Bookstores of Wellington, New Zealand: Arty Bees Books

Hello! It’s been quite the year-long hiatus… well I’m finally returning after having most recently traveled some countries, including bunkering down in several bookstores in NZ during my stay. Honestly, I planned only two bookstore visits in Wellington according to some recommendations, and was so impressed by the selection and presentation that I proceeded to bookstore hop for an entire day. So even more bookstore reports to come!

Arty Bees Books is located right off Cuba Street in the heart of Wellington, and offers sprawling selections of just about anything– fiction, references, instructional pamphlets, children’s literature, music, histories, rare/old tomes, and most importantly, bizarre bibliophilia curiosities. The best (and strangest) part was that I kept laughing while browsing Arty Bees whether from interesting shelving formations, weird collections displayed proudly, or the endless number of interesting genre placards. That does not happen at chain bookstores!

arty bees front
Sheet music AND imported SFF

Bookstore entrance– information desk landing and some fictions:

info landing

AAH MASS MARKETS AAH! Possibly the only time I will approve of sideways shelving:

info landing

Funny pamphlets! No joke, right underneath “Glasshouse Tomatoes”, “Housing for Adult Poultry”, and “Passionfruit Growing”

Ever-drool-inducing rare book glassfront shelves:

arty bees front



Horrible Histories and Sea Fiction anyone?

From the curiosities shelf– I almost bought this book. I dare you to tell me you’ve never wanted a bar soap stub condenser!


Lastly, check out the Old and Cherished section (yes it’s called old and cherished) with adorable labels.




Basically, incredibly large selection, helpful staff, cute store, and personally, right up there alongside Powell’s on the amazing bookstore list!

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  1. kim’s avatar

    your picture with the stairs looks like there’s dueling help desks!

    i can see a motto now!

    “your happiness is our quota!”

    Reply

  2. kakaner’s avatar

    kim– i really did think the same as well when I walked in! you should also ask Emera about her experience with book duels…

    Reply

    1. Emera’s avatar

      I have to admit that I’m blanking on whatever my purported experience with book duels might be.

      Reply

      1. kakaner’s avatar

        I thought you attended a literary duel with Kelly Link…?

        Reply

        1. Emera’s avatar

          Ohhhhh yes, that! I was thinking more of volleys of heated words exchanged between Kim’s dueling customer servicepersons…

          By the way, any hint as to why the store is named Arty Bees? I just realized that I’m still wondering.

          Reply

          1. Wendy’s avatar

            Love your review, and that you enjoyed visiting our shop. :-)

            Just to address your wondering… Bob Burch, the owner of Arty Bees [see http://www.artybees.co.nz/about-us/about-our-history.php%5D has the initials `RTB’ hence the name. :-)

          2. Emera’s avatar

            I – I – *EXPLODES* Can I please live in this bookstore?

            That photo of all the side-stacked mass markets is strangely alluring. Like, ooh, don’t you just want to walk up to us and run your hand along all of our spines at once. Those tarts!

            Also, I don’t know how to describe the facial expression that I’m making at this: http://www.artybees.co.nz/fun-stuff/bizarre-books/cookingandcraft-happy-cooker.php

            P.S. Why didn’t you buy the “Melodramas for Young Ladies” section for me??

            Reply

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