When I was a kid, bookstores were fusty dusty places inhabited by people who said ‘Shhh’ a lot – sort of like miniature libraries. We did not have a local bookstore, but the general store on the corner occasionally had a table set up outside where folks could pick up a pre-loved novel at a much reduced price.
My mother was an avid reader. She contributed books to that table and received an extra discount on the books she bought. I scored my first Nancy Drew novel via that table.
To visit a “real” bookstore meant a trip into the city. “Real” bookstores, the fusty dusty places mentioned previously, were tucked in between the larger department stores or in the arcades that linked the main streets. The department stores had their book departments. These were bright, colourful areas, filled with posters and cardboard display stands. My brother would head for the dinosaur section and I would find the mysteries. Mum could enjoy time checking out the latest fashions safe in the knowledge that TJ and I were curled up in the book department, each lost in our own world of wonder.
This weekend, in my city, a new bookstore is opening. It is situated in a bayside suburb and goes by the impish name of “Little Gnome”. In contrast to the bookstores of my childhood, Little Gnome is bright and airy, and nobody tells you to shush. In fact, displaying delight at the books on display is positively encouraged. There are comfy chairs, cushions, bright posters, books, books and more books and, of course, the Little Gnome himself.
Here he is posing with my books and looking far more smiley than I do. I always look squinty or cranky in photos…don’t know whether to smile or not (but that’s a whole other story).
The Gnome’s humans are actively supporting indie writers in their store. This is very much appreciated by me and my fellow independent authors. It is not easy to get store owners to speak with you, let alone stock your books, if you do not have the might of a large publishing house behind you.
My husband and I will be amongst the, hopefully large, crowd that will be attending the opening tomorrow.
If you are in the Brisbane area, why not drop by Little Gnome Bookstore and breathe in that lovely new-book smell. You can enjoy a freshly-brewed coffee or scrumptious milkshake while you browse and, I am sure, there will be authors around who will be happy to sign books for you. There are books of all genres and even some colouring books (great for relieving stress) for adults.
Here is the address.
Little Gnome Bookstore
66 Florence Street