Wellington's best independent book and record stores
Wellington's home to some one-of-a-kind independent book and music stores that are must-visits for any literary or music lover. These stores are made for slow shopping; browse to your heart's content or make use of the knowledgeable staff to find exactly what you're looking for or discover something completely new.
Slow Boat Records
183 Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington
The kind of record store you thought only existed in movies from the 1980s and 90s, Slow Boat Records on Cuba Street is a must-visit for anyone who is into music. The store is always playing some interesting music and it’s not uncommon for customers to walk up to the counter to say, ‘I’d like to buy the album you’re playing’ and from time-to-time there are live performances in-store. The staff are passionate about music and all have their own specialist genres and are happy for customers to browse the new and used CDs, vinyl, DVDs, posters and t-shirts to their hearts’ content.
Cuba Mall, 204 Left Bank, Te Aro, Wellington
The home of unexpected one-off finds – from rare and unusual books, to poetry slam nights and gigs, to spotting local literary heroes. Pegasus Books is a small, independent bookseller who stock quality books, ranging from antiquarian to near new, at good prices. Their well-read staff have a wide knowledge of books and the literary world and will be more than happy to help you find something that’s just your cup of tea. More than just a store, Pegasus Books regularly hold events and gigs, including Friday night Fiction Room, where musicians, writers and poets perform in the fiction section to a packed-out room. Pegasus Books are also a venue for Wellington’s annual literary festival, Verb Wellington.
Willbank House 57 Willis Street, Te Aro, Wellington
There’s a special feeling when you walk into Unity Books. There’s a child-like sense of excitement at the overwhelming array of rainbow-coloured book spines and tables stacked with books devoted to all your favourite genres from cooking to photography, children’s books to biographies. Unity Books is an award-winning independent bookshop that specialises in New Zealand and international literature, poetry, history, and nonfiction and they always the latest new releases by award-winning writers. Unity Book staff are a delightful mix of literary-lovers who will help you hunt down what you’re looking for. This is a place where people of all ages and all interests can easy while away some time.
Rough Peel Music
173 Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington
Rough Peel Music is one of those stores you could spend hours browsing to discover new and old music or rediscover old favourites. The store has a great selection of new and used vinyl, CDs, DVDs and even some cassette tapes (for those who remember them). The Cuba Street store has a chilled out, ‘come as you are’ vibe that makes it a place you’ll want to stay and browse. The friendly staff are passionate, knowledgeable and super keen to talk music.
175 Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington
Established back in the days when the only way to read a book involved pages and ink, Ferret Books has been a haven for book lovers since it opened in 1979. Independently-owned, this much-loved bookstore sells, trades and sources second-hand reading material and it’s a great place for hard-to-find, out-of-stock or first edition titles. The store has a sense of calm and serenity, with a polished wooden floor and exposed brickwork peaking out between the shelves of thoughtfully arranged books.
27 Lambton Quay, Te Aro, Wellington
If you can’t think of anything better than a drinking a coffee and reading a good book, then Vic Books is totally your kind of place. With bookstores in two locations, each with their own café serving locally roasted Peoples Coffee, Vic Books is a food and book lover’s paradise. Vic Books has a superbly curated selection of books, from the latest in New Zealand and international fiction, to the most talked-about nonfiction titles and best-loved kids’ books. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, Vic Books’ knowledgeable staff will gladly help you.
237 Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington
Calling all lovers of linen and fans of fabric, Minerva on Cuba Street is a rare type of bookshop that’s dedicated entirely to textile and handcraft books. With a cool 4,000 titles in-store at any time on subjects ranging from interior design to crocket, knitting to fashion, Minerva is a fun place for a browse. There’s a good range of imported magazines which will look just perfect on your coffee table and there’s an incredible selection of greeting cards for stocking up your present drawer at home.