It was a huge year for our little traveling bookshop! We went from the city streets (Melbourne) to the country (Wye River), attending festivals (Clunes Booktown Festival) and markets (Fitzroy Mills) and delivering books to your doorsteps.
I get so much pleasure from finding new homes for books that I know readers will treasure. It is a practical way to combine my environmental activism with my passion for Australian literature and reading. It’s been lovely to find other people who are as enthusiastic about our project as we are, and who continue to buy books and champion our shop.
Here’s a little video with a roundup of our achievements this year.
We’re often asked when and where our mobile bookshop will be heading next. If you’re keen to keep track, the best way is to follow me on Instagram as this is where we announce our comings and goings.
We are about to do a few months of regular attendance in Fitzroy, for those Melbourne folks who have been looking forward to catching us in person. This August and September we’re in iconic Rose Street, Fitzroy. Come say hi!
I’ve been a lover of books since I could listen to them on my Fisher Price tape deck as a child. I’ve also been lucky enough to work with books, literature and writing in Australia for a long time and I have such deep respect for what it takes to get a book published and into the hands of readers.
Not long ago it came to my attention that some (not all!) op shops get so many donated books that every so often they just clear the shelves and throw all the books into the bin. To say I was horrified is not hyperbole. It’s true that many op shops are clogged with enough Clive Cussler books to build a structural wall, but hidden in these shelves are also amazing books, many written by Australian authors, that have lots of life left in them.
Enter On the Road Books. I’m saving great books that are languishing on op shop shelves and curating the best of these to be sold online and on this cute-as-a-button mobile bookstore.
It is my hope that this venture will find new homes for secondhand books which may otherwise languish unappreciated on op-shop shelves or (horror of all horrors) end up in landfill. None of us have the space to keep all the books we read, no matter how much we love them. Ending up in an op shop is not an indication of a book’s worth and there are so many amazing books available.
With a curated collection of high-quality titles on offer, On the Road Books gives great literature another round of life in readers’ hands.
I visited these two fine literary establishments yesterday before leaving Edinburgh. Between the laneway location, cobblestones and dumpster I felt like I could have been in Melbourne. I think the five books I left with (despite my determination not to buy more than one) are a testament to the quality of the stores.
Deadhead Comics had a great display of independent comics, from which I managed to select a pair made by local artists.
Lighthouse Books (formerly Word Power Books) is a really special find, beautifully curated stock with easily the best selection of politics and non-fiction I’ve seen in the U.K.
Had a lovely chat to the owner about our sister cities of literature (she has visited Melbourne and been caught in the Readings trap!) and some of the Australian gems I had noticed on her shelves: Judy Horacek’s Women of Altitude prints on mugs and one of my favourite kids books, Introducing Teddy.
It was a perfect way to end my time in Edinburgh. Off to Glasgow next.