I’ve always loved bookshops – first and foremost as a reader and now, happily, as a published author.
Today, I had the privilege of being one of eight authors invited to work behind the counter at Riverbend Books at Bulimba (and one of numerous authors in bookshops across Australia) as part of National Bookshop Day.
I had a blast. Suzy and the team were so friendly and supportive – and patient, as I navigated through my first retail experience. (Okay, so I worked in a fish and chip shop when I was 14, but tills had buttons back then, not scanners, computer screens and EFTPOs facilities.)
The experience brought home to me yet again just how special bookshops are in a world where you can download an ebook in seconds or buy your hard copy books online and have them shipped to your front door.
Yes, convenience and cost saving is wonderful, but there are still so many experiences you can only have in a bookstore.
Here are my top 5 reasons why bookshops matter:
- People work in bookshops. People who remember your face and your name and what sort of books you like.
- The people who own and work in bookstores love books. They know stuff about authors and books, and they care about readers connecting with books they will love.
- You can meet authors at bookshops; hear them chat about their latest project, get your books signed…see if they really look like their bio photos.
- You can meet other book lovers at interesting and fun events; chat about hot topics (like the recent rise in erotica); join a book club.
- There are books in bookshops. Books you can pick up and touch (and smell, if that’s your thing), covers you can linger over.
And of course, bookshops sell books. They are still a critical link between author and reader and we appreciate everything they do to get our books out to the world.
So this is a call to all you book lovers to support your local bookstore. Chat with the people behind the counter, build those relationships and you will be rewarded with great service and meaningful book recommendations.
Libraries also offer similar experiences to bookstores. The big difference being libraries don’t need sales to survive (but keep supporting them too!).
A huge thanks to Riverbend Books for the opportunity to see the world from the other side of the counter. I also got to meet fellow Text author Richard Newsome (who took the shift after me), which was terrific. He writes the popular Billionaire series for older children.
(Another added bonus was that, after hearing all about Shadows from Suzy, one kind customer bought a copy and I got to ring up the sale. Thanks Gina. Hope you enjoy the read.)