Tuesday 21 February 2012

Bill Campbell Book Shop – Fremantle

I remember the first time I stumbled across this secondhand bookstore. Not being a resident of Perth’s port city – Fremantle, I didn’t really know that it existed. Situated down an old street in Fremantle that still retains all the old buildings from the port’s early history, the shop exudes the ample charm of the past.

The shop front provides a clear view inside, allowing you to see books lined up on their wooden shelves, in particular a whole section of vintage Penguins. Old packing cases full of books sit on either side of the front door, offering specials. The shop itself is very well set up, with glass cabinets containing rare and valuable books and clearly labeled sections for genres like science fiction, crime, literature and non-fiction of all kinds.

The literature section contains some top quality authors, which is complemented by the vintage Penguin section in the same area. If you are seriously into literature then this is the place to come. Being Fremantle there is a great maritime and local history section. The shop also offers a superb philosophy section for those who are looking for existential guidance (that’s me by the way). Children and parents don’t miss out either, with a great section of quality kids and YA books.

The shop offers some specialist areas, with a collection of first editions that are stored upstairs and can be viewed on request. For those with a fetish for a book with a particular cover or rare edition then you are well looked after in this shop. There is also a collection of leather bound Folio Society books, something I’ve never seen before. They are particularly beautiful and some are by authors of renown, like Dostoyevsky and Nabokov, whilst others are more exotic and obscure. When I was last there in January I was very tempted by these books and will probably escort my wallet in there one day soon and buy some of them.

I had a pleasant chat with the owner  - Bill Campbell. He’s been trading at this shop for seven years and loves being in the book business. He was very friendly and gladly showed me around his shop and revealed his extensive knowledge about the second-hand book business. If you venture down to his shop don’t hesitate to ask for a bit of advice.

The shop is situated at 48 High St Fremantle. Give Bill a call on 9336 3060.

Check it out!


  1. Another plug for Bill - I love this shop too.

    I took a couple of bags of second hand books down to Bill's shop when I moved house last year, and he gave me $100+ worth of credit (probably more than I would have expected from Elizabeths). AND the credit doesn't expire (unlike Elizabeths). He has a pretty old school system that involves writing the credit down in an exercise book which is pretty cute.

    Nice review Jeremy! See you soon,


  2. I'm very much an appreciator of old school systems.

    Thanks for your comment Gemma.

  3. I'm all inspired to check it out again, off to Freo today now! Smiles to you :)

  4. Hi Colleen - hope you had a great time at the shop and in Freo. Thanks for becoming a member too!

  5. Uh oh....another one I need to check out. ;)

  6. You can't have too many books! you seem to be in Fremantle a lot too...

  7. I gave Bill some 1960s books a while ago. Very specific books about shipping and weight ratios for cargo, propulsion, things like that. I was just donating them for free, but Bill made sure i left with a five for some coffee at least.

  8. It's the decent thing to do. :) Wonder if anyone bought them?