Archive for the ‘Book Shop’ Category

With fear ramping up in the face of Coronavirus, it is great to see Australian bookshops taking an active lead in addressing the isolation that many may or will feel over the coming weeks and months.

Just this morning I received a newsletter from Avenue Bookstore which offers HOME DELIVERY for books purchased to the value of $30.

And yesterday, Books+Publishing published an article addressing how booksellers are responding to the crisis.   Included in this article is an annotated list of bookshops across Australia.  Well worth a look.

To help book buyers in Melbourne, Alan Vaarwerk has taken the initiative of creating a Google Map showing which bookshops home deliver!


I can’t think of a better way for us to get through this horrendous time than by disappearing into the parallel universe created between the covers of a book!

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Almost single-handedly, Amazon, the online giant store, has redefined how we shop.

Amazon’s dominance in the book industry has been profound.  Large retail bookstore chains and small independent bookstores have been impacted greatly by the seemingly unstoppable growth of this online monolith forcing the closure of bookstores and changing the way we search for and purchase books.

And ….. it seems ….. there’s no end insight.  Amazon Books has launched into retail sales.  And, as they have in the past, Amazon have once again set out to redefine how we shop by using data driven stats to create book displays that tempt and guide the purchaser.

A not too happy account of how Amazon is reshaping bookstores appeared recently on the KOTTKE.ORG blog: Amazon’s data driven bookstores.  For the most part, this post laments the fact that online sales data rather than informed bookstore staff recommendations are being used to promote good reads to the public.

But, as in the past, little will stop the growth of this incredible market driven company.   As I blog, 7 Amazon Bookstores are already open in the US, with 6 more slated to be opening soon.  Without a doubt the current list will be updated regularly as the rollout across the US continues.

A recent post on Recode (a fabulous website I’ve just discovered!) gives an up close look inside the recently opened New York Amazon Bookstore.  In between the telling photos are some interesting observations by Dan Frommer – so take a few minutes and have a read of the post: Photos: Inside Amazon’s first New York City bookstore.

My day to day life is immersed in books.  Not only do I love reading, but my day time job revolves around igniting the magical spark of a ‘love of reading’ in young adults.  To nurture this love of reading, I  constantly make recommendations and, like the staff in book shops, I talk to my library patrons about the kinds of books they enjoy and ask what they have read previously to inform me about their tastes and interests.  The kind of philosophy that has dominated libraries and book shops for millennia – putting the right book into the right hands – cannot be achieved by relying solely on circulation or sales stats, the approach reportedly being adopted by Amazon Books.

Anything that encourages reading though is undoubtedly good!

So instead of looking at the flaws and mistakes of Amazon Bookstores, perhaps those of us encouraging and promoting books in schools can look at some of the great ideas being introduced by Amazon Bookstores and adopt them:

  • lots and lots of face out books for starters certainly makes for an appealing look
  • increased displays of ‘if you like this, how about this’ would also be welcome
  • and how about if we start using circulation stats in a big way to drive the creation of displays

Hmmmmm ….. it seems like I’ve just hit a new spark of inspiration!

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I came across a post about The Last Bookstore on Open Culture a couple of months ago.

Apart from being an interesting story about how a young paraplegic decided he wanted to open a bookstore in downtown LA, there are some absolutely awesome display ideas featured in this bookstore.

The video is quite long, so if you are interested in the display ideas, watch the first minute or so.  If you’re interested in the story of how and why this young man set up this bookstore, just keep watching.


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I love visiting Readings in Lygon Street.

Browsing through the tempting books on the sale table, searching the huge shelves for my next best read or just enjoying the vibrancy that seems to pulsate throughout the shop fills me with a contentment that comes from knowing you are rubbing shoulders with the best of the best in book shops!

It’s not just the friendly and knowledgeable staff who attract me to the shop, nor is it the vast array of books available, its all those extra features that this book shop brings to literary Melbourne that really makes it a winner!  Readings long ago established itself as a leader.  Innovative literary events enabling readers to meet and mingle with authors, support for Australian authors and community outreach programs such as the Readings Foundation which raises money to aid literacy and support writers are just some of the programs that set Readings apart as a book shop of note.

Professionally I’ve had links with Readings for many years.  They’ve advised and assisted in the development of my library collection and they have worked with me on literary events I’ve initiated at a number of schools.  Personally I have been a visitor to this book shop for longer than I can remember.

So it was with much delight that I read of their success last week when Readings was crowned International Bookstore of the Year at the London Book Festival.

Congratulations!  Very well deserved!

I look forward to the future of this indomitable book shop!

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Heading over to Venice any time soon?

If yes ….. stop by the Libreria Acqua Alta to enjoy a unique book shop experience.  Climb stairs made up of old encyclopaedias or browse through the books stored in book shleves created from gondolas and canoes.   With books stacked up to the ceiling, there’s bound to be something to entice!

Gondola book shelf

Read more about this amazing book shop on My Modern Met.

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It’s inspirational to read about authors who aim to encourage children to read.  It’s even more inspirational to hear about authors taking concrete steps to influence change.

I’ve previously blogged about James Patterson’s writing challenges which have been publicized through publishers Random House.

James Patterson

James Patterson

Now James Patterson announced just a few days ago that he will give book shops in Australian and New Zealand up to $5000 each for programs they initiate to get children reading.  With a total pool of $100,000 available, that is an awesome incentive!

Announcing this initiative Patterson said:

There is no doubt in my mind that bookshops play an essential role in the community in getting kids reading,’ says James, who has run similar initiatives in the UK and the US…….

‘I have been inspired, moved and delighted by the innovative proposals I have received from bookstores in the UK and the US. And I have been thrilled to see the real difference that these grants have already started to make. I can’t wait to see the proposals from Australian and New Zealand bookstores.’ …….

’I’m open to all sorts of ideas. From an after-school bookclub, to an emailed newsletter. From a spot bonus to a valued employee, to funds to create a storytelling tent. Send me your ideas and I will read them,’ says James. ‘For me, making the pledge is the easy part. The tricky task will be deciding which shops to help.’

I feel tempted to step into my local book shop and share with them just a few of the ideas we put in place in our schools on a regular basis.

Read more about this generous initiative reported by Look to the Stars: The World of Celebrity Giving.

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Not so long ago we were lamenting the end of the book.  With book stores closing down, the outlook had been looking very bleak.

But, it seems, a resurgence is happening! And it is children and young adult literature which is leading the way.

As reported in a recent AFR articl: Book stores find rich market in tech-savvy readers (March 20, 2015) sales to children and teenagers have been steadily increasing, so much so that when book shop owners Fiona Stager and Kevin Guy looked at their sales figures and saw the strong trend of children and young adult book sales, they decided to open Where the Wild Things Are Bookshop – a book shop dedicated solely to this market.

It’s great to see this trend also being reported by book chains:

At Dymocks, printed children’s book sales rose 14 per cent in 2014. A sub-section of that category, young adult sales, recorded a 43 per cent lift. “

Great news for those of us working in school libraries!

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BiblioMat Vending Machien
I  just caught up with this very cool vending machine which is situated in The Monkey’s Paw, an antiquarian book shop in Toronto and ….. as to be expected of a vending machines ….. just insert $2 and out pops a book!!

Created by Craig Small for the book shop, it really is quite an ingenious machine into which random books of different sizes can be loaded.  Once $2 is inserted by a book patron, a surprise title comes tumbling out!

It’s brilliant and I definitely want one in our library!!


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Planning a visit to Wales?

If yes – be sure to visit Hay-on-Wye which is located on the Welsh/English border in the United Kingdom on the banks of the River Wye.  Referred to as the National Book Town of Wales, it is picturesque – replete with castle ruins, mansions and more than 30 bookshops!   Delve into a castle, a cinema and a fire station and be delighted to discover that they too are bookshops!

Each bookshop has their own “specialty”. For example, you’ve got Murder and Mayhem for detective fiction, true crime and horror; Rose’s Books for rare and out-of-print children’s and illustrated books; C. Arden Bookseller for natural history, botany & gardening, and beekeeping; and Addyman Annexe for a large stock that covers all subjects.”



Check out the beauty of this town and just some of the inspirational bookshops on offer on this When on Earth listing.

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Can you imagine yourself shopping for a good read in a 15th Century Catherderal?

Waanders In de Broeren

Waanders In de Broeren

Well ….. dreams can come true if you travel to Zwolle in The Netherlands  where architects B.K. Architecten were tasked with renovating a 15th century Dominican church into a modern bookstore.

Waanders In de Broeren opened for business just a few months ago.   Be sure to include a stopover on the itinerary of your next overseas trip!

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