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March 6, 2013 | by  | in Arts Books | [ssba]


Where to buy


Arty Bees is one of the bigger Wellington bookstores, despite being second-hand. They’re open until 9pm most nights and until 10pm in the weekends, which is a brilliant way to pass the time while waiting for buses in winter. There’s a wide variety of books in stock but the quality is somewhat sporadic, as they buy almost anything. Definitely worth a go if you’re looking for cheap genre books; the fantasy and sci-fi section is massive. Upstairs there are technical books, shelves of literary criticism and biography, short story anthologies, some rare books, and sheet music: you can find pretty much anything there. See Also: Ferret Bookshop, Quilters.


Up Lambton and in need of a book? Don’t want to go to Whitcoulls? (Well done on that). Try Parsons! It’s on the small side and more often frequented by business-people, but their prices  aren’t bad and their fiction stock is adequate, although mostly geared towards the classics. Where they shine is in academic non-fiction: there are some brilliant books on history and politics lurking in Parsons. They also have one of the only really comprehensive music collections left in the city outside of JB Hi-Fi (avoid – stench of unwashed teenage boy) and Slow Boat Records.


If you’re new to Wellington the first place you should explore is Left Bank. Just off Cuba, it’s an awesome-yet-scummy enclave of cheap BYOs and great shops, including Pegasus, the best second-hand bookstore in Wellington. They have books going right up to the ceiling, in precarious stacks with hand-written labels, and have just got in a new shipment of imported books – there are some real treasures in that stock. It’s a bit of a shambles, with fiction divided between two rooms off the main store, so if you’re looking for
a specific book you’ll have to check each section. But the beauty of Pegasus is less in seeking out a book and more in coming across something brilliant by accident. It’s definitely worth lingering and perusing all the shelves, even if just to appreciate the occasional touch of decor; hand-painted signs about cats, for example. Oh and every $200 spent results in $20 store credit, dayum.


Unity Books is heaven. The best bookstore in Wellington by a long shot, I’ve legitimately never been unhappy there. The stock is amazing; there’s a great mix of contemporary and classic fiction, an emphasis on New Zealand literature, great art books, and lots of philosophy and politics. They also have a pretty brilliant loyalty card – after 10 purchases you get the average you’ve spent free. Free books! I can’t overstate this; go there. Gaze, browse, love. It’s not exactly set at student prices, so spend your course-related costs (yes, all of them) wisely. There’s a New World Metro situated across the street for afterwards; go in, spend your living costs on eating your feelings, and cry. Then never go back. Unity is bad for your emotional health. And your bank balance.


Alex Hollis


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