Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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Collins celebrates 90 years with 90 favourite books

Several weeks after Collins Booksellers’ flagship store, Hill of Content Bookshop in Melbourne, celebrated its 90th birthday, the Collins family and friends gathered at Melbourne’s Abbottsford convent this month to celebrate the franchise network’s 90th birthday.

To celebrate the occasion, Collins Booksellers also voted on its favourite 90 books. The top 10 was a mixture of classics, including The Lord of the Rings (1), To Kill a Mockingbird (3) and Pride and Prejudice (4), and more recent releases, such as Justin Cronin’s The Passage (2), Kathryn Stockett’s The Help (8) and Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants (10). The top Australian titles were Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet (6), Kate Morton’s The Forgotten Garden (11) and Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief (12). Collins is offering customers a chance to win a selection of the 90 books through its website and Christmas catalogue.

Collins Booksellers first began in 1922 as a newsagency at 622 Collins Street in Melbourne. In 1929, founder Frederick Henry (Harry) Slamen opened new branches at 95 Elizabeth Street and 361 Swanston Street in Melbourne and registered the company under the name Collins Book Depot.

Collins expanded in the 1960s, moving into new locations in Victoria, and again in the 1970s, when it opened stores in NSW, WA, Queensland and the ACT. The company also embraced franchising, particularly in regional areas.

In 2005 when the company went into administration, the franchised stores purchased the business, closing down company-owned and small, unprofitable stores. Since then, further stores have been added to the network, including Book City and Angus & Robertson stores, increasing its size to over 60 stores. A further 20 new franchises are planned for the next three years.

In recent years the company has also acquired online book retail company Seek Media, partnered with ereading platform Kobo and launched a new website.

See photos from Collins’ 90th birthday celebration here.



Category: Local news