Nov 3, 2021 | Community

Bound for Books

Author: Alice Hill

Brunswick Bound - Brunswick Daily

A woman approaches the threshold of Brunswick Bound at 6pm on Friday 29 October, her body language almost spring loaded with excitement. ‘Am I the first customer?’ she asks. The bookstore’s owners, Rob and Susie, confirm that she is indeed the first in-store customer since non-essential retail closed nearly three months ago. ‘Woohoo!’ The woman practically bursts with delight, pausing only to take a quick selfie before setting about the serious business of book shopping. Her name is Rosa and she is one of Brunswick Bound’s die-hard fans. ‘The store’s just great! They’re really lovely people here and I’m always buying books.’ She’s not shopping anywhere else tonight, Melbourne’s first night of retail trading since early August; Rosa has come out solely for the joy of buying books in person. 

Brunswick Bound’s manager, Ellen, has also been eagerly awaiting tonight’s reopening. “We’re looking forward to recommending things, having conversations with people, and all those nice things that are a bookseller’s bread and butter.” 

Drop by at Brunswick Bound and say hi to Ellen!

The shop has an air of festivity as customers greet the booksellers like old friends. First opened in 2006, Brunswick Bound is a small maze of inviting corners and many shoppers soon disappear between shelves stacked high with new releases and classics alike. There’s also a carefully selected range of giftware: candles, jewellery, stationery and homewares for all tastes.

With retail reopening just in time for Christmas shopping, Ellen expects the next couple of months will be very busy for the bookstore team. For now, the focus will be on the shopping, but Ellen looks forward to the return of Brunswick Bound’s events program early in 2022. Along with some other events that had to be rescheduled, the store will be hosting their popular ‘Catastrophes’ poetry-reading series featuring local writers. 

In the meantime, the shop will trade as normal while also continuing to offer curbside pickup. Ellen, Rob and Susie have spent a lot of time together in the shop over lockdown, preparing online orders for delivery and pickup, but they all agree it’s wonderful to have customers back in the store. ‘We just want people to be able to come back and finally be able to actually see the books, not just through the window,’ says Ellen. Rob agrees. ‘Yeehaw, really! At last. Now we can just concentrate on doing what we do. We just want to open again, anything else we can deal with.’

It’s the return of small pleasures like breathing in the smell of books!

Tonight’s in-store customers are rapidly filling their arms with their purchases, perhaps making up for lost time. Rosa finishes her shopping and approaches the counter built from old books. She’s chosen April in Spain, the latest by John Banville, along with Shelter by Catherine Jinks and Bodies of Light by Jennifer Down. Susie particularly commends the choice of April in Spain, having enjoyed escaping with the characters during lockdown. ‘[They go] travelling, drinking cocktails, all the things we couldn’t do but look forward to!’ 

Travel and cocktails are back on the itinerary for many, but nothing will replace the thrill of a great book. It’s the return of small pleasures like breathing in the smell of books in a favourite store that makes Brunswick’s reawakening all the sweeter.

Brunswick Bound is located at 361 Sydney Road, Brunswick. Open 7 days. Check out their website here.

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