The recent Melbourne Writers Festival has brought out the bookworm in us. Who doesn’t love the smell and feel of a good book in their hands? While we’ve all got an immense digital library at our fingertips – nothing beats a long browse through a good bookstore, and then getting lost in the pages of a great, hardcopy book. Whether you’re looking for children’s literature, a special gift, the latest fiction, classics or specialist titles, the Mornington Peninsula has some excellent new and secondhand independent bookstores ready to welcome you in.
At the southern end of the Ninch, but well worth a drive no matter where you are, Antipodes is everything you want in a local bookstore. A beautiful selection of new and classic fiction and non-fiction is thoughtfully displayed, with an extensive, well-curated kids area downstairs. Antipodes hosts regular art exhibitions and displays of local artisan’s work, and runs an excellent program of events with various partners – from writer’s talks and launches to children’s storytimes. Plus, Prosecco Fridays after 2pm and an always impeccable soundtrack. Tick, tick!
138 Ocean Beach Rd, Sorrento. Open 7 days
A mainstay on Main St, the iconic Farrells has watched over the corner of Barkly St and the main drag since 1978. From last minute gifts, to ordering obscure overseas titles, Farrells is a great option whether you know exactly what you want, or you have no idea at all. Their knowledgeable staff can offer personalised recommendations, particularly for young adult readers (they also take a mean #bookfacefriday pic and get right into the spirit of Book Week, as pictured). Farrells hosts a regular program of writer’s talks and competitions as well as running an online shop and catalogue if you’d rather browse from home. A rewards program for regulars is a nice touch too.
143 Main St, Mornington. Open 7 days.
Books by the Bay
A treasure in the ‘good old-fashioned secondhand bookshop’ category. If the smell of old books and classic literature is your thing, Books by the Bay is a must visit. The digital revolution hasn’t dared enter the building – no online shop or even website here. But you can be sure the proprietor (a former Literature teacher) knows every book on the shelf and has likely read it. Mr Kouvelis will also buy your quality books for store credit and be sure to ask for a title if you can’t find it on the shelf – there’s a secret storeroom! Right on the Esplanade and overlooking Fishies (Fisherman’s beach), it’s next door to the wonderful Lilo Cafe, so there’s your entire afternoon sorted.
725 Esplanade Mornington. Thurs-Sun only.
Rosebud Book Barn
As the name suggests, the Book Barn is more focussed on utility than ambience, but don’t overlook this Pt Nepean Rd stalwart – it’s very handy when you’re looking for a particular kids book, best seller or new release. They also sell art supplies and games, so another great last minute gift option.
891 Point Nepean Road, Rosebud. Open 7 days.
The hidden op shops and vintage stores of the Ninch will often modestly hide some outrageously good and rare book finds. But if you want to go straight to the Holy Grail, Book Browser within the Tyabb Packing House is your go-to for secondhand and collectable books. Come with some time on your hands because this place is seriously big and you’ll want to explore the Packing House more generally. Book Browser will also buy your books, but they are currently massively overstocked, so call ahead. An excellent place to lose a day.
14 Mornington-Tyabb Road, Tyabb. Open Thurs-Sun only.
You’ll also find a bunch of beautiful art and food books at ShopAte Cafe in Mt Eliza; small but solid specialist selections at Home Goods Hardware in Balnarring, Somers General Store, Page 8, Saltbox and Luup in Mornington; and some kid’s delights at Tingo in Mount Martha.
Happy browsing book lovers!