Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Farewell, Collins Booksellers Edwardstown

Me at the book signing for Poison Ivy in March 2015,
at Collins Booksellers Edwardstown.

For those of you who don't know, on January 24, Collins Booksellers at Edwardstown closed its door for the last time. It is a sad tribute to the times we live in that a local, and much loved bookstore can no longer keep its doors open. 

For me, this is very sad news. I've been friends with this bookstore for a long time--I still remember my first visit as a student who came in to buy the new John Marsden novel. Back then, of course, there store still traded as an Angus and Robertson. Later, when I started working at the Castle Plaza shopping centre (first at Coles and later at Australia Post,) we became firm friends. This store always seemed to have the best books, and not just the mass market fiction that you usually see at Big W or Target. 

And I remember thinking if, maybe, just once, I was able to publish a book and do a signing there, it would be the absolute pinnacle of success. 

And then, when my books started being published and, more importantly, selling, I discovered just how vital bookstores are to local authors. This store didn't just let me turn up there and sign books one day. Their shelves were always stocked with my books, the actively promoted me and many other local authors through their store and social media. I made some great friends, such as author Aprille Legacy and went to many, many events that were hosted by this store, including the launch of an anthology that one of the staff members, Tarran, had been published in. National Bookshop Day was always a huge event with a lot going on. And that signing? That one that would be the pinnacle of success? I would do five over a four year period, all of them well-promoted. 

Its sad to think of stores like this one closing there doors, and much I feel is the fault not of the internet or eBooks, but of the trend in recent years for people to buy their books from places like Big W, Kmart or Target. While these stores are generally cheaper, they also lack some of the best qualities of a local bookstore--if you buy a book from any of them, you're not going to have the chance to get personalised service from an expert and experienced bookseller, who can refer you to similar books and authors, and they'll know about them, because most people who work in bookstores are not only readers themselves, but they have regular contact with other avid readers, and also the publishers and distributors of those books. Often bookstores are able to do special orders, have good relationships with local authors and get more, and more interesting things, on their shelves in addition to the latest mass market best seller. 

So, I guess what I am saying is support your local bookstore. You'll be pleasantly surprised by what you find in there. Don't let a good thing become extinct.