Books; where words dance through your conscious and into your subconscious, coming together in such a whimsical way through your brilliant imagination.
No two people could ever read the same book because pictures that our mind puts together while reading, are built on columns held up by our experiences, attitudes, opinions, thoughts and knowledge. That is the alchemy of books.
In our world that is fast becoming digital and tech savvy, are we losing the magic and beauty that books bring us? Is Amazon, Kindle and Audible becoming predominant over spending hours lingering around in a bookshop or library, reading blurbs and running your hands over endless spines?
I went on a quest to find the answers to these questions and what better place to look then inside the bookshops that reside in our delightful city.
Take a stroll up Murray Street and turn left into Shafto Lane, a sweet little laneway full of life, and to your right you will find Stefen’s Books. An enticing little shop with huge glass windows that look out into the lane and filled with the vibrant energy of ‘Tim the minion’. Full of enthusiasm and passion for reading, Tim was quick to find out what I love to read and started recommending books straight away. When I asked him what he thought of the digital world taking over, he was told me straight away that the digital world is making things better.
People can read a book through Kindle or Audible paying anywhere from $5 -$12, depending on the book, and if they loved it, they will buy an actual copy of the book. E-Books are like trailers for real books. Tim’s thoughts on Amazon? He says he can get you any book you want, but if you want to just click a few buttons and get it sent out to you, that’s your choice. I highly recommend heading over to Stefen’s books, even if it’s just to chat about books to ‘Tim the minion’.
Location: 8 Shafto Lane. Perth
– Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan
– The Traitor by Seth Dickinson
– Crashing Heaven by Al Robertson
For years I have loved wandering around Elizabeth’s Bookshop and have explored the one on Hay Street many times. The staff have always been really laid back, friendly and are book readers themselves. My favourite thing about Elizabeth’s is finding books that are old and unique. Being a second-hand store, you can come across different kinds of books from all different eras.
While I was wandering around the store a few days ago, I came across a box set of Narnia books, a stack of old James Bond novels, heaps of books on Napoleon and a comic section. Matt, who was working there that day and is a huge reader, believes that there isn’t a huge competition with the digital world although it has taken away some business. People like holding books, turning pages and having bookshelves of books that change you as a person.
Location: 845 Hay St, Perth
– Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
– The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstem
This is the highlight of 2016, a bookshop that looks like it should be in a small English village next to Sherwood Forest. Bookshelves start at the ceiling and finish at the floor with little bookshelves coming out like branches of a tree and more books stacked around them.
Mainly Books is a second-hand bookshop that stock brilliant books that are unique, rare and some are original works. The shelves are lined with ancient books as well as some recent young adult reading.
Here lies beautiful old fashion books filled with words written by one of literatures greatest writers, William Shakespeare, the charming and passionate Oscar Wilde and dark yet brilliant Edgar Allan Poe. From sports memorabilia to ancient tales of ships at sea, take an afternoon off to wander around the store.
Owners Dennis Moore and his son Gregory Moore have had this bookshop in the family for over 30 years. Originally Dennis’ daughter opened the store, but it become too much when the baby came along. So for 25 years, Dennis’ wife took over and ran the store two doors down from where they are currently located. Now the gorgeous peaceful bookshop is run by Dennis and Gregory.
Gregory says they have no competition with the digital world and the only contact they have with it is checking prices against their books. The book world hasn’t collapsed, people still love holding books and flicking through pages although online books are great for travelling.
Location: 1/209 – 213 Bulwer St, Perth
Dymocks Hay St
A regular place for my lunch time wandering, Dymocks on Hay Street gave us a scare by shutting down last year. The usually busy store had closing sales and started to look empty, this was due to a franchise owner deciding to not renew the lease and move on to other things. Luckily the company itself stepped in and after a refurbishment, the store reopened to very happy customers.
The manager Ojay, agrees that a few years ago the digital world was taking over the book world, but now people are turning back to books and sales are increasing. People want to hold books and flip through them. Books now come with amazing illustrations and beautiful covers. Amazon opened its first physical bookstore in Seattle’s University Village, with 6,000 books at website prices. If Amazon is opening real bookstores, they must think the book world is making a huge comeback.
Everyone at Dymocks are so kind, happy and very helpful. Besides the huge range of books, they have such a massive range of adult colouring books that Ojay says they are running out of room for. They also stock unique wrapping paper, little bits and pieces, stationary and a lot of smiles from all the staff.
Location: 705-707 Hay St, Perth
Let’s go down a flight of stairs to enter into a world of comics, merchandise, huge posters and two guys whose whole world has been comics.
Owners, Michael and Gareth have been in this location for four years and although they feel they are competing with an online market and Amazon, they both agree that the social media side of things is great as it brings all the comic fans to one place.
Comic Zone also have adult colouring comic books to add to the new trend of ‘Mindfulness Colouring’.
I recommend heading down stairs and checking out the shop, even if it’s just to chat about comics.
Location: The Basement – 81 Barrack St, Perth
Michael and Gareth recommend:
– Saga written by Brian K. Vaughan
– Batman: The Court of Owls
A hidden unique store behind huge glass windows that hundreds of people would walk past every day, White Dwarf Books specialises in fantasy and sci-fi and feels like you are walking into a library with its high book shelfs and decor.
Tim, who is the owner and been at this location for three and a half years, is a Doctor and graduated from Medical School at the University of Western Australia. He now loves his job and enjoys putting in a personal interest by finding books for customers and recommending books.
The shop is beautifully setup and carries merchandise, adult colouring books, funny little knick knacks and some really cool medical merchandise.
Location: 1/469 Wellington St, Perth
– Fantasy – Magician by Raymond E. Feist
– Sci-Fi – Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan
I LOVE THIS STORE! It’s one of my favourite stores to wander through on my lunch break.
They stock latest fictions, cookbooks and children’s best sellers, but my favourite is the technical book side.
Whether you are studying law, medicine, biology, nursing, mathematics, palaeontology, physics, chemistry, botany, business and much more, there is a book for you. They also have flashcards and other helpful materials as well as some great adult colouring books. If they don’t have it in, ask the really friendly staff there and they will get it in for you. I highly recommend this store!
Location: 88 William St, Perth
Kaleido Books and Gifts
A cute little store that is perfect to wander around before jumping on the train. It has cute little gifts, cards and a huge range of adult colouring in books.
Location: Shop 5, 378 Wellington St, Perth Train Station
Once upon a time, there was quite a big group of book stores in the city but unfortunately they have been shutting down. Nevertheless, with the list above you now have the knowledge to head to a bookstore of choice and let your imagination live happily ever after.
Happy reading everyone.