Time Out Bookstore: Take The Time
Every few days, a staff member will be asked if Time Out sells ‘only second hand books’, despite the fact that it exclusively sells new books. Staff also hear ‘knowledgeable locals’ bragging to visitors that Time Out is the ‘best used-book store in Auckland’ as they walk past through Mt Eden village, and have to contain themselves from yelling out “New books! New!” This false impression probably comes from the atmosphere of the shop more than anything else. Unlike many chain bookstores, where everything is white and shiny, stepping into Time Out feels like entering the cozy private library of a person you would love to know. Perhaps someone who cares a lot more about their books than the newness of their rug, for example. In fact, someone who completely adores their books, and couldn’t really care less about their rug getting thin at one end. This is because Time Out, its staff, and its customers, love books. That is why they go there – to spend time surrounded by thousands of stories.
As a child, I would almost live in Time Out’s children’s room at the back of the shop. Not that I would recommend that parents just abandon their children there while they get coffee for an hour (although mine did, and I turned out okay!), but it is a wonderful space for children and families. Small and crammed with the most brilliant books for ages zero to teen, the children’s room is perhaps the most delightful part of the shop. I have seen grown men shopping for books about Mussolini or quantum mechanics, who longingly gaze into the kid’s room, and I know they miss the books that make farm animal noises, or perhaps long for a clothbound Fairytale collection. Okay, maybe they are just checking that there isn’t an economics section back there, but a girl can dream.
Along with books, Time Out bookstore sells beautiful Kiwiana posters, colourful novelty socks (do you have any socks with sushi on them? What about vegetables with moustaches?), and has a great selection of (often rude) cards. Giftwrapping is lovely and complimentary, and the staff are always happy to go on the hunt with you to find the perfect book. Unless what you want is in the window display, and the display features a few fake plants and a plastic skeleton… those things get caught in your hair.
As Time Out bookstore is open from 9am-9pm seven days a week, it’s a perfect place to pop into in the morning after your coffee or while walking the dog, just as it is the perfect place to find that last-minute gift 15 minutes before you’re due to meet the birthday girl for dinner. Come in as part of a relaxed day with friends, as a place to browse with your partner, or even on a first date – you’re bound to look like you have great taste. Or, if they aren’t impressed, you know it will also be the last date. I’m sorry if that sounds negative… but Time Out is so full of couples that some single staff members are rightly a little bit depressed.
Come into Time Out bookstore and try it yourself – I promise you’ll never go into Paper Plus again. Other than for a packet of ballpoints. Also, look out for blog posts on our other favourite Auckland book shops in the next few weeks. They’re going to be book-tastic.
Photography by IsabellaWeb