Bookshops are alive and well and living in the Central West. Or so it seems after two book signings I have done recently at bookshops in Orange and Dubbo in New South Wales.
I was promoting my new book Garden on a road trip over the October long weekend. I travelled west from the Blue Mountains to Orange, Dubbo and then north to Coonabarabran for The Garden Gallop.
Boomers Bookshop, Orange
My first stop was at an ABC bookshop, Boomers Bookshop in Orange. Boomers is a small shop in the Orange City Centre, a Mirvac shopping complex behind Myers, right in the middle of Orange. It is a busy place with lots of activity in the store and online.
Boomers has a Facebook page and also tweets regularly. The shop also actively promotes local authors and welcomes visiting authors (like me) by hosting book signings, talks and other book-related events.
This is a comfortable, welcoming shop with lots of regular customers who stopped by, taking time out from their Saturday morning shopping to say hi. As well, there were many people drifting over from the busy café across the way.
Its kid’s section was constantly busy and there was a gift section too (the blackboard mugs caught my eye!).
My book had been well promoted on Facebook and Twitter (@boomersbookshop) and the store had six online sales and were expecting more. They had also advertised the event and spread the word on local radio. Mornings presenter Angela Owens (@angeowens) from ABC Central West also dropped by to say hello.
Dubbo’s Book Connection
After lunch I headed to Dubbo (a two-hour drive through lush pastures after good late winter rain) and discovered The Book Connection. This is an Aladdin’s cave of a bookshop on Dubbo’s main shopping street, Macquarie Street.
The shop has a website, but hasn’t quite made it into social media yet, but you can buy online from the store.
I explored the shop with owner David Pankhurst (distantly related I think – to Mrs Pankurst), who has owned the business for 30 years. I would venture to say there wasn’t a book he couldn’t supply from his stock of some 50,000 books.
The shop’s website says the store holds subjects from agriculture to zoology. His gardening section was very well stocked. He also had lots of secondhand books (all $6) shelved with the new books and he has an antiquarian section.
David says his approach to running his store was influenced by Michael Powell from Portland, Oregon, a leading light in book selling in the US. I hope Dubbo appreciates and continues to support this treasure of a shop and its owner and, if you need an obscure book – or even a normal book – check David’s website as he very well may have it in stock.
And here’s a tip I gleaned while I was in the store. A spray of Mr Sheen gets the sticky mark left by a price or promotion tag off a book cover.
After such a welcoming time in the bookshops of Orange and Dubbo, Coonabarabran’s gardens didn’t disappoint. Nestled in the Warrumbungles it is a picturesque spot.
The Garden Gallop, an annual fundraising event for the local guides, was busy. The six local gardens that had opened their gates to help the guides were all pulsing with people. Each garden was quite different and all offered lots of inspiration to local gardeners and visitors alike.
The Garden Gallop is supported by lots of people but prime mover, Vivian Evans, who is the local ‘Blue Wren’ for the troop, deserves a huge round of applause for her smooth organisation and efficient management. She had even set up a website for the event.
I gave a talk, sold some books and thoroughly enjoyed myself!