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Little shop of big reads

A Little Shop of Books owner Wendy Campbell
A Little Shop of Books owner Wendy Campbell

IN every story there is a David and a Goliath, good and evil, a battle to survive and Warwick’s Little Shop of Books is no stranger to a gripping tale.

The bookstore, which has graced a side street in our CBD since the 1940s, has like many Australian retailers suffered as consumers sought out cheaper reads on the internet.

But owner Wendy Campbell said despite the downturn in sales and the rise of e-books the paper-based versions would endure.

“This is not the end of books as we know it,” she said.

Ms Campbell was speaking out as the nation’s largest book chain, Angus and Robertson and its sister company Borders, went into receivership with debts of more than $43 million.

Financial analysts blamed a rise in e-commerce sites offering a vast range of books at heavily discounted prices and a strong Australian dollar which encouraged overseas shopping.

On a local front Ms Campbell, who has owned the Little Shop of Books for more than a decade, said sales had suffered but customer loyalty kept her in business.

“We carry more than 35,000 books so we tend to have something for everyone and as a result we get a broad range of customers,” she said.

“But there has been a fall in sales.

“Some of this could be attributed to people feeling a little economically strained.

“Internet sites offering cheap books also impacts on Australian stores and some people are techno types, who prefer e-books.

“Overall though we are doing okay and I think our range and the fact we have some very loyal customers helps keep the doors open.”

Though shutting up shop has never been an option she seriously considered anyway.

“I love reading and encouraging others to read: You have too in a business like this,” Ms Campbell said.

“You also need to know about books, otherwise how can you make recommendations to your customers?”

She said her store carries everything from non-fiction, to thrillers, romance, children’s books and an extensive range of comics.

In 11 years she hasn’t noticed too many trends reading wise.

Although she has known irregular fads in series form like Harry Potter and the Twilight books and high demand novels like Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code.

“Some people only read non-fiction, some live for romance, others prefer thrillers, some only buy Simpson’s’ comics,” Ms Campbell said.

“You don’t have to be high brow to love books.”

Although she added good humouredly she has had young blokes come in searching for volumes of Shakespeare to leave on the coffee table to impress girls.

“I don’t mind helping them. You never know they might even read them one day.”


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