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.
Owners Dan and Paul met in Beijing where they spent many hours at a bookshop for expats and now they’ve bought the idea home to Canberra. The Muse is where people can share good food, wine and stories. Head in to read, eat or drink or combine all three! Google reviewer Alexander says: ‘I just can’t fault this simple and elegant space. It’s so wonderful to be able to wander in and peruse the great collections of books before sitting down to Dinner.’
Dymocks is Australia’s oldest owned bookstore and the Canberra store has been operating for over 25 years. With a newly refurbished space and loads of author talks and meets, Manager Karina is helpful, experienced and well read. Google reviewer Jon says: ‘Well laid out with a great selection and very helpful staff.’
For over 15 years Ron’s has been a favourite among Canberran readers. Hardbacks and paperbacks spill over the shelves and on to the floor making this a great find for anyone who considers themselves a bookworm. Ron’s is also open every day of the week! Google reviewer Jason says: “A remarkable (staggering, actually!) range of books and a very pleasant, not-at-all pushy owner.“
Manager Steve stocks Paperchain Bookstore with a variety of books for all kinds of readers. This independent bookshop based in Manuka and opened in 1982 also boasts an online store with fast delivery and above all friendly local service. Facebook reviewer Rhi says: ‘I highly recommend paperchain bookstore for new readers, avid book collectors and library owners alike.’
Located in Belconnen markets, this unique bookshop has handpicked titles for children as well as adults including fiction and nonfiction and everything in between. Owner Leisha is all about customer service and if she doesn’t have what you want, she’ll happily order it in for you! Google reviewer Ana says: ‘A rare find! Bookshop where all the books are lovingly curated and the staff are able to make great recommendations for different readers.’
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?