Book lovers are well catered for in the Southern Highlands, with everything from antiquarian books to new releases, with book shops scattered throughout the region.


Sprinkled through the picturesque towns and villages of the Southern Highlands are many delightful bookshops and literary points of interest.

Established in the year 2000, the Southern Highlands is the first Australian representative of the international book town movement, inspired in the 1960s by the UK town of Hay-on-Wye, located on the Welsh border. Its eccentric, but admirably energetic, resident Richard Booth MBE worked to enliven his small rural community by establishing a ‘town of bookshops’. His brazen publicity stunts – including a ‘bookish kingdom’ with its own passports – attracted visitors, most of whom bought a book or two, and some even became booksellers themselves. The idea caught on, and other towns and villages throughout the world, typically in rural communities keen to prosper from tourism, were inspired to join the movement and save the printed book.

Book town crusaders cater to people who love books and enjoy the fun of browsing through bookshops in search of literary treasures, old and new. Book towns thrive on visitors and locals who are passionate about the printed word, especially in a time of technological flux. Books have even been published about these ‘paradises of the printed word’, and British author Alex Johnson summed up the resurgence with these words:

“At a time when libraries are becoming an endangered species and independent bookshops struggle against the rise of the e-book, book towns are beacons of hope in the fight to keep the traditional book alive.  Please visit them and buy a book or two”.