The Berkelouw family has been trading in books for six generations. Books are our passion as well as our business and it is always a pleasure to meet customers who share our love of books. Come in, meet with friends, soak up the atmosphere, and spend as much time as you like browsing through the collection. Our entire stock consists of over 2 million books comprising new, secondhand and antiquarian titles. Many of these are available to purchase online.
Our History from 1812
The story of Berkelouw Books begins in Kipstraat, Rotterdam, Holland, in 1812. Berkelouw Books traded in vellum-bound theology books which were en vogue in the early nineteenth century. Publishers of the period were certain of selling publications if they dealt with theology. Books were peddled on Rotterdam Quay and clients were mainly owners and skippers of the barques that brought grain and other agricultural products from the provinces of Zealand and Zuid Holland to Rotterdam. The owners of barques were well to do citizens with a growing interest in education.
In the 1860’s the business was further established by opening a bookstore at the Niewe Market in Rotterdam. Berkelouw Books prospered and later moved to a larger premises at Beurs Station, also in Rotterdam.
In the 1890’s the business moved again, and a new shop opened at Schoolstraat, Rotterdam. It was from this shop that Berkelouw Books first began issuing the catalogues that gained Berkelouw an international reputation. In 1928, the firm was granted membership to the prestigious International Antiquarian Booksellers Association.
During the siege of Rotterdam in WWII, Berkelouw Books’ premises were bombed and its entire stock destroyed. Amongst the lost books was a collection of antique bibles thought to be the most valuable in all of Europe.
Immediately after the war, the firm temporarily re-established itself in Amsterdam and began conducting successful book auctions. However, Australia beckoned and in 1948, the Berkelouw family moved to Sydney. Shortly after arriving, book catalogues were issued, generating immediate interest amongst book collectors around the country. A shop was set up at 38 King St, Sydney and book auctions were conducted on a regular basis. As Berkelouw's clientele and stock expanded, headquarters was relocated to 114 King St. By 1972 the Berkelouw collection had grown to such a size that it was forced to change premises once again. The firm made a brief move to Rushcutters Bay, then in 1977 took a quantum leap relocating entirely to 'Bendooley', an historic property just outside the beautiful village of Berrima in the Southern Highlands of NSW.
In 1994, Berkelouw Books returned to Sydney, opening its now landmark store in Paddington. Five years later another Sydney store was opened in the cosmopolitan suburb of Leichhardt. Since then, Berkelouw Books has opened further stores in Sydney and Eumundi on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland. All our stores offer an extensive, interesting and eclectic new book selection covering all interest areas with a special interest in Children’s Books, fine stationery, as well as a hand-picked display of rare books. Our Paddington, Leichhardt and Eumundi stores have a vast selection of secondhand books. Adjoining many of our stores are the Berkelouw Cafes, a wonderful place to relax and enjoy ambience.
Today Berkelouw Books is Australia's largest rare and antiquarian, secondhand, and new bookseller. We have an overall stock in excess of 2 million books, many of which are listed and available for purchase here.
Thus, the romance of books continues. Thus too, the association of books and Berkelouw continues. An old and fruitful tree of Rotterdam, Holland, now firmly planted in the soil of Australia.