Below is the article that appeared in the Bankstown Torch. Following its publication, the store was inundated by calls from dismayed locals, distraught at losing a vital member of their community.
Internet sounding book store death knell
WHILE many bricks-and-mortar retailers have been hit hard by online sales, arguably none have suffered more than the traditional book shop.
Book stores have done it tough with the rise of ebooks and the internet radically changing the public’s reading habits.
As international online giants push their way into the marketplace, countless book stores have closed, and Bankstown is the latest casualty. One of the last remaining large style book stores, Your Bookshop will close in Bankstown on Sunday, after 23 years.
Owners Bonnie and Mark Serov said it was a tough decision.
“The book business is not like your average business,” Bonnie said. “We have strong community connections, and closing will impact on many of our customers.”
Rising costs, coupled with a drastic drop in sales, has meant the business is no longer viable, Bonnie said.
The Bankstown store was established by Bonnie’s father, Kamal Dastyari, in 1993. Despite the demise of Angus & Robertson in 2011, Mr Dastyari never lost faith in the future of books and eventually opened four more stores across Sydney.
Bonnie and her husband Mark took over the family’s five book stores after Mr Dastyari’s death in 2014.
“We closed our stores at Blacktown and Top Ryde last year, and are in the process of selling our Merrylands shop,” Bonnie said. “After Bankstown shuts on Sunday, The Rhodes shop will also close by the end of the year.”
Bonnie blames ebooks and the internet: “We once supplied 20 local schools with books, and that dried up when schools began sourcing their books directly from suppliers over the internet. The same has happened with libraries.”
I wrote about my experiences and love of book-selling in 25 Years a Bookseller. Three years on, I’m not fully sure I’ve got over the experience of closing our bookstores.
I still get a trill walking into a bookstore. The serendipity of discovering a new title not curated by an algorithm feels a visceral need in me. I love browsing the shelves, scanning the titles, searching for the one I’ll be taking home with me.
Since we closed our last bookstore in July 2016, many more bookstores have closed their doors. In 2019, Pages and Pages in Mosman, Lindfield Bookshop and Beecroft Children’s Bookstores have all closed. Just like our bookstores, these stores provided a hub where the local community met, browsed the shelves for new literature, attended book events and met authors. For up and coming authors such as myself, booksellers were invaluable agents, hand-selling and supporting local talents.
Bookstores have always been, and always will be an integral part of any community. It fills me with great sadness when I hear news of a bookstore closing down. Losing the local bookstore creates a void in the heart of the community that no internet site can ever replace.
Have you had a local bookstore closing down? How did you feel? Plenty of book lovers and customers have shared their stories with us. And I would love to hear yours. Share your thoughts, experience and comments in the section below.
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Till next time…