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Today's quote:

Thursday, February 11, 2021

I still have the money for it but I've run out of time


A bookshop owner wins ten million dollars in the lottery. His ecstatic friends ask him what he plans to do with the money. With a huge smile on his face, he answers: "I'll keep selling books until the money runs out!"

We have had two bookshops in the Bay which kept on selling books until the money ran out. Other bookshops all over the world are also closing because of competition from online retailers like Amazon and the increasing popularity of eReaders. Thankfully, our local op-shops are picking up the slack by forever expanding their second-hand book sections, with the added bonus of charging no more than a gold coin.

I cannot imagine a life without books or bookshops; in fact, there was a time, albeit it ever so short, when I entertained the idea of opening a bookshop myself. Here are the stories of some of the few that are left:


To view many more similar videos, search for "secondhand bookshop" on YouTube


During my trying times in Sydney two years ago when I underwent an operation and radiation, I discovered Gould's Book Arcade on King Street in Newtown. It was just around the corner from the Lifehouse in Missenden Road, and I spent many happy hours in there, forgetting all about my physical misery as I entered the world of the written word.


A chapter of Australian history comes to an end as Gould's Book Arcade – the vast Sydney bookshop on King Street in Newtown – gets set to close its doors or relocate after three decades. The life of Bob Gould, the bookseller and 'Sydney radical', as told by his daughter Natalie, is as fascinating as any story that can be found in the two million or so books contained in the chaotic three-storey warehouse - for more, click here.


There's always been that thought in the back of my mind that perhaps one day I would open a small bookshop somewhere myself. Not to make money but to make friends with like-minded booklovers. It hasn't happened yet and probably never will, and if George Orwell's cautionary tale "Bookshop Memories" is anything to go by, it's probably just as well:

"When I worked in a second-hand bookshop – so easily pictured, if you don't work in one, as a kind of paradise where charming old gentlemen browse eternally among calf-bound folios – the thing that chiefly struck me was the rarity of really bookish people. Our shop had an exceptionally interesting stock, yet I doubt whether ten per cent of our customers knew a good book from a bad one. First edition snobs were much commoner than lovers of literature, but oriental students haggling over cheap textbooks were commoner still, and vague-minded women looking for birthday presents for their nephews were commonest of all." [continue here]

Anyway, while I still have the money for it, I probably ran out of time.

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