Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Brown and Bunting Booksellers - Northcote

Brown and Bunting Booksellers are pretty much my favourite new bookstore in my little patch of Melbourne. I first discovered this awesome little second hand bookstore on the opening night of Northcote's "Northern Exposure" festival, which was ironically their opening night. It seems, without fail, every time I go in there, I always come out with if not at least one new book, an arm full.

When you walk into the store, you're immediately hit by a deliciously refreshing smell of what I can only guess is the only recently installed (they only opened some five months ago) timber shop fittings. Something about it just puts me right into a book hunting mood, and it seems every time I then manage to remember something I've been meaning to track down.

I think what makes Brown and Bunting so awesome, while it might seem to be a bit obvious, is their range. They always have an exceptional range of recent, and out of print books, and they're always organised and easy to find. The books are always in excellent, if not perfect condition. And best of all, they're actually really well priced (often surprisingly so!). Since discovering Amazon (and it's deliciously ethical clone, I have found myself compiling lusty shopping carts full of "been meaning to read that.." books from 'market place' sources, often because it's just so damn cheap. But, I'm actually stoked to be able to say that B&B are generally cheaper than Amazon. Yep, how about that? And you get to feel good about supporting a small business of gorgeous, lovely Northcote people. And there's something about second hand books that's just a bit nicer, I find. Especially old ones.

I might be getting on a bit of a theme here with all my record store/cafe/bookstore trail here, but the staff (who I'm pretty sure are the owners as well) are absolutely lovely. Benita, who seems to always be working when I go in there is always really friendly, and I tend to always end up standing at the counter and yakking away with her about all sorts of delightfully interesting things.

I've been on a bit of a quest to read all the 1930's-1960's American classics, and it's just been amazing how every time I've been in there, the exact book I've been thinking I'd like to read has been sitting on the shelf. A bit of a feat, I'd say, for a second hand book store. They proudly exclaim on their website that they add/process four boxes of new books a day, and it really shows. Their range is terrific. I even found Wolfgang Flur's (former drummer from Kraftwerk) "I was a Robot". Which I got halfway through and left in a pub, to discover exactly how difficult it is to track down ANYWHERE, to B&B's credit. And another time, a brand new copy of Craig Schuftan's "Hey Nietzsche, leave them kids alone!". And another time, a gorgeous old copy of a Steinbeck Omnibus ("Grapes of Wrath", "Of Mice and Men"). Of course, you'll find your own gems.

In short, it's a really nice second hand book store run by lovely people, with everything you want, all in excellent condition, very reasonably priced. You should go there.

237 High Street, Northcote.

Nice site too.

(Benita jumped out of the frame when I lifted up my iphone to take this one.. I think I might have weirded her out a little.. It's ok! I'm just going to post it on the internet and say your shop's cool! Serious!). Gotta figure out a way of doing that without making people think I'm creepy. Hmm.

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