Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Bookshop Spotlight #5: Riverbend Books

This is the fifth Bookshop Spotlight blog post. You can find the others over here:

#1 Ripping Yarns
#2 Constellation Books
#3 Storytellers, Inc.
#4 Belgravia Books

These posts are about showcasing bookshops all over the world and celebrating their wonderfulness. So, here's Jason from Riverbend books to tell you all about their award winning bookshop in Queensland, Australia. Who couldn't love a bookshop that has a bookshop dog... called Bernard Black?


Past events:

"We hold an annual Winter and Summer Bookchat, which is hosted by Suzy. The local community comes along for some light refreshments and to hear Suzy talk about all of the new books and our favourites in the store."

"Some of our favourite events include the Poetry Series that we hold about three times a year. Local and international poets visit and perform on our deck. We also had a Hunger Games Trivia Night that was a huge success."

Events we've got planned

"Coming up, we have a few Foodies events. We invite a celebrity chef to visit the store, often for a breakfast where they can discuss their book, their philosophy on food and take questions from customers. Some of the chefs we've had visit include Stephanie Alexander, Philip Johnson, Manu Feildel, Kylie Kwong, Luke Nguyen and Maggie Beer.

"We also have a Poetry Series currently running in conjunction with the Writer's Centre; we have a Parenting series coming up and a lecture series.

"Currently we are also doing a Weave + Wonder series for kids which incorporates story and art."

Introducing members of staff:

"Jen handles everything to do with schools, from orders to events.
Marilyn has worked here the longest out of any of the staff and is our children's expert.
Lyn is our manager. She keeps us in line and makes sure we get paid.
Jason is our social media manager and keeps the shelves stocked.
Maddie takes care of the new releases and our monthly newsletter.
Tanee handles all of the behind the scenes action, from receiving to returns and consignment.
Krysi handles all of our events and keeps things running smoothly."

Our favourite books

"The Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro [Jen: love this book!]
The Turning by Tim Winton
The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster"

Our bestsellers

"The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Silk by Alessandro Barico
The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Pie Society By Mary Ann Schaeffer"

[Jen: This is amazing]

How we interact with the local community

"A large portion of our community comes to our monthly bookclubs at the store. When Riverbend first opened, we never had any bookclubs, but the demand was so strong that we had to create some. We currently have five bookclub groups (called Riverbend Readers) that meet regularly, plus a couple of knitting bookclubs (Knits & Novels). We have a YRead bookclub for the Y Gen and a Johnre bookclub for blokes. We had to put a limit on the number of people in each group for logistical reasons and membership into the bookclubs has become highly competitive over the years, with long waiting lists.

"Our bookchats involve a group coming to the store and a member of staff talking to them about a range of titles we recommend. We usually combine this with morning or afternoon tea and we have everyone from school groups to bookclubs to regular customers attending. We do over 100 bookchats every year."

The layout of the shop

"Riverbend is a converted house, which sits on a slight hill. It was raised to the street level and built in underneath. A couple of customers have visited and told us that they used to live in the house before it changed to a store. There is also the slightly scandalous history of the house being used as a brothel! Once upon a time there was a red light above our side door!

"Inside the store, we have our new releases laid out at the front, with our "pretty books," art, interiors, cooking, along a long wall. Then we have a big children's section with a reading nook and a large container full of books for children to read. This is probably the most frequently visited area of our shop.
The back part of the store is mostly fiction, including fantasy, crime and some history and biographies as well. We have a large area of polished wooden floor with a couple of central tables and chairs. Aside from casual use by browsers, we use these tables for bookclub meetings, social media classes and bookchats. Our bookchats involve a group coming to the store and a member of staff talking to them about a range of titles we recommend. We usually combine this with morning or afternoon tea and we have everyone from school groups to bookclubs to regular customers attending."

"Our social media classes are held monthly and are introductory classes in facebook and twitter for anyone who would like to be brought up to speed.
"We also have a large front deck, surrounded by tall bamboo which is used by our Teahouse customers during the day. We use the deck at night for private functions and our own events. The bamboo really shields us from the main road and gives a cosy intimate feeling to the space."

How many books do you have?

"More than we have shelf space for!"

Plans for the future?
"Building community links and working to support literacy in local schools the shop will run some events.
Some fund raising events for the Indigenous LIteracy Foundation which began its life at Riverbend. More information available at www.indigenousliteracyfoundation.org.au"

Any funny stories about the shop?

"We have a bookstore mascot called Bernard Black. He's a dog (not sure of the breed) and occasionally visits for storytime readings of Hairy McLarey."

[Jen: I am dead from cute]

"We have a teahouse and a customer asked for glutton free cake one day!"

Thanks, Jason!


1 comment:

  1. Huffle Puff breakfast cereal?! I AM CALLING COCO POPS THIS FROM NOW ON. That is all. :D