I really enjoy olde-worlde, classic bookshops, the sort of shop where you browse dusty, musty, narrow corridors lined with tomes on topics you never imagined anyone would write about. A sort of serendipitous exploration of mental delight, an antidote to the filtered clickbait and emotion-tugs that is the sad addiction and mental decay of social media.
I’ve made a list of Classic Bookshops (with assistance and suggestions from others) because I value them and wish to keep them alive. So, if people know they exist, they’ll get business, and continue to exist for all to enjoy. For those that enjoy country drives then visiting a few might make for a decent weekend outing. And typically such bookshops are close to a decent cafe so mind and body can be refueled in one stop. There was a Cars & Coffee culture pre-COVID, now maybe we can do Cars & Books.
To qualify for inclusion the bookshop must:
- Sell weird and wonderful books on a variety of subjects, and either be a bookshop, or a shop which has enough books to keep you browsing for a solid hour
- Have a large secondhand section (history has so much to teach us, more than the next cat video)
- Be outside of a CBD (because I like the idea of travelling from one to next, a bookclub crawl if you will, except there’s no crawling)
- Be anywhere in Australia, although I want to focus on Victoria, don’t want to lose a good shop elsewhere as I often wander interstate and if I’m going to stop somewhere random, a Classic Bookshop is as good a place as any.
No high street chains with antiseptic, brightly lit rows of bestsellers and selfhelps. A Classic Country Bookshop is its own selfhelp.
The map below shows all the Classic Country Bookshops that I know of, and the route from Melbourne CBD to Ballarat would take around 4 hours, 270km, not allowing for stops, but I’ve taken sportscar-friendly routes – there are more direct options.
If you know of more, contact me, otherwise get out there and enjoy the books!
Of course, you could always buy my books...