Book Stop #3

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Book Stop is an occasional meme that allows me to travel and indulge in a good bookshop or library  browse, during these strange, strange times when it’s difficult to travel outside our home state, let alone the country. I plan to combine my bookish instincts with my itchy feet and explore the world via bookshops and libraries.

I have a number of bookstores on my to-visit wish list, if I am ever in that country, state or neighbourhood. This is the perfect time to share some of them and my reasons for wanting to visit (beside the obvious reason, of course!)

Readings in Melbourne is now an institution, and I have no idea how, with all the visits I’ve had to Melbourne over the years, I’ve managed not to visit one of the Readings stores.

The first store was opened in 1969 by Ross and Dot Reading and Peter Reid. After a couple of moves to find larger premises, the Carlton shop can now be found at 309 Lygon St, Carlton.

One of the reasons I’ve wanted to visit Readings in more recent times, is that it was first opened in the same year as the bookshop I manage. There are not many 52 year old bookshops left in Australia. And like my bookshop, it has undergone a beautiful architect designed renovation in recent years.

Readings now has sister shops in Doncaster, Hawthorn, St Kilda, Malvern, a kids shop at 315 Lygon St and an outlet for students at the State Library. They have a great blog, which is regularly updated, and features reviews from their very well-read staff.

Have you been to any of the Readings stores in Melbourne? Which one is your favourite or your local? I’m really hoping to have my first visit in March, provided there are no more virus outbreaks that close our state borders!
 

7 thoughts on “Book Stop #3

  1. Have I been to Readings? Let me count the ways!
    All the stores of course, and book launches and author talks at all of them except the children’s and the State Library one.
    When I was buying books for my school’s library the children’s branch hadn’t opened, or I would have certainly gone there. Readings was my go-to place for really nice versions of folk and fairy tales and the sort of gorgeous books that the disadvantaged children I taught would never have seen, much less been given as birthday or Christmas presents. They were also really good for children’s books from around the wider world (e.g. folk tales from countries in Africa and the Middle East) and featuring People of Colour including Indigenous people. No child from any country, that I taught, could ever say that they never ‘saw themselves’ in books; I had a great collection, thanks to Readings.
    And during the pandemic, they pivoted quickly so that many events were held online, and I reported them on the blog if I attended. Their monthly newsletter became more important because we couldn’t browse, and they also sent featured collections such as recent translations in email newsletters.
    I made a point of spending *blush* far too much considering the state of my TBR at two of my favourite bookshops, alternating between Readings and Benn’s Book Store in Bentleigh. I still haven’t ventured to any of the Readings shops so far, because none of them are close to home but the time will come, no doubt about that.
    (Actually, I’ve been in touch with Mark Rubbo about having a branch on my side of town. My suburb does not actually have an indie bookshop, and with gentrification, and lots of young families, it needs one. So far no joy, but I live in hope.)

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  2. I’m aching to get into our Oxfam Books – it’s looking like April 12 at the earliest that non-essential shops will be open so that’s a long wait still. And really I need to leave it a couple of weeks so people can donate all their lockdown reading and I can go and pounce on it … That sounds like a lovely and successful bookshop which is very nice to read about!

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    1. Wow that’s such a long wait for books! Do you have a favourite bookshop near you that you can support online during lockdown?
      We were home delivering books to our local customers during our (very brief in hindsight) lockdown last year.

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        1. Sorry I typed that a bit quickly on my phone last night. We have the online bookshop bookstore.org which started in the US and then opened here. You can nominate an indie bookshop to receive a percentage of the sale price quite near what they would get if you bought the book from them – or if you don’t nominate, a smaller percentage of all sales go to all the shops in the scheme. There has been some pushback about this service but mainly from shops worried that people will order from the site instead of coming to them or believe they are ordering from the actual shop (it’s from a big service but they send money to the shops). But the two I am supporting through it, a very small local one and the one in Penzance I always bought from on holidays, are both very enthusiastic. I used to buy from Hive which you could do the same with but it sent them a smaller percentage, however there you can have the books delivered to the shop to collect, thus sending you into the shop to see what else there is. I also order online from Foyle’s, which is a semi independent small chain.

          But I love my charity shops for the serendipity and because I live in a heavy reading area full of people who like to donate books!

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          1. I remember hearing about bookstore.org when it started in the US, I didn’t realise it had also moved to the UK. I know some smaller bookshop don’t have an online store, so I guess this may be a good way for people to still support them if they cannot get into the store personally. I imagine it has been a godsend during this lockdown time for readers.

            Curiously it is the second hand bookshops that seem to be harder to find in Australia, or at least in Sydney these days. We’re regularly asked if we will take used books because there are so few options available to locals trying to get rid of books.

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