Shoppers inside Unity Books, a bookstore in Wellington. The large book-filled space has grey carpets, fluorescent lights and a white panelled ceiling.

Unity Books

Fiercely independent, Unity Books is an icon of the capital’s book scene. It specialises in New Zealand and international literature, poetry, history, and nonfiction. It’s also host to some of the most lively book launches and author signings in town.

Founded in 1967 by passionate Kiwi reader Alan Preston, Unity Books has always been about relevance. For almost 55 years, Unity and its booksellers have kept with the times and kept Wellington well-read.

Unity is always buzzing. Any day will see booksellers fulfilling special orders, children playing in the kids’ section, and adult customers gazing at floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. Visitors are welcome to browse and find new gems, and there’s always a friendly member of the team nearby to answer questions.

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Booksellers are central to Unity’s feel. They regularly update their Staff Picks wall with new favourites and well-loved classics. And they’re always happy to chat and give personal recommendations. “Unity is a space for everyone who likes reading,” says manager Adrian Hardingham. “It’s also a place to meet, unexpected or planned."

At Unity, reading is a group activity. It’s a place for all book lovers to celebrate their passion for literature. “We do the things everyone expects from a bookshop,” Adrian says. This includes holding events and launches, publishing newsletters, supporting local writers, working closely with Aotearoa publishers, and importing rare books.

The difference, Adrian says, is that Unity has been doing it for 55 years. Readers, writers, publishers, and other booksellers have grown up with Unity. “Unity is made up of the combined efforts of all the booksellers who work here, and the writers, readers and publishers who use this space.”

“Unity is a space for everyone who likes reading.”

Adrian Hardingham, manager Unity Books
A pyramid-shaped pile of books inside Unity Books, a bookstore in Wellington, New Zealand.