Gee, the internet’s got a lot to answer for doesn’t it?
It’s killed off our video shops, decimated our music stores and our newspapers aren’t half feeling the pinch as well.
So it’s with great pleasure that we see book shops not only alive and well but, if possible, better than ever.
Recently thought to be headed the way of the dodo, the print book is perhaps thriving not just in spite of the web – but because of it.
The printed page is seen by many as an antedote to the inordinate amount of ‘screen time’ we log up each month.
And while sites like Amazon and Barnes and Noble or, more recently, Booktopia and the Book Depository, offer an incredible range and excellent prices, there’s still nothing quite like the wonderful energy, ambience and smell of a real, live book store.
Kaleido is a cosy shop that punches well above its weight. With each section wittily introduced on chalkboards (non-fiction: “we think this is true”), the shop is perfect for picking up something for the train, and is especially handy when you finish your read on the commute to work. They also embrace the ‘Blind Date With a Book’ phenomenon. No matter what you fancy, it’s a safe bet Kaleido will have you covered.
A Leederville staple for as long as I can remember, Oxford Street Books is open until 10.30pm on weeknights, making it perfect for browsing after a meal or a beer. The fiction section is plentiful, and there are some great selections in the photography and art sections too.
Beginning life on South Terrace in 1985, New Edition has shrunk from its halcyon days in the old bank building on High Street, and it now sits on the corner of High and Henry Streets. Nevertheless, it’s still the premier literary experience in the old Port, and you can spend hours browsing the extensive array of literary fiction and non-fiction.
Tucked down on William Street near the Horseshoe Bridge, Northside books is in our opinion the best book store in the city. Boasting a wonderful fiction section, the store’s art, design and photography corner is the perfect place to choose a gift for any arty loved ones.
Planet’s evolution over the past 10 years has been remarkable. From video shop, pop-culture mart, clothing store to the present Planet Books we see today. Fair to say, it’s a marvellous shopping experience. With range galore, plush seats to take a load off on a hot day, it’s an easy way to spend an hour.
Crow’s range is massive. Their shop borrows from Planet (leather couches? Pine shelving? Check) but it’s earned a loyal following. It’s easy to see why when you step inside – Crow is a book lover’s bookshop.
Really, there’s not much to choose from at the top four or five entries on this list, but Diabolik gets our nod. The staff are all book lovers, and are great for a chat and some recommendations. And, let’s face it – the only thing that could make a book shop better is to be a music shop as well. Diabolik’s vinyl stocks are brilliantly eclectic. Get along and check it out.