Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

Image. Advertisement:

Melbourne bookshops create new initiative to attract customers

Over the next four months, seven bookshops in the City of Melbourne will select a new book by a Victorian author and offer 25 percent off the cover price, in a new scheme called Melbourne City Reads.

The seven bookshops involved are: Dymocks Melbourne, Hill of Content, Mary Martin Southbank, North Melbourne Books, The Paperback Bookshop, Readings Carlton and Readings State Library.

The first book selected is Small Joys of Real Life by Allee Richards (Hachette), which has begun selling this month. It will be followed by In Moonland by Miles Allinson (Scribe) in September, Wild Abandon by Emily Bitto (A&U) in October and How Decent Folk Behave by Maxine Beneba Clarke (Hachette) in November. Additionally, each chosen author will feature in an event at the Wheeler Centre at the end of each month. The first event will be in September as part of the Melbourne Writers Festival.

Readings managing director Mark Rubbo came up with the idea and consulted the other shops before conferring with the city council and mayor Sally Capp. The scheme is designed to help combat the damage caused by Melbourne’s lockdowns by attracting more people to shops in the city and boosting local writers.

‘The State Library shop is down by between 70 and 80 per cent, because the library has been shut for such a long time and people aren’t coming back into the city. Carlton is down 10 to 20 per cent,’ Rubbo told the Age.

Owner of Mary Martin Southbank, Jaye Chin-Dusting, said the recovery after lockdowns was tangible but the location of the Southbank shop ‘is very much serviced by international tourists, local visitors and supported by office workers’. With very little foot traffic due to lockdowns, the store ‘went down to about 30 percent of revenue’, Chin-Dusting added.

Of having her book selected by some of her favourite bookshops, Richards said, ‘It feels as though an unrequited love I’ve had for years suddenly loves me back. I hope people embrace Melbourne’s small businesses and authors, not just me.’

The initiative has received a small grant from the council and state government to assist with promotional material.


Category: Local news