Here is something new and shiny for all you book lovers to read. I wanted to sporadically (and make it ongoing) share a little bit about my experiences of working in a bookstore and what it’s like to be behind the scenes of the bookselling trade.
There is so much to know about bookselling, the profession and as a career. I hope that by sharing a little about my world in the book industry, it may fulfil some part of you (as an avid book lover) and make you love bookstores just a little more deeply! A lot of work goes into bookselling and if you’re anything like me, a lot of thinking time about books, book ideas and business outside of work hours, because the love and care for bookselling runs deep.
So – let me bring you up to speed on one of my most recent book industry experiences.
Last week, I travelled to Canberra with my boss/mentor/book industry encourager. We had been invited to Affirm Press’ Roadshow, in which they wanted to share some of their exciting upcoming titles, authors and explain their recent expansions.
To put it in straightforward terms, in Australia there are probably about 5 big guys (Publishing Houses). I would *personally* view those guys as (in no particular order):
- Penguin Randomhouse Australia
- Allen & Unwin Australia
- Hachette Australia
- Scholastic Australia
- Pan Macmillan Australia
Now, these big guys publish hundreds of titles a year from a variety of different genres. Affirm Press is one that continues to make slow and steady process to move their way up the chain. They have gone from publishing around 9 titles a handful of years ago, to now publishing 99. Their books are quality and they have one extremely successful author under their belt – that being Pip Williams.
Pip is the author of ‘The Dictionary of Lost Words’, which won the Australian Book Industry Award in the category of General Fiction Prize in 2021. This is one of the best and most reputable prizes for a novel to win in Australia – especially during the pandemic!!
At the Roadshow, Affirm Press essentially shared their plans for 2023, their staffing team for our region of Australia and also some shiny new prerelease titles with us. It was also a great opportunity to meet other booksellers, some bookstore owners and event planners from the area. Oh and not to mention, Pip Williams was actually PRESENT at the event. It was wonderful to meet her and her professionalism + book expertise is divine. We were also introduced to Pip’s second novel, published in March this year, “The Bookbinder of Jericho”. Luckily, we each received an uncorrected proof copy of this new novel, as well as had it signed by Pip. This was a special moment for us and Pip as it was her first time signing ANY of the Bookbinder … it was a moment to remember.
I left the event and overnight stay feeling more connected to the book industry and fresh with creative ideas for the future of our local bookstore/author events.
We also took the opportunity in Canberra to visit 3 bookstores. I regularly love to do this (much to my families teasing, they say “You work in one! Why do you need to see more?!”) because every bookstore is SO unique. From the furnishings, the books, giftware and bookmarks stocked, to the staff and the recommendations. I always come back home with new ideas and inspiration. We visited BookFace in Gungahlin, Paperchain in Manuka & Dymocks in Belconnen.
So book lovers, what do you think? Do you like this little update on the life of a bookseller? Comment below if you’d like to see more blog posts here 🎤📚🎙