Within a two block radius of where I live, there is a certain chain of convenience stores which seem to be rather disproportionately represented. I can trip over half a dozen of the damn things, all of which look bereft of customers most of the time. How they manage to stay in business, especially given the presence of two large supermarkets within the same area, is a problem best solved by minds greater than mine.
To have one of these convenience stores close down is a rare event. To have one close and then see a small hand written sign announcing that a secondhand bookshop is soon to open in its place is an even more rare event. What? A secondhand bookshop opening, not closing??? Okay, so the new bookshop is going to bethe latest branch in what their website describes as “one of Australia’s largest second-hand bookshop operations, with 7 stores on both sides of the Australian continent”
And okay, I admit that I’d have preferred – A: a secondhand and antiquarian bookshop, and B: the above to be owned by a new operator but who am I to quibble? The advent of a new secondhand bookshop is virtually unheard of in Sydney these days, talk in Australia is more of how difficult business has been for the past few years, and of those who have given up premises to deal online. This is an event which should be celebrated both as the opening of a new bookshop and, hopefully, as a sign that more people are buying books. I wish them luck. The socio-demographics in my area are peculiar and not ones which I would have thought would immediately scream “yes! We’re going to make zillions from selling books here!” but maybe, just maybe, the presence of all these inviting books will make readers (and collectors, dare I dream?) out of them yet….