Gould's Book Arcade is something straight out of a fantasy novel: magnificent and just a bit terrifying. Located near Sydney University, the quantity and range of books can be a touch overwhelming at first before you even consider the stacks of vinyl, ancient videos and CDs, but once you master the eclectic system many wonders await.
The wonderful thing about this shop is how much attention it devotes to lesser known/more obscure genres. Overflowing shelves stretch endlessly over two floors. From a well-stocked fantasy section to action thrillers about planes via Star Wars comics (the place is a geek's heaven), it's more than likely you'll find what you're looking for. It's even open 'til midnight if you're really serious about books.
And should you not be able to, the staff are friendly and helpful. In fact, the whole atmosphere of Gould's is warm and inviting once you're used sheer size. It might not be sparkling and shiny like a Dymocks, but these guys love books and it shows – they really know their stuff. Books jostle for space with towering piles of vinyl and videos which constantly threaten to topple over.
One of the quirks of the place is the random piles of stuff, dotted here and there, including a whole collection of old National Geographic magazines for a dollar or two each. It's things like this that make it so easy to get lost or lose track of time in Gould's. In fact, if you're looking for an unusual present, chances are here's a great place to start.