Most people visit a bookshop for one thing, and one thing only – books. The best bookshops in Canberra have a fantastic range of bestsellers, independent publishers, children’s’ books, cookbooks, non-fiction, and more. If they don’t have the book you’re looking for, they should be willing to order it in if possible.
  • Friendly staff. The best bookshops have friendly, knowledgeable staff that are able to help with all of your book enquiries.
  • A great atmosphere. If you love to spend hours trawling through bookshops, flicking through anything that catches your eye, you’ll want to visit stores with a great atmosphere. Lighting, temperature, and music are all important factors.
  • Well priced. There is no denying the price benefits of shopping online for books. Physical bookshops should offer competitive pricing all year round.
  • Conveniently located. While the above features are all important, you’ll most likely visit the bookshop located in the most convenient spot. Whether that be near your home, or close to work in the city centre, the easier it is to access, the better.

The Top 5 Canberra Bookshops According to You

RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 19 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.

To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and maintain a minimum average of 4/5 stars on both Google and Facebook reviews.

We’ve done our research and come up with the top 5 bookshops in the Canberra region. If you’ve visited any, be sure to share your experience in the comments below.

Let’s get right into it.

Canty's Bookshop

Since 1993 Canty’s has been selling books and spreading their love of novels and nonfiction tales across Canberra. Canty and Luke provide their knowledge effortlessly and are happy to chat about other non-book related subjects also. A local well-stocked bookshop with variety and some rare finds. Facebook reviewer Judith says: ‘I loved it! I could have spent all day in there. The lady was helpful and friendly, and nice to chat to!

Book Lore

Located in Lyneham Mike Johnson’s bookshop and antiquarian is open 7 days. His selection of second hand books is extensive and he will endeavour to source a book if he doesn’t have it in stock. All the books and antiques are reasonably priced and share their own life story. Google reviewer Lee says: ‘One of those superb specialist bookshops run by people who really understand what good stock should look like.

The Curatoreum

Owners Mel and Richard have over 20 years experience in the arts and carefully curate all the items sold in both their National Portrait Gallery and National Arboretum stores. The range of gifts are sourced from Australian designers and the books are very rarely those seen in typical bookstores. Google reviewer Oz Lurker says: ‘Always a pleasure to visit what I think is one of the better themed bookshops in Canberra. They have a strong emphasis on art and design architecture.

Beyond Q

This cafe, bookshop and music venue newly relocated in Weston Creek guarantees an artistic experience with good fodder. Owners Simon and Jenny are welcoming and know their books. They’ll even buy your second hand books any day of the week. Unless it starts with a W, Wednesdays and Weekends are book selling only days! Google reviewer Lauren says: ‘Great browse and a relaxing spot to spend a day searching through old books, have a coffee and a read.

Impact Comics

Mal and Kam’s comic book shop is a big kids dream! Located in the city centre you don’t have to be a geek to appreciate their great collection of comics. With new shipments every week and a monthly Comic Book Club there are so many comic books to love in this place! Google reviewer Jess says: ‘Brilliantly geeky and full of pop culture. Staff are knowledgeable and always willing to help.

 Who did you pick?

 

Thanks to our commentators who have provided insightful feedback on the best and worst Canberra bookshops.

If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.

Please comment below detailing your experience with Canberra based bookshops. Who would you recommend? Who would you use again? Who would you steer clear of?


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