Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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Dymocks Alice Springs to close

Alice Springs will lose its only generalist bookstore when Dymocks Alice Springs closes in mid-January.

The franchise store’s owner Bev Ellis told Books+Publishing that she has decided to retire from the business and has been unable to find a buyer. The store has operated in Alice Springs for 20 years after Ellis and her husband opened it in December 1993.

Ellis said she has noticed a ‘very steady decline’ in sales over the past years. ‘We find that the schools no longer order in the same amount as they once did with us, telling us quite openly, “we order over the net!” Many walk-in customers are no longer prepared to wait if we don’t have a title in stock, again saying, “I’ll get it over the net”. But they do expect us to research for titles.’  

Ellis also noted an increase in rental, power and postage costs for the store. ‘Rents are very high in Alice—I know people think that because we’re in the middle of nowhere they’d be cheap! Our power bills rose by 25 percent in January (and that was across the NT) so that affected lots of businesses. Australia Post increased a charge where we send “out of Alice to a bush community” from $5.50 to $19.30 … and the list goes on.’

Ellis said she believes small retailers, with the exception of very specialised stores, will ‘cease to exist’ in smaller regional centres and towns. ‘We have only one ladies dress shop in Alice apart from Target, Kmart and Best&Less. Choice is not high and so you can see that going online is becoming easier for locals. The only thing that seems to be growing is the queue at the post office of people waiting to collect parcels!’

Other booksellers currently operating in Alice Springs are Australian books specialist Red Kangaroo Books and a second-hand bookstore, as well as Kmart and Target, which both have books sections. 



Category: Local news