You just can’t beat a good book — or great bookshop

By Riverine Herald

YOU can book yourself a table at one of Echuca-Moama’s many restaurants. Or book some theatre tickets – or even book a holiday.

On the flipside, other people can book you. Such as the police.

But all those books are peripheral.

The real power of the book is words. Words and their ability to help your mind paint amazing pictures of drama, humour, thrillers, biographies, history, fact and fiction and everything in between.

Few things light up a child’s face when they open a large format storybook, oohing and aahing at the colourful drawings helping tell them the story (and often encouraging them to add their own artistic efforts to the same pages).

You can access books in so many ways in the 21st century – you can pull them out of the clouds, literally – but nothing can ever match the magical, tactile sensation, the anticipation, of opening that new book in your own hands.

Which means you need a genuine book shop, not some anonymous entity floating around in cyberspace.

Collins Booksellers and ABC Centre at 170 Hare St is exactly that.

It sells books, lots of books. Covering lots of subjects. And guaranteed to have not just one book, but many, that will appeal to you.

With their eye-catching cover art and little synoptic teasers on the back covers, books are irresistible.

If they weren’t then there would not be so many writers around the world.

It also explains why Collins Booksellers owners Kristine Parkinson and husband Darryl Ronchi, who got into the business about 15 years ago, struggle to find the time to read themselves.

“Friends at the time thought we were getting the perfect job,” Kristine laughed.

“They assumed we would go to work in the morning, pick up a book and read the day away,” she said.

“Nothing, I can assure you, could be further from the truth.”

For a start Collins Booksellers receives new books, by the box load, every day.

Books which have to be sorted; priced and moved onto shelves, with others shuffled around to make room for them.

When the hot titles turn up it demands a major, and immediate, reshuffle on those shelves so customers can spot them the moment they walk into the store.

Darryl said even without the changes those daily deliveries impose, he and staff members Kim, Chloe and Amy have set themselves the job of making changes in store and in the window – every week.

Once a month they also run a major book feature of latest releases in the Riverine Herald, letting people know what’s new in the store.

“The thing about books is they are changing all year. It’s not like clothing, for example, where you have seasons.

“Here we have a new season every day as more new titles roll in – with October/November our peak period as the major publishers flood the market with new releases in time for Christmas.”

A big market at Collins Booksellers is the children’s and teen sector and Darryl said the shop supplied the local schools.

A business he said proved a lesson for them and the staff at the schools.

“I think I read more children’s books because I need to know what to advise the schools and at the same time I get feedback from them about the books they know the children are reading.”

He said running a bookstore was a challenge; just to be across all the titles, but one of the things they loved most about it was everyone who came through their front door was there because they wanted to be.

■Collins Booksellers and ABC Centre at 170 Hare St.

Phone 5482 2902.

Open from 9am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 2pm Saturdays.