One of my absolute favourite places to shop and browse in the Blue Mountains is Mr Pickwick's Fine Old Books in Katoomba. Located within the Macarthur's Arcade store, Mr Pickwick's is an absolute treasure chest of vintage and second-hand books.
The entry to the store is through the Macarthur's Arcade store
Mr Pickwick's has one of the largest vintage and second-hand book collections you're ever likely to see. It can be quite overwhelming at first, when you descend the stairs already flanked with shelves and walk out into a veritable labyrinth of shelves and tables. Every possible topic is covered, from vintage Penguin Classics, to old travel memoirs, to Australian history.
If you're child is a book lover, they will also love Mr Pickwick's.
That's not all though. In drawers at one end you'll find vintage programmes from plays, musicals and ballets, old magazines, and even old maps. Or if you're looking for something truly collectible, you will find the rare and antique books in a section of their own to the left of the counter. Some of these are so valuable they are kept in glass cabinets, and they will truly take a book-lover's breath away.
Truly precious books are kept in glass cases
If fiction is more your style, you'll still have plenty of browsing to do. The children's section seems to run on forever, and has both older books such as vintage Enid Blyton, and second-hand copies of what's new and popular. A general fiction section could also easily take an hour to browse. Handily, all sections are clearly labelled and organised alphabetically, for if you're searching for a favourite author it won't be too difficult.
Shoppers will feel like they are on a treasure hunt
Mr Pickwick's also houses a huge literary classics section. There you'll find stunning copies of all the favourites, from the Bronte sisters to Charles Dickens to Tolstoy. This is the section I always find myself in front of.
The shelves reach right to the ceiling so a stepladder is sometimes necessary
Prices here start from the $3.00 table out the front. They increase depending on the age and quality of the book. For some older books, you can expect to pay around $20.00. All prices are listed in pencil on the front page of the book, in the right-hand corner.
No visit to Katoomba is complete without a stop here
Mr Pickwick's truly is a bibliophile's dream. If you've spent an hour or two wandering the above Macarthur's Arcade, your visit isn't yet complete. Definitely head downstairs, but consider yourself warned: you probably won't leave for at least another hour.
Where: 86 Katoomba Street, Katoomba.
Why: If you love books, you don't need any more reason.
Cost: Books start from $3.00
When: Seven days a week 9:00am - 6:00pm. Late night trading Friday and Saturday until 9:00pm