Love Your Bookshop Day 2020 feels more important than ever!
With such uncertainty in our community it has been challenging for readers to visit bookstores as much as we normally would. And we miss it! We miss the bookstore experience. We miss the friendly team members and their recommendations. We miss patting the bookstore cat. We miss the story times and the colouring-in competitions. We miss the community that our bookstores build around them, that we are part of.
To all the booksellers out there we say, “Well done”. Well done for keeping the bookstore doors open, even if it meant you had to slide the books to us through a small gap in the door. Well done for doing home deliveries at all times of the day and night. Well done for making a cheery newsletter to help us select our books. Well done for keeping a stiff upper lip and carrying on, amidst uncertainty.
We have heard some fantastic stories about what our bookstores have been doing in the “down time”. A few took the opportunity for remodelling and repainting. One store team alphabetised and remerchandised the entire shop so that when their community came back in it looked fresh and inviting. We have loved all the virtual events which have made our beloved authors more accessible than ever.
Booksellers are a resourceful bunch, used to making do with a handful of glitter and some facepaint to create daily magic, so it is no surprise that our booksellers have overcome adversity and national book sales are booming.
Anyone who has a favourite local bookstore knows it is not just the books that keep you coming back. It’s the atmosphere, the palpable sense of love for reading, and most importantly, the people who work there – always knowledgeable, better read than English professors, and happy to give you tailored recommendations to suit your reading tastes.
Why do we love bookstores and which ones are our favourites? The Better Reading team tried to answer this difficult question!
Cheryl Akle, Better Reading Director
I love so many bookshops! It is too difficult for me to pick only a few. Of course, I love my local, Berkelouw Books at Leichhardt, but wherever I am in Australia or the world, I will always check out the local bookstores. Browsing a bookstore has to be one of my favourite activities.
Jane Tara, Better Reading
Growing up, books were all consuming. Some of my favourite childhood memories are around visiting bookstores. There were none in the town I grew up in, but Mum would sometimes take me to nearby Bangalow, and the old book barn there, where she’d hand me some cash, despite having very little spare, and tell me that I had two hours. I’d get lost in the packed, dusty aisles of the old shed. Bliss!
I’ve lived all over the world, and one of the first things I do when I move somewhere is find my local bookshop. I got to know booksellers in Tokyo, London, Vienna, and New York. Back here in Sydney, I can’t pass a bookshop without entering. My local store, Gertrude & Alice in Bondi was a haven for me when my sons were young and I wanted to spend one-on-one time with them, treating them to a hot chocolate and a carefully chosen book. Bookstores, especially the independents, are places of peace, magic and inspiration for me. I love them. Gawd… someone get me a tissue!
Aleta Huthnance, Better Reading Kids
When I enter a bookstore I get a wonderful feeling that anything is possible. I might meet a new favourite character, take an adventure to a faraway place, discover new worlds, or learn new skills. For many years I was a bookseller and that moment every day when we opened the doors was exciting. There are two bookstores that immediately spring to mind as favourites: children’s book specialist The Little Bookroom in Carlton North (Vic) for its magic and mayhem, and Book and Paper in Williamstown (Vic) for its carefully curated selection of books. Both stores have knowledgeable friendly teams who are welcoming and refreshingly real. In both stores I’ve encountered inconspicuous shoppers like Graeme Simsion (merchandising his titles on the bookshelves) Andy Griffiths (with his kids) and publishers checking out the opposition’s titles (Lou from Thames and Hudson – gotcha). It’s been tough to only reach out through virtual connection but booksellers have kept the lines of communication open, the books flowing and the sense of possibility alive. We love what you do!
On Saturday 3 Oct (if you can) pop into your local bookstore and see what fun they are having as they say “thank you” to their communities with storytimes, cupcakes, author events, dress-ups, live music and many other celebratory events.