Denizen Everyday Heroes 2021: Auckland’s favourite independent bookstores, as voted by you

A good book will transport you to new worlds, but a good bookstore will take you to whole new galaxies. Now that such stores can operate on a click and collect basis under Auckland’s level 3 lockdown, there is no better time to get behind local booksellers, who also champion New Zealand authors and talent, while expanding our minds.

The 2021 Denizen Everyday Heroes saw over 12,000 votes cast in support of local businesses, with the aim of shining a light on the people and places whose services we rely upon. Here are the best independent bookstores, as voted by the bibliophiles among us.

MOST VOTED: Unity Books, Auckland CBD
A hive of activity on High Street, Unity Books is one of the many characterful businesses that makes Auckland a cherished place to live. At last count, it was home to almost 30,000 titles, and the staff will always go the extra mile to find a book for its patrons. “Really, this bookshop is a national treasure,” says Susanna Andrew, who has worked on-and-off at the store for 26 years. “It enriches the life of the city and I couldn’t imagine Auckland without it. It’s like everyone has a stake in this bookshop. The customers and the staff, the writers and the publishers. Everyone wants it to exist and wants it to succeed and this has a lot to do with the extraordinary generosity and tenacity of the owner Jo McColl who treats the business like a living entity, like a garden. And it is abundant.”

HONOURABLE MENTION: Time Out Bookstore, Mt Eden
The team at Time Out Bookstore in Mount Eden like to think of it as a “third place” — a welcoming space for bibliophiles to come together. “We aim to curate a haven of books that customers do not know they want yet and have a team of passionate readers that love recommending staff picks,” says long-time manager Jenna Todd. “When we talk about and share books, we give them life! This creates connections between people and there’s nothing better than that.”

Over three decades at the helm of the Herne Bay institution, Novel, Andrew Maben has collected the most sought-after publishers and coveted coffee table books — often exclusively. According to Maben: “A book must look good, of course, but the content has to match the cover… the best ones are like works of art.”

The rest of the best…

The Women’s Bookshop, Ponsonby

Dorothy Butler Children’s Bookshop, Ponsonby

Hard to Find Books, Eden Terrace

Dear Reader, Grey Lynn

The Booklover, Milford

Arcadia Bookshop, Newmarket

Bookety Book Books, Online

Dominion Books, Herne Bay

Paradox Books, Devonport

Jason Books, Auckland CBD

2021 Everyday Heroes

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