Tomorrow is Love Your Bookshop Day, inviting booklovers to come together and celebrate all the wonderful things that their favourite bookshops do for local communities.
They’re booksellers, yes, but they’re so much more. They can give personalised recommendations for gifts and book clubs, or find you that book with the blue cover that was in the window six months ago, even when you can’t remember the title. They introduce you to your favourite local author or put a debut author’s book into your hands at just that perfect moment. Sometimes, they even put your own book in the window.
With postal delays and international paper shortages looming, Love Your Bookshop Day is also a great opportunity to start some sneaky Christmas (I know, the C-word in October!) shopping, and avoid being disappointed when the items you want are out of stock come December.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the great bookshops in Australia. This is just a very small selection of the shops that have made an impression on some of the members of our books team – and, spoiler alert: a lot of us are currently based in WA!
The truth is, there are too many amazing booksellers to list in one article (we could do it, but you wouldn’t read all the way to the end, I’m sure) so in the words of Tenacious D, “this is just a tribute.”
The Book Box, Esperance, WA
Nestled inside the Old Courthouse building at the Museum Village, this cosy bookshop is the epitome of small-town customer service. Vintage wooden floorboards creak as you walk around and browse the wall-to-wall bookshelves bathed in the afternoon sun. Local authors as well as bestselling titles provide a diverse mix of books to choose from, and owner Tammy does an amazing job at catering to any requests for titles.
It’s usually my first stop when I go back to visit my hometown, and I never leave empty handed!
Rabble Books and Games, Maylands, WA
It’s hard to pick just one favourite bookshop, because I am a fan of so many, but I have to single out Rabble because of how much support they offered me when my first book came out at the end of 2019.
If it can be said that bookshops have individual personalities, then theirs is that fun-loving friend who celebrates life constantly and is always surprising you with their great ideas. They don’t just host author talks—they get involved in games nights, drag queen story hours, and panel discussions with local organisations. Plus, if you need a board game recommendation, they really know their stuff. Becoming a Rabble Books and Games customer is becoming part of a community, and Perth is so lucky to have them.
(Editor’s note: If you’d like to know more about Emily’s short story collection Well-Behaved Women before you order it from your favourite local bookshop, you can read our review HERE)
One of my favourite bookshops is my local Dymocks in Joondalup. The team there are endlessly passionate about books and supporting local authors. It’s home to the 2019 ABA Young Bookseller of the Year, Aisling Lawless, who is honestly just one of the kindest people you’ll ever meet. They also host a monthly Young Adult Book Club which is hugely successful and I’m a massive fan of their Books at Bars events (wine, cheese and books? Yes please!). The team here go above and beyond all the time. During COVID, they were organising home deliveries for everyone in lockdown with their staff dropping off books to their customers on their way home from work. Their dedication and passion give the store such a positive vibe and I’m so lucky to live so close to them!
Pulp Fiction, Brisbane CBD, QLD
Brisbane has some quality bookshops. But, one of my favourite discoveries on my first visit to the city was Pulp Fiction. Tucked away in a “retro” arcade on Adelaide Street, the shop is a treasure trove of genre fiction: think Fantasy, Science-Fiction, Crime and Mystery. It’s not a massive shop, but with knowledgeable staff and a decent range of stock, I managed to spend a decent chuck of time in there, and make a point of heading back every time I’m back in town.
Archives Fine Books, Brisbane CBD, QLD
Stepping into Archives is like stepping into the very idea of a “bookshop”. Housed in a heritage listed building, expect shelves upon shelves, packed with pre-loved treasures, just waiting to be explored. If you’ve ever bought a candle that says it smells like old books, it better smell exactly like Archives, otherwise you need to ask for your money back. Also, it’s right next door to Pancake Manor, so WIN/WIN.
Avid Reader, West End, QLD
It honestly wouldn’t be a Love Your Bookshop Day without an Avid Reader shoutout. This year, they’ll be hosting the Festival of Cancelled Events, with authors appearing both instore and online, chatting about launching books in the middle of a global pandemic. Guests will include Bri Lee, Amani Haydar, Mirandi Riwoe, Anita Heiss, and Laura Elvery.
That said, Avid Reader shines all year round, and alongside children’s book focused little sister, Where The Wild Things Are, its absolutely the place to go in Brisbane for all your reading needs. Boasting an incredible selection of books and gifts, and a wide variety of book clubs, as well as phenomenal staff, and an event listings page that will have any reader salivating, Avid Reader is an absolute bookshop icon. It’s also the ABIA 2021 Bookshop of the Year, so if you’re not already heading to their store (or jumping on their website), what are you doing?
Love Your Bookshop Day takes place on Saturday 9th October. For more information, head over to their website HERE.
If you’ve got a favourite bookshop that you’d like to shout out this Saturday, make sure you use the hashtag #LYBD2021, and remember that shopping local is one of the best ways to show you care.
Header image credit: Love Your Bookshop Day via Facebook.