For its size and population, Featherston has more bookstores than anywhere else in Aotearoa New Zealand. In the last five years, since it declared its intention to become New Zealand's first Booktown, Featherston has grown to include seven bookstores that are open for business throughout the whole year.
The Dickensian Bookshop
Owners: Patsy and Dave Adams, 78 Fox St, 021 209 9732, thedickensianbookshop.com
The Dickensian Bookshop was born out of an original idea to rescue literature and save our written heritage. After amassing a stock of over 2000 books the move to opening a second hand bookshop seemed like an obvious next step. We continued to source books while we waited for a suitable shop in Featherston Booktown to become available. After a two year wait, we eventually opened our first shop on Fitzherbert Street in March 2019 and we were on our way.
From the outset The Dickensian Bookshop set out to be the home of English literature. Covering books from the Victorian era, through to the heyday of the 1920's and the classic period of the 1960's. We also stock a large selection of the best of modern authors, focusing on Pulitzer and Booker prize winners and quality popular literature.
We are equally proud of our large selection of New Zealand books including sections on literature, poetry, biographies, and reference books covering social history, natural history, and many other subjects.
Our ever-growing non-fiction section has a wide variety of subjects for the specialist book hunter. This includes sections on British and European History, Art and Sculpture, Photography, Transport, Gardening, Cookery, and many other subjects.
We are also passionate about our selection of collectible and antiquarian books which includes first editions and rarities from New Zealand and further afield. Rare copies of books by the likes of C.S. Lewis, William Golding and Lewis Carroll can be found alongside books by D. Bruce Banwell and June Mitchell.
The Dickensian Bookshop also stocks a varied selection of small antiques, porcelain and collectibles and will shortly be opening our Tea Rooms so that you can sit down and enjoy tea and cakes while browsing our books!
Messines Bookshop: Military History
Bookseller: Lincoln Gould, 76 Fox St, 021 753 920, messinesbooks.co.nz
Messines Bookshop, located online and in militarily historic Featherston Booktown, within New Zealand's Wairarapa Valley, is a mecca for all interested in military history across the ages. We buy and sell rare, second hand and new books, children's as well. We stock books that look back to the battle of Megiddo in 1479 B.C. and onwards, to the battles of the 21st century. There are books on keeping the peace in war torn countries; on the machines by which war has been waged and history created; models and war games. Naval History and the Troubles in Ireland also feature on our shelves.
Messines Bookshop is proud to be one of seven bookshops that make up, Featherston Booktown. Its specialist focus as a military bookshop, is linked to the military history of Featherston. In fact the name, Messines, demonstrates the sister town relationship with Messines in Flanders where troops trained at the Featherston Army Camp fought – and won – their first major battle of the First World War.
Messines Bookshop is a member of Booksellers NZ and as such, sells the Booksellers NZ gift tokens which are redeemable in more than 200 bookshops throughout NZ.
Loco Coffee and Books
Owner: Kate Mead, 50 Fitzherbert St, facebook.com/lococoffeeandbooks
Loco, not so much mad as eccentric perhaps. Located opposite the supermarket carpark in the middle of Featherston, sandwiched between a cane furniture shop and a body art studio and gallery, Loco's stock is reasonably priced and eclectic, carefully selected for maximum quality and interest. But if you're looking for tooled leather bindings to bring a dash of Downton Abbey to your shelves, we have those too.
Leave the children in the play area so you can browse with a Havana coffee and a tasty treat from CakelabNZ. Meet Theo, the benign bookish monster (ex-WOW). He's friendlier than he looks.
Kelsey McGarry runs Parenting With Heart classes in a room out at the back. The Featherston Booktown Book Club meets in the Loco Lounge on the third Monday of each month.
Mr Feather's Den
Artist in Residence: Susan Jane Ryan, 19 Fitzherbert St, 027 494 2289, facebook.com/MrFeathersDen
Operating since 2012, Mr Feather's Den has been selling books to complement the range of other delights instore since our doors first opened. Mr Feather's Den has always sold good secondhand contemporary fiction, along with a range of preloved art books, classics and author profiles. However, over the last five years we have also specialised in new fiction for children and young adults (including from local publishers, Gecko Press, Book Island, Makaro Press and Clean Slate).
In 2020 the Den has again expanded the range of new books to include (a favourite genre) interior design, bohemian and creative living, plants, architecture, and so on.
Along with our beloved books, we offer you a curated and styled experience including taxidermy, retro lighting and other delights and oddities. It’s worth a visit or two.
The Featherston Ferret
Owners: Terry and Denise, 50 Fitzherbert St, 06 216 8279, ferretbookshop.co.nz
The fiercely independent Ferret has been an enthusiastic supporter of Featherston Booktown since its inception.
Having haunted Wellington's Cuba Street for more than 40 years, it has in recent years extended its patch to the main street of Featherston. In so doing, we have been conscious to maintain and replicate the diversity and quality of our books, albeit at a smaller and more select site.
While Olde & New Zealand/Aotearoa history and literature is one cornerstone, we also have strong representation across the board - from Art to Zen with much ragged-trousered tucked in between, recent firsts and distant seconds, stories at work and play.
Weasily found but stoatally different, poke your nose in!
Good books bought & sold.
For the Love of Books
Owner: Jennifer Grey, 89 Fitzherbert Street, 022 659 7573, welovebooks.nz
The most common response when a new customer walks through the door at ‘For the Love of Books’ is “Wow!”
The second-hand bookshop is well laid out and spacious. Comfortable seating and an enclosed children’s play area for little ones create a perfect atmosphere for customers to take the time to really browse and discover among the thousands of books on offer.
The books are organised to make it easy to know where to look for what you are interested in, and the diverse range of books caters to many tastes - whether you’re hunting for a hidden gem or just looking for a bargain. The unique pricing system of coloured dots on the books makes it easy to shop within your budget. Complementing the shop’s main focus on second-hand books is a small selection of new and recent releases with a particular focus New Zealand and children’s books.
For the Love of Books (Featherston Booktown’s original bookshop) is open six days a week – Monday to Saturday, including a late night on Fridays until 9pm. The owner, Jennifer Grey, or one of the other members of this family business are happy to welcome you
Chicken and Frog: The Book Book Shop! (Now Open)
Curator: Joanna Ludbrook, 3 Clifford Square, (beside playground, behind The Garrison), 021 293 5224
The Chicken and Frog Bookstore opened on 21 August 2020. It sells new books for children.
After working as a qualified Librarian in Primary Schools, the idea to open a children’s bookshop came to me as I volunteered at a Featherston Booktown event. I loved the concept and the atmosphere of Featherston Booktown, and decided I needed to be a part of it.
I call myself a ‘curator’, as the collection will be carefully chosen to inspire curiosity, inform and entertain children. The focus is on New Zealand Non-Fiction and Picture Books but Chapter Books and international titles will also be stocked. The books are the sort you relish, share, keep and remember for many years.
The layout will be interesting as I deal with the interior of the old Medical Centre. I have themed areas which I’m endeavoring to bring to life so visiting the shop will be a bit of an outing for grandparents, parents and children.
I’m presently signing up with all the Publishers and Book Distributors, and meeting with reps armed with catalogues. There are exciting new releases coming out regularly and I’m proud to stock such high quality publications.