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Love Your Bookshop Day: Bouquiniste

In honour of Love Your Bookshop Day, which is taking place this Saturday, October 9th, we wanted to shine a spotlight on some of our very favourite bookshops. Today, we're featuring one of our favourite bookshops in Australia, Kiama's beautiful Bouquiniste.

Can you tell us a bit about your bookshop?

Bouquiniste is a small, independent and highly curated bookstore café and winebar on the South Coast. Bouquiniste prides itself on specialised recommendations. We host monthly bookclub, author events, live music and workshops. We also have a mobile version of our shop “Buddy the Book Truck” a mint green 1961 Holden FB with a coffee machine and bookshelves in the back.

What's the best thing about working in a bookshop?

There is something so special about recommending a book you’ve loved and sharing the magic of that book with someone, especially at the moment when we all need a little extra sparkle.

We feel very spoilt that our job entails endless amounts of books and coffee, and at a reasonable hour, wine. We get to spend our days drinking coffee, chatting to customers about reading, recommending books and being given advanced copies of books by publishers. And of course, interacting with other book lovers: bloggers, booksellers, publishers, authors and readers!

Apart from your own, which is one of your favourite bookshops?

One of our favourite bookstores is Shakespeare and Co on The River Seine in Paris, right next to the Bouquinistes that we named our bookstore after. The Left Bank in Paris is known for its history of writers, poets, musicians, philosophers and historic creatives. This sense of creativity is epitomised in Shakespeare and Co., you can feel the history and knowledge on the shelves and throughout the bookstore. And of course, Gertrude and Alice in Bondi is another favourite of ours, for its history, culture and the beautiful G&A team.

What does an average day look like for you?

Our day starts with coffee and some rock ‘n’ roll or Fleetwood Mac to kick off the good vibes. We have a morning rush of coffee and then our book deliveries arrive like boxes of gold. We unpack books and generally have customers straight away intrigued by what we’re unpacking. After the lunch rush we get to play with visual merchandising and taking photos for social media. And then, on a Friday afternoon at around 4pm we turn the lights down, the music up, light some candles and start pouring wines for Friday Wine Down.

Is there a book you recommend to almost any customer?

It’s a little biased but we confidently recommend Clay’s book, 100 Remarkable Feats of Xander Maze to pretty much every customer. A book about a socially awkward boy and his unfaltering love for his dying grandmother filled with lists and a whole heap of heart, is generally a pretty easy sell. Especially when you can get a personalised signature from the author.

Do you have a favourite book of all time?

The Book Thief, every single time.

What do you love most about reading?

There are so many wonderful things about reading; reading comforts us, transports us, inspires us and most importantly right now, distracts us. I don’t think I can pick one.

Any memorable customers that have stayed with you?

We have a family from Canberra who holiday in Kiama a couple of times a year, who come in a buy a big stack of books every time for themselves and their four extremely polite and well-behaved sons. We have since become good friends and they now come to our house for dinner each time they visit.

What advice do you have for anyone who wants to work in a bookshop?

We highly recommend it! Be friendly and read lots.

What would you be doing if you didn't run a bookshop?

Something else to do with books. Clay would be still writing but probably from home rather than in store. Hannah would probably find herself on the other end of the book production, hopefully working in publishing.