In a year when some of Australia's best-loved bookstores marked 40, 50, even 100 years in the business, booklovers young and old come out for Love Your Bookshop Day on Saturday 10 August – Celebrating the places and faces that beckon the imagination and deliver comfort, connection, insight and delight.
Despite rumblings of gloom from the retail sector of late, bookselling has seen growth at the top end of the book market this year, even in a difficult retail landscape. Australian Booksellers Association CEO, Robbie Egan, says this is due in part to that 'unique space that bookshops hold where art and business intersect' – transcending a simple monetary transaction.
'Bookshops are places we visit not just to shop but to browse without a purchase in mind, to engage with people in a space outside of work and home'. They are a hub of creativity and community.
The 'death of the bookshop' is a line thrown around often, but we're unlikely to see it happen – Children's book sales are stronger than ever before, and we are literally growing a new generation of readers and book-buyers as we speak.
So many of the country's much-loved bookstores have been stalwarts through a changing retail landscape. This year many of these bookshops are celebrating significant milestone birthdays - Constant Reader and Bray's in NSW, Paperback and Readings in Victoria, Matilda Bookshop in SA and Fuller's in Tasmania ringing in a century! These milestones will be celebrated with extra cheer on this year's Love Your Bookshop Day.
Bookshops around the country will be celebrating in different ways, catering for booklovers young and old: Dymocks Hobart (TAS) is offering 'blind dates' with a book; Squishy Minnie's (VIC) is hosting a plastic toy exchange; there will be fancy dress at Book Face Gunghalin (ACT); a micro-story competition on social media with Farrells bookshop's (VIC); cupcakes at Dymocks Joondalup (WA); a creative poetry workshop for teens at Harry Hartog Miranda (NSW); the inaugural Beaufort Street Books (WA) Brickmaster Championship; and Readings (VIC) are running a competition for young readers to design their own bookshop.
This year we are also celebrating the creative community we find in bookstores and the many authors you might have found behind the counters in your local bookstores – Krissy Kneen, Michelle Law and Ben Law at Avid Reader, Andrew McDonald and Fiona Hardy at Readings, Jeremy Lachlan at Oscar & Friends, Neal Drinnan at Cow Lick Bookshop … and so many more.