Pre-Loved Books in a City of Literature

by Insiders Dunedin

With bookshops under threat from online ones, and hard copy books competing with digital versions, Dunedin’s second hand bookshops are proud to be a vital part of the city’s intellectual life.

In Great King St close to the University, Scribes is the stately old lady of Dunedin second hand bookshops. Open on all but three and a half days of the year, they have a high turnover, serve a wide range of customers, and satisfy a niche market for Otago University Humanities course textbooks. Customers include students, collectors, children, cruise ship passengers and browsers. Their books are all very clean, there are no library copies, and prices range from $4.50 to $3,500.  A large collection of first editions is shelved out the back.

Bookshop and online retailer Hard to Find is the largest antiquarian and second hand bookshop in New Zealand, and the largest online one in Australasia. It’s in Dowling St close to the Railway Station and Toitu, and open seven days. Their stock ranges from the rare to the recent and owner Warwick Jordan describes the business like this: ‘I like buying books, selling them is just a by-product. It’s a treasure hunt for good books, my version of fun’. The shop has large comfortable couches where customers are encouraged to relax and read from the range of books on display. Out the back are 120,000 catalogued volumes which are for sale online.

Stafford 6 Books at the Geeky Gecko Backpacker is a large shop crammed with a range of cheap second hand books. Some of the takings from sales in the shop are donated to the Fred Hollows Foundation.  

Dead Souls Bookshop in Princes St is beautifully arranged, well organised, smells good, and runs alongside the publisher Kilmog Press.
Post submitted by Suzanne Middleton


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