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21 February 2011 ·

My personal 2c worth on Borders and Angus & Robertson

No matter how much I prefer the independent bookshops, it’s still sad to see the demise of Borders and Angus& Robertson. A friend phoned from Queensland the other day to ask if I could send her Raven’s Mountain directly, as A&R is the only bookshop she can access (she doesn’t have internet) and they didn’t know if their suppliers would deliver the book to them. Sometimes a bad bookshop is better than none. (And yes, the chains are quite likely the reason that there isn’t an independent there!)

We don’t need one more blog on the multi reasons for their failure, or their generally poor service and lack of knowledge about books. (Another friend, searching Melbourne Borders for a biography of Miles Franklin, was asked what ‘he was famous for.’) But I also remember the first buzz of being surrounded by so many books  – and the buzz of seeing the beautiful poster they produced for Nim’s Island.

Very exciting to see your book displayed in the front window of a huge chain store, you’d think! And it would have been – except if you look closely, the posters are all of the  movie. The book doesn’t actually seem to be in sight (the ones in the children’s book department were equally well hidden).  As this was taken a few weeks before the movie came out, the DVD’s would be about six months off, so it seemed a bit early to be advertising them.

Of course from an author’s point of view, promotion of the movie of the book is still a promotion of the book. It’s just a highly inefficient way to do it, and from something that was supposed to be a bookstore, doesn’t make much sense at all.

Writing and publishing books is a business. It shouldn’t be a surprise that selling them is too. I don’t think the end of these stores means that books are dead.


  1. Kirsty Murray Great post, Wendy. I agree absolutely. The demise of the badly run chain store doesn't sound the death knell for books at all.
    February 21, 2011 at 9:07 pm · Reply
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Wendy Orr is a Canadian-born Australian writer. Her books for children and adults have been published in 27 countries and won awards around the world. Nim’s Island and Nim at Sea have also become feature films, starring Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin (Nim’s Island) and Bindi Irwin (Return to Nim’s Island.) Her latest book is Cuckoo’s Flight, a companion to the highly acclaimed Bronze Age novels Dragonfly Song and Swallow’s Dance. Read full bio