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Sydney's Top Quirky and Specialty Book Stores

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by Lexa T (subscribe)
I love to unearth the layers of the story, finding the essence with my endless questions and what I sense. Enjoy the reads. Travel
Published May 24th 2012
Sydney's Quirky and Specialty Book Stores

Winter is the time for curling up in you Jim Jams, and reading a good book. (affectionately, Jim Jams are P.Jays, jarmies or pajamas)

But first you have to seek out those good books!
So don you winter woolies and hit the suburbs.

Here is a list of some quirky and specialty bookstores around Sydney where you can uncover some interesting reads, whatever your preference.

Number one on the Quirky List is the well known Gould's Book Arcade in Newtown.

It has been around since the 1960s and has become quite an institution for a wide variety of reasons and not all about the books.
The many layers of Gould's Book Arcade.

A word of warning before you venture into the store, you will have to be a bit of an adventurist as you search the million plus books stacked lazily on rickety shelves and haphazardly piled high on bare floors. Bob Gould created this place for books, not necessarily with people in mind, so learn to walk sideways down the aisles and be prepared to blow some dust off a 30 year old out of print book.
Practice walking sideways along the rows of books!

Dare yourself to remove 'that' book which is naturally on the bottom of a 40 book high pile, or you will have to find something to stand on to reach 'that' book way up on the top shelf near the ceiling.
Do you have what it takes or would you pass on pulling 'that' book out from the bottom of the pile?

I am not going to gloss over the aesthetics, they are what they are, and if you can get over that, you will find some incredible gems that even the State Library does not possess.

As you search the subjects you will get an insight into the mind of Bob Gould, his enthusiasm for world wide Left-Wing Politics, Military History, Philosophy, Science and all areas of human interest and endeavour.

Art, Poetry, Plays, Movies and Fiction and anything on Australiana, its history and of course, politics; you get the drift, he was an activist.

He died in 2011 from injuries he sustained during a fall from stacking books, a fitting departure for someone who left a legacy and an institution; aged 74.

Location: 32 King Street Newtown
Open 7 days

Holistic and Alternative Books

For those interested in 'Self Improvement', isn't that all of us?

Here is a list of some of Sydney's best alternative and holistic book stores to help chip away at those dreaded issues.

Phoenix Rising located in Glebe is Australia's largest specialist stockists in holistic books for the past twelve years.
Pheonix Book Store - Glebe.

Pick up a book to learn about your Higher Self, do a bit of Soul Searching with Meditation, Relationships or Parenting. Perhaps something on Anger Management, Acceptance, (after you gave up trying to get 'that' book from the bottom of the stack at Gould's Bookstore) Commitment or Law of Attraction (when you successfully reached for 'that' book) is what you seek.

Whatever you want to improve in an area of your life, they will have a book on it.

Then when the summer comes, you will be a brand new person and can look back to a productive winter.

Location: 31a Glebe Point Road, Glebe.

You don't have to leave home to browse through this book store. not through the cosmos, it is online.

Adyar Bookstore (Adyar, roughly translated, means peace) is the largest and most comprehensive range of Metaphysical and Alternative books online.

With access to over 2 million titles worldwide on subjects areas ranging from astrology, Buddhism, Comparative Religion, Eastern Medicine, Health, Jungian Psychology, Mythology, Self-help/psychology, Spirit Teachings, Theosophy, Western Mysteries, Yoga, and many, many more.

Adyar Online is owned by The Blavatsky Lodge of The Theosophical Society in Sydney.

Okay, this is where it gets deep and may be a little beyond comprehension for some.

"The Theosophical Society is an international, non-profit organisation whose Objects are to promote brotherhood without discrimination, and to encourage the study of comparative religion, philosophy and science, so that we can better understand ourselves and our place in the universe. The Society has no dogma and stands for freedom of individual search and belief." From Adyar website.

If you understand that, you are set to jump online and explore the mysteries of the universe and purchase a few good books, if not go off to the movies and watch Men in Black 3, then come back to the site.

Imagine the knowledge and understanding you will gain.

Phone: 9267 8509
Email for web orders, sales and general enquiries:

Antiquarian, Rare and Out-of-Print Australian Books

If you love everything about Australia and are an avid collector, head to Cornstalk Book Shop in Glebe.
Cornstalk Bookshop Glebe.

This is a true specialist in Antiquarian Australian Books.
Headings under History, Literature, The Arts, Sports, Transport, Reference and Collectibles.
Cornstalk Bookshop Glebe.

Subjects range from Aboriginal Art and History, Architecture, Bush ranging, Crime Fiction, Exploration, Life Saving, Military, Norman Lindsay, Poetry, Politics, Photography, True Crime and many more.

First editions and Fine bindings are worthy of browsing.
Just picking up a rarity in your hands, you feel the essence of our heritage.

You could become quite an authority on Australiana over winter.

Location:112 Glebe Point Road Glebe

Opening hours:
Monday - Saturday
Between 9am and 5pm

Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and Gaming Books

If you like to get lost in the dark side of life, these two little gems are just for you.

Galaxy Bookshop carries around 200,000 titles in Science Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Horror and Game Worlds books, as well as Pop Culture.

Having a number of friends who are right into Sci-Fi, they speak a totally different language when they get together and I feel quite out of the loop. One or two even turn up fully dressed Sci-Fi style to dinner parties and we all have a great time being thoroughly entertained with their knowledge and stories. They have no shame.
Galaxy Books, York Street Sydney.

They source books from world wide small publishers and with shipments arriving weekly you will always have a reason to return again and again.

May the force be with you.

Location: 131 York Street Sydney.
Open 7 days

Infinitas Bookstore is tucked away in an arcade in Parramatta, 20kms west of Sydney CBD.
Ininitas Book Shop - Parramatta.

Ininitas Book Shop - Parramatta.

They have been in operation since 1991, specialising in this whack culture of Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Gaming books with a strong community following.

Actually, I spent a day at the Eyecon Gaming convention this year and had a ball playing various complex fantasy board games complete with figurines. I can see how people get hooked.

They are closed on Sundays and only open 9am - 2pm Saturdays, so you will have to ditch the shopping on Saturday morning to explore their stock.

Every 1st Thursday of the month, they hold Board Games, and
Every 2nd Thursday, they have an Urban Fantasy book club.

A great place to share your secret obsessions with fellow Sci Fi and gaming fans.

Location: Shop 22 Civic Arcade 48 - 50 George Street, Parramatta.
Open Mon - Sat
Closed Sunday

Comic Books

Comics are books, just smaller with lots of pictures!

If you never grew out of your love for comic books, stock up on your secret stash in this book store.

When it comes to comics, Kings Comics are the Kings.

All your super hero's under one roof, well at least in book form. Let your imagination run riot as you flip through the highly coloured action packed books.

You have to wear a red cape and mask to read these at home
as they take you back to fond memories of your childhood when your vocabulary consisted of...
Copyright: UltraViolet

If you feel a little more sophisticated, browse through their huge range of graphic novels.

Say no more.

Location: 310 Pitt Street, Sydney
Open 7 Days.
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Why? Explore some of Sydney's Quirky and Specialty Bookstores
When: Anytime
Where: All over Sydney
Cost: Just some time browsing
Your Comment
this is a great read. I love this writers journals and they are always cleverly written! Barry Starr
by espre (score: 1|14) 3202 days ago
Sounds like an excellent place!!! Yet another to put on the list to try and get to!
by Ashleigh Meikle (score: 2|262) 3201 days ago
Thank you so much Barry for taking the time to read the article. I am very touched by your sentiment. It is so good to know you can place a smile on another's face.
Cheers, Lexa
by Lexa T (score: 3|1070) 3201 days ago
Oh this is great, I've been trying to look around for a good list of bookshops. Thank you =]
by Luna (score: 0|8) 3101 days ago
There is a new one in Willoughby:
Love Vintage Books - really cute store, so well put together with such a great range of old kids books.
by somea (score: 0|2) 2410 days ago
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