Best Book Shops

When it comes to investing in a new page-turner, there are plenty of options to choose from. While for some readers buying books is strictly about finding the right book at the right price, for others the experience of buying a book also counts. Continue Reading...

  • Services (28,031)
    • Shops (13,537)
      • Book Shops (56)
      • Online (7,447)
      • Physical (5,731)
      • Home & Garden Shops (4,186)
      • Beauty & Fashion Shops (1,865)
Brand
Search brand...
Rating
Shop Type

Based on 52,135 reviews
Booktopia

Booktopia

4.8  (32,802) Summary
  • Thumbnail
  • Thumbnail
  • Thumbnail
  • See all
    Thumbnail
Arty
Arty2 posts
 
Efficiently handledThe book order was promptly actioned and delivered. It was well packaged, so no chance of damage.
Fontaine Publishing Group

Fontaine Publishing Group

5.0  (173) Summary
  • Thumbnail
  • Thumbnail
  • Thumbnail
  • See all
    Thumbnail
Cantonment Hill Friends
Cantonment Hill Friends
 
Efficient and professionalPrinting our children's book, Counting on the Hill, with Fontaine Publishing was a delight. Jason really understood our book and we agreed very easily on the format. We are delighted with the quality of the paper and of the books production. Show details
Angus & Robertson

Angus & Robertson

4.7  (5,195) Summary
  • Thumbnail
  • Thumbnail
  • Thumbnail
  • See all
    Thumbnail
graff_the_world
graff_the_worldQLDSouth East Queensland, QLD3 posts
 
Angus & Robertson
Angus & Robertson   DM   
More
isubscribe

isubscribe

4.6  (814) Summary
Elizabeth
Elizabeth
  Verified
Amazing customer serviceI am so grateful to Isabella for ironing out the problems with my subscriptions. Receiving duplicate copies of magazines every time I renew my subscriptions is so frustrating but one call to Isabella and problem solved. These days it's very unusual to get both friendly and efficient customer service that this is a standout. Show details ·  1
Magshop

Magshop 🏆 2024

4.4  (5,297) Summary
  • Thumbnail
  • Thumbnail
  • Thumbnail
  • See all
    Thumbnail
OWL
OWL2 posts
  Fair Incentive
Happy chappyVery good, but not totally seamless. Got the job done.
Bookabuy

Bookabuy

4.8  (67) Summary
  • Thumbnail
  • Thumbnail
  • See all
    Thumbnail
Nicole M.
Nicole M.VICGreater Melbourne (Inner), VIC
 
Gone bust, no refundThis was a marvellous company, however they've gone bust since COVID and haven't refunded any ongoing monthly orders Show details
Zookal

Zookal

4.2  (693) Summary
  • Thumbnail
  • Thumbnail
  • Thumbnail
  • See all
    Thumbnail
Branlen
BranlenWAPerth, WA
  Fair Incentive Verified
Memorable Customer ServiceI am so impressed by the quality of customer service by Zookal – always helpful and gracious in all correspondence and understood the customer's perspective, making me feel valued at all times.

The quality of customer service skill has left a memorable impression. Show details ·  1

World of Books (Wob)

World of Books (Wob)

4.0  (2,581) Summary
  • Thumbnail
  • Thumbnail
  • Thumbnail
  • See all
    Thumbnail
C B SA
C B SA2 posts
 
Book arrived on timeMy book arrived in brand new condition as ordered within the stated 21 working days. Show details ·  1
Campion Education

Campion Education

3.9  (1,901) Summary
  • Thumbnail
  • Thumbnail
  • Thumbnail
  • See all
    Thumbnail
Kirsty S.
Kirsty S.VICGreater Melbourne (Metropolitan), VIC
 
Fast deliveryLoved the fact that in a matter of a couple of days of ordering my child's books they were delivered to his school.
Will use the service again Show details ·  1
Dymocks

Dymocks

3.4  (1,145) Summary
  • Thumbnail
  • Thumbnail
  • Thumbnail
  • See all
    Thumbnail
Julie H.
Julie H.14 posts
  Online Store
Book markVery impressive was happy with order and the service I received Show details
Brotherhood Books

Brotherhood Books

5.0  (17) Summary
LeonGov
LeonGovVICGreater Melbourne (Metropolitan), VIC3 posts
 
The Book Depository

The Book Depository

2.7  (774) Summary
  • Thumbnail
  • Thumbnail
  • Thumbnail
  • See all
    Thumbnail
Erica
Erica
  Verified
Koorong

Koorong

2.9  (37) Summary
Gotwe
GotweQLDSouth East Queensland, QLD
  Verified
The book that never arrivedI ordered a book over 5 weeks ago online and it ha still not arrived. I emailed their customer service which promises a response in one to two days,however and after a week there has been no response. I will not buy books from them again ! Show details
QBD

QBD

2.3  (191) Summary
  • Thumbnail
  • Thumbnail
  • Thumbnail
  • See all
    Thumbnail
Jayne
JayneQLDCentral West, QLD
 
Collins Booksellers

Collins Booksellers

3.5  (12) Summary
Jacob
JacobVICGippsland, VIC3 posts
  Fair Incentive
Excellent Service - Fast DeliveryI ordered a book that I've been looking for ages...
Super fast delivery (2 working days)
I can see it was packaged with a lot of care. (Very much appreciated)
Boomerang Books

Boomerang Books

2.5  (24) Summary
Shell
ShellVICGreater Melbourne (Metropolitan), VIC4 posts
 
Readings.com.au

Readings.com.au

2.9  (15) Summary
Deb H.
Deb H.WAPerth, WA3 posts
 
Doug
DougNewhaven
 
Book arrived almost instantaneouslyExcellent level of communication and great service. . Australian Online Bookshop had a book that I had been searching for everywhere and I was very pleased to finally locate it and once paid for it arrived very quickly and is just what I wanted. I can recommend this shop to everyone.

 Show details

Biblio.com

Biblio.com

3.2  (9) Summary
  • Thumbnail
  • Thumbnail
  • Thumbnail
  • See all
    Thumbnail
Phil
Phil
 
What a Great ServiceQuick and Efficient and very well packed too. Booklovers helped by this company covering a wide range of books and suppliers , and bringing delight to your door , in the shape of a book you always wanted. Show details
AbeBooks.com

AbeBooks.com

2.5  (14) Summary
Nicole Stein
Nicole SteinVICGreater Melbourne (Metropolitan), VIC5 posts
  Verified
Non deliverySellers are not required to provide tracking and so 2 books have not been delivered. Show details
Abbey's Bookshop

Abbey's Bookshop

5.0  (3) Summary
narrabeen
narrabeenNSWSydney, NSW22 posts
 
Beautifully wrappedJust found a beautifully wrapped book with a personal note inside. Delivered to the doorstep. A good read given as a well presented gift. Show details
car owner
car owner5 posts
 
Berkelouw Books

Berkelouw Books

3.2  (6) Summary
TraceyM
TraceyMNSWSydney, NSW4 posts
 
Best place to find a new or second hand bookWe love going to the Paddington or Hornsby store. We love finding new books and we often find ourselves coming home with a new file of books. They have such a great range and the staff are always friendly. Show details
Audible

Audible

1.4  (133) Summary
  • Thumbnail
  • Thumbnail
  • Thumbnail
  • See all
    Thumbnail
Haider K
Haider K11 posts
 
The Co-op

The Co-op

1.4  (146) Summary
Justin
Justin
 
Co-op book storeLiterally THE WORST way to buy text books. They are TERRIBLE with time, delivery and contact/support. DO NOT USE THEM!!! They need to close their doors, they are not viable as a business in ANY WAY that is legitimate. They do not deliver on time AND I PAID FOR EXPRESS.. Show details
Harry Hartog

Harry Hartog

3.8  (4) Summary
Steven K
Steven KNSWSydney, NSW
 
Bookpal

Bookpal

3.2  (5)
Joe
JoeQLDSouth East Queensland, QLD2 posts
  Verified
A reliable Australian publishing companyEverything is done efficiently and effectively in Australia and not through some overseas call centre. Furthermore, royalty payments from overseas and within Australia are timely.

 Show details

Kinokuniya

Kinokuniya

3.0  (5) Summary
James G.
James G.2 posts
 
The Book Grocer

The Book Grocer

5.0  (2) Summary
IonAus
IonAusQLDSouth East Queensland, QLD35 posts
 
Folio Books

Folio Books

5.0  (2) Summary
Beckstar
BeckstarQLDSouth East Queensland, QLD11 posts
 
Best bookstore in BrisbaneSo sad I think its closed. Hope it reopens, it was the best bookstore Brisbane had Show details
Readings Kids bookshop, a colourful independent bookshop in Carlton, Victoria.
Readings Kids bookshop in Carlton, Victoria.

Online vs physical book shops

Visiting a book shop

Pros
In-person customer service means you can ask questions about books, get book recommendations, and let staff point you in the right direction
Supporting local business and local jobs is an upside of buying books in-store, particularly for independent bookshops
Returning or exchanging books is often easier (particularly if you shop at a chain store) as you don’t have to bother with going to the post office
A sense of community can be created through shared interests. Bookshops often host events like poetry readings and author signings.
No delivery costs as you're buying from the physical store
Cons
More expensive than online bookstores, as books are usually always sold at the recommended retail price (RRP), and sales are infrequent
Increased closures of physical bookshops means that there may be less available shops to browse in your local area

Benefits of physical book shops

There are plenty of benefits of buying in-store if you value a positive customer experience, interacting with knowledgeable bibliophiles in the form of well-read staff, and being able to read the blurb and flick through the pages before placing your new book over the counter.

As a point of note, not all book retailers operate either solely online or in-store. For example, Dymocks and Collins bookshops allow you to buy online, if you prefer.

Buying books online

Pros
Cheaper prices are often offered, in the form of a permanent discount on the RRP
Easy and convenient as you can browse and order books from the comfort of your home, even your bed if you like
Cons
Shipping and delivery fees must be paid for the majority of online book retailers. With some online stores, spending over a certain amount waives the delivery fee.
Time delay between ordering your books and receiving them means you have to patiently wait for your new volumes to arrive
Customer service is limited to enquiries about transactions, not book-related questions or book recommendation requests
A lack of community as most buying involves a fairly solitary process using a computer screen
Can be a hassle to return books, especially if the retailer headquarters are located far away or overseas

Benefits of online book stores

There are a growing number of online book retailers, both within the country and operating overseas and shipping to Australia. A few popular online bookshops include Booktopia, rated the number one bookshop on ProductReview.com.au, and Book Depository, based in the UK.

In a nutshell, online bookstores are usually cheaper than physical book shops. They can afford to be more competitive because they don’t have to factor in added costs like rent, utilities and staff wages.

If finding cheap books is what you prioritise, then buying online is probably the way to go. Just keep in mind that there's often a standard shipping rate. To ensure that the amount of money you save on cheaper books isn't cancelled out by paying delivery fees, it can help to order several books at a time.

Is it bad to buy books online?

Some background

A number of physical book stores have closed in recent years, because they simply cannot compete with online bookshops. In Sydney this includes the kids bookstore the Children’s Bookshop in Beecroft, Pages & Pages in Mosman and Lindfield Bookshop & Children’s Bookshop. Unfortunately, from a business perspective it’s cheaper to run an online store compared to a physical one.

The emergence and ongoing success of online bookstores can be a tricky subject for book lovers - especially the owners and staff of physical book shops.

Increasingly tough retail conditions and the fact that physical stores are continually losing customers to online book stores is a sore point. Sometimes readers step into a physical bookshop to browse the titles, then go back home to order their selections online. This behaviour is sometimes known as 'showrooming.'

The outcome

For some readers, the phenomenon in recent years of book store closures makes them loyal to only buying from brick and mortar book stores. For others, the book retailer that can offer the lowest price will always get their book money. Ultimately, this depends on you and your personal preference, as buying from a physical book store or online book shop is neither inherently good nor bad - it depends on a number of variables.

In one instance, you may need to buy a last minute birthday gift for a friend. You have the perfect book in mind - but need to buy it and wrap it before their birthday party at the end of the day. In this case, a physical book store is going to be the only type of store that can help you.

Or perhaps you'd rather shop in-store, but your local bookstore doesn't have particularly helpful or friendly customer service (it can happen!) In this case, you may feel absolutely no ethical obligation to support that book store instead of buying your books online. It really depends on the situation.

Interestingly, some book stores have adapted to changing consumer trends by switching to becoming solely online due to the increased financial viability. An example is Angus & Robertson, which became an online book shop in 2011 after 125 years of physical bookselling.

Chain bookstores vs Independent bookstores

Chain bookstores

Chain bookstores are usually large companies. They have a recognisable brand name that shows up in several locations throughout Australia. They are usually Australian bookshops, but some have their base overseas, such as Kinokuniya, based in Japan.

Some chain bookstores are franchise-operated, such as Dymocks, while others are company owned, such as QBD The Bookshop.

Independent bookshops

Independent bookstores are standalone bookstores. They’re one-of-a-kind bookshops that aren’t controlled by a larger corporate structure, and are usually locally owned.

They’re often full of quirk and character. When you think of an independent bookshop, you might picture a bookseller with a calm smile and hipster glasses who reads Kafka, and casually impresses with their encyclopaedic knowledge of relatively unknown books.

The books you find in an independent bookstore often embrace diversity - culturally, linguistically, and historically. Catering to more than just mainstream likes, they're good for sourcing niche books for readers with specific interests.

Comparing the two - The similarities

While it’s likely that you’ve heard bibliophiles speaking passionately about the value of independent bookstores, both chain bookstores and independent bookshops have their merit.

It’s important and only fair to note that many chain bookstores are franchises, and so locally owned and often family-owned, too. Provided they're well managed, these chain bookstores are just as likely to be the favourite literary watering hole of locals as an independent bookshop is.

Both independent bookshops and chain bookstore are places where you can engage in the fun activity of browsing books. Whether it’s the calm, quiet atmosphere or the ability to flick through the pages at your leisure, for book lovers there's something undeniably magical about holding a potential new book in your hands and getting to know it.

Comparing the two - The differences

CriteriaIndependent bookstoresChain bookstores
Range of booksUnique and extensive range of books beyond the bestsellers and new releases list . Can often have books on niche topics.Mainly have titles from major publishers, but can special order books into the store at customer’s request
Authors stockedOften buy from ‘indie’ or self-published authors, and smaller publishing housesSometimes buy from indie authors, at the store’s discretion
Feel-good factorHelp local economy as they’re often locally-owned small businessesAlso help the local economy when individual stores are franchises. Many are also family-owned businesses.
Community eventsOften have plenty of community events, including: book signings, book clubs, poetry readings, reading groups, and storytime events for kidsAlso have community events, but may not be as extensive as independent bookstores. Author talks and book signings can be common.
Store appearanceOne-of-a-kind in terms of shop set-up, display, and stock selectionMore consistent experience across stores, including consistent branding and storefront appearance.

Is it better to buy new or used books?

Woman browsing in large used bookshop
Photo credit: Nathan Williams, flickr.

Range of books

Buying second hand books can be a thrilling experience. When you walk into a second-hand book store, the element of surprise is high. It’s hard to predict what little gems you may find.

A used book store will have a higher number of older books than new book shops, which is more likely to stock older books if their popularity is ongoing. Second-hand book stores also have a wider selection of books that are no longer in print.

On the flipside, the cataloguing system in used book shops is not always as accurate as you’d find in a shop selling new books. Their shelving system may also be a little more chaotic than the orderly rows you'd encounter in a chain book store. As a result, if you’re looking for a specific title, it may be trickier to track down inside a second-hand bookshop.

Price

While used books are often cheaper than new books, this isn’t always the case.

There are certain independent bookshops that are entirely second-hand, but the sticker price on many of the books might surprise you. Perhaps it’s because the book is rarer, but high prices can be the norm, even on popular titles from major publishing houses.

Condition of books

It goes without saying that used books are pre-loved, so they won’t come in the pristine condition that new books are sold in. Sometimes a bit of age adds character to a book, and at the end of the day the contents inside are the same as if the book was brand new.

Environmentally friendliness

When you buy second-hand books, you’re essentially recycling a book. This doesn’t generate demand for new products, which saves paper as well as the energy associated with printing new books.

Do bookstores only sell books?

Some bookstores don’t just sell books, and their range expands into other merchandise. Most commonly, this includes audiobook CDs, novelty gifts, stationery and even sheet music. Kinokuniya is also known for being a manga and comic book store.

Wrapping up

Overall, where you choose to buy your books boils down to personal preference. Whether you buy new books or used books either in-store or online turns on what you prioritise most on your book buying journey.

These priorities can include: a low price, personable customer service, convenience, having a wide range of books to choose from, having your books available to read instantly, and having a sense of community with fellow book lovers.

©  ProductReview.com.au Pty. Ltd. All Rights Reserved. General disclaimer: All third party trademarks, images and copyrights on this page are used for the purpose of comparative advertising, criticism or review. This is a public forum presenting user opinions on selected products and businesses, and as such the views expressed do not reflect the opinion of ProductReview.com.au. Further details in the disclaimer.