As the temperature outside drops, the inclination to buy books skyrockets. These are our favourite bookshops from around Adelaide.
The best places in Adelaide to buy books
As the years go by, decades pass and the number of apps on your phone exponentially increases, one piece of old-school technology remains timeless: a good book.
What’s your favourite Adelaide bookshop?
Let us know.
Whether you’re following trends on BookTok, wanting to wade into a discussion with an online fandom, or you’ve got a book-club full of book-club snobs you need to keep up with, keeping up with ink and paper remains unmatched.
Just as we refuse to judge a book by its cover, CityMag refuses to judge a bookshop by its exterior, and so we’ve travelled far and wide to find the best bookshops in Adelaide so you don’t have to.
Happy reading, or happy blissful, aimless browsing in your new favourite bookstore.
a flat shop
2/25 Gresham Street, Adelaide 5000
A flat shop is best known for its vintage designer clothing, with brands such as Comme Des Garçons, Issey Miyake and Helmut Lang. With one-off, second-hand designer pieces sourced from around the world, a flat shop is the perfect space for any cult fashion lover. But they’ve also got a great range of printed matter, such as coffee table fashion books from the ’90s and vintage magazines. It’s a collection unseen in any other Adelaide book store. Take a trek up the hefty flight of stairs and find a fashion oasis.
60 Pulteney Street, Adelaide 5000
Although Clarity Records is best known for its extended vinyl collection, it also has an extensive range of books to choose from. The book range is best suited to music lovers with a passion for the history of the greats. Ranging from autobiographies of Aussie rock greats Silverchair (with a very ’00s cover), to a collection of The Rolling Stones’ best moments, you’ll find books suited for everyone from your grandma to your teenage cousins in their ‘too cool’ era.
Regent Theatre Level 1, Shop 45 101/107 Rundle Mall, Adelaide 5000
Travelling from the grubbiness of Rundle Mall to the booktopia at Dymocks Rundle Mall is as awe-inducing as stepping into New York City’s Grand Central Station for the first time. This new era of Dymocks goes against everything a chain bookstore is about. It’s personal yet grand, and simply a beautiful space to be in when searching for your next favourite beach read. With anything and everything in written form available to choose from, Dymocks Rundle Mall is a book lovers’ playground.
107 Hindley Street, Adelaide 5000
Located in Adelaide’s West End, Imprints should always be your first stop when looking for new releases and contemporary titles. The shop also posts its newly acquired secondhand books on Instagram, whetting the appetite of the Adelaide reading set. There is also a small selection of magazines and literary journals available beside the counter, and every so often they host book launches and signings from local and not-local writers (Nick Cave was a recent visitor).
New Morning Books
155 Frome Road, Adelaide 5000
Liverpudlian founder of New Morning Books, John Scott, started out as a campus bookseller, and this is how he runs his store today – interesting titles at an affordable price. This philosophy, that knowledge should be accessible, extends to the idea that New Morning will stock the highest literature to the most base propaganda, because, as he told us in 2022, he believes in the “importance of literacy and literature in democracy”.
19 Bank Street, Adelaide 5000
Established in 1957 by Reg O’Connell, O’Connell’s Bookshop is the oldest antiquarian and second-hand bookshop in Adelaide. A hectic mess of books is scattered throughout the shop, in something akin to organised chaos. The range is vast and suited to people looking for old and new reads. Third-generation owner, Ben O’Connell, waddles around with his sociable whippet Oscar, and befriends all who step into the literature retreat.
Shop 26, Adelaide Arcade, Adelaide 5000
The handpicked book selection at Orchard Bookshop is like walking into a collector’s wonderland. On the day CityMag visited, we spied a shrine to the one and only Ziggy Stardust. The collector’s cabinet was filled with Bowie books, including David Bowie: Black Book, the definitive collection by Barry Miles and Chris Charlesworth featuring previously unseen images of the icon. However, what Orchard is best known for is their unique collection of classics. The rarest book spotted in a locked cabinet, was the 1st US edition version of Animal Farm by George Orwell, which retails for $950.
Shop 2/15 Vaughan Place, Adelaide 5000
Tucked away on Vaughan Place just off Rundle Street, Streetlight is an independent record store with an interesting selection of books. The shop pays homage to music greats in both record and written form. Books range from hard-cover memoirs of all-time-great musicians to orange-covered Penguin classics.
168 Main Road, Blackwood 5051
Take a foggy drive-up Belair Road into Blackwood and find a secondhand bookstore with a sci-fi specialty. Blackwood Books also has a great selection of Agatha Christie novels, and staff willing to direct you to the best way into the author’s work (if the recent Knives Out-inspired focus on mystery stories has hit you like it did us). BB has a sister store in Goodwood (similarly named Goodwood Books) that is specialises in feminist literature.
East Avenue Books
53 East Avenue, Clarence Park 5034
Running for 14 years, East Avenue Books is known for its extensive collection of Penguin Classics, making for a technicolour welcome when you walk inside. Among the many Penguins are the less-often seen King Penguin Books – small hardbacks with vibrant covers and colour illustrations within their pages. The shop also carries a lot of first editions, including a copy of Goldfinger that will set you back a pretty penny.
6/169 Port Road, Aldinga 5173
Located in a literary hovel on the border of the Aldinga Arts Eco Village, Unbound has a collection of second-hand books you won’t find anywhere else. The shop, which was originally located on High Street in Willunga, was kickstarted with a donation from a former philosophy lecturer, which set a tone of interesting and difficult-to-find works from well-known and not-so-well-known authors.
160-166 The Parade, Norwood 5067
The sheer volume of books at Dillons is worth the trip to Norwood alone. In fact, no trip to The Parade is complete without heading into Dillons for a requisite 20 minutes of sifting between categories. There are best-selling novels, fashion books, self-help guides and recipe collections. Dillons is South Australia’s largest family-owned bookshop – which, walking through the many aisles of their range, is no surprise to us.
1/8 Mt. Barker Road, Stirling 5152
Nestled in a bank of shops in Stirling, Matilda Bookshop has a broad collection of new and contemporary releases. There is also a cute and cosy spot for the kids to browse, and story times events to keep them occupied while you dig into some South Australian releases.