The capital of books is Canberra

Posted 14 Aug 2019

Story by CBR Canberra

Searching for that fresh ink and paper aroma? Excited by shelves of choice? Perhaps an inspiring place to sit back with a literary classic while visiting Canberra?

Here’s where you can browse for a great holiday read (and a cool place to enjoy your purchase) in the nation’s capital.

browsing their selection of new and second-hand books. With a regular line-up of literary events and a delicious menu – did somebody say ‘bottomless brunch’? – you won’t want to go home.

Four in one

Right in the city at shopping mecca Canberra Centre you can find a great selection of paperbacks and browsing zones. Robinsons Bookshop, Dymocks and QBD Books all present a vast array of genres as well as gift ideas. Pop into Pepe’s Paperie for the finest stationery, notebooks and more. What more could you really ask for?

Ask Harry

Harry Hartog Bookseller is a warm and inviting bookstore with old-fashioned service and local treats. There’s a shop at Westfield Woden on Canberra’s southside, as well as an Australian National University outlet, which stocks textbooks and ANU clothing, and hosts regular masterclasses and author talks.

Casual and cosy

Grab a second-hand classic from Book Lore in Lyneham, then head next door and tuck yourself into one of the comfy booths at Tilley’s Devine Café. The ambience of dim lighting and lounge music is like nothing else in Canberra. Grab a meal, coffee or select something from the bar. You’ll spot plenty of writers typing their latest work at this Canberra charm.


A Manuka institution, Paperchain is an independent bookstore staffed by experienced and attentive locals. If you want to know something about a particular book or author, this is where you can get the information you need. Located close to restaurants and cafes in Manuka, grab a book and then seek out a neighbouring feast.


Visit The Green Shed Underground on City Walk for an eclectic selection of second-hand books (and a huge range of other seconds). After you have browsed the shelves, head across to historic King O’Malley’s Irish Pub for a pint.

Two people enjoying a cup of coffee infront of the stain glass windows at Bookplate, a cafe nestled in the heart of the National Library of Australia.

Enjoying a cuppa at Bookplate, a cafe nestled in the heart of the National Library of Australia. Photo: Mark Nolan


When it comes to books, you really can’t miss a visit to the National Library of Australia. See rare exhibitions and go on discovery tours. Take a break at the aptly named café, Bookplate, with its stunning stained-glass backdrop and delicious treats. They also have a large sun-soaked outdoor dining space, so you can happily while away your day at Bookplate.

Keep exploring

Check out Beyond Q in Weston for a moody mix of books and café fare, as well as live music. Independent bookseller, Book Passion at the Belconnen Fresh Food Markets is a calm, inviting home to a selection to suit every preference.

There are also lots of other options all across Canberra, with some excellent second-hand outlets in Fyshwick.

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