When budgets get tight, there’s no better time to stay home and get acquainted – or reacquainted – with a good book. The local library is an obvious treasure trove, but there’s also a lasting romance to sifting through the musty wares of a secondhand bookshop until spotting an orphaned edition to take home. Melbourne and its suburbs boast a wide array of destinations for previously loved books, and with stock in constant rotation, that makes for a hobby that never exhausts itself.
Diverse and affordable tomes can be found in great volume at City Basement Books, an aptly titled CBD haven that you could stroll past hundreds of times before spotting. Book Affair has densely stocked locations in Carlton, Brunswick, and Fitzroy, while Alice’s Bookshop in North Carlton has a focus on antiquarian finds. And Carlton Secondhand Books at 678 Swanston St. doesn’t have a website, but it’s well worth a long, leisurely visit.
That’s just scratching the surface. There’s something wonderfully unique about every secondhand book shop, from learning the sections to sussing out the pricing. It’s a serene way to spend an afternoon, especially if you’re not sure what you’re after. You can even live up to the cliché and buy a book simply for its cover. Some of the best literary discoveries come from the most modest origins, after all.