Keeping the printed word alive
In times past, your local bookstore was the go-to place for all your reading needs.
From fiction to recipe books to biographies, the Sofra family from Collins Booksellers in Shepparton has serviced the community for the past 13 years, during a time when the retail and literary industry took a huge blow.
Now the only speciality bookstore in Shepparton, the Sofra family will celebrate Love Your Bookstore Day next month.
‘‘It’s an initiative of the Australian Booksellers Association to give bookshops a date to celebrate and remind people how much were in the community,’’ Collins Booksellers co-owner Helen Sofra said.
A family-run business, daughter Georgia Sofra said she had loved growing up in the store.
‘‘I’ve literally grown up here since I was nine years old,’’ she said.
‘‘I just love how family thing.’’
And Georgia explained it was not just her family that had been touched by the power of books.
‘‘I had a grandmother come in one day and she wanted to buy a series for her granddaughter,’’ she said.
After Georgia selected a series of 15 books, the grandmother promptly purchased one and soon returned to snap up the lot.
‘‘She said she was going to send her granddaughter a book each month and then she will call her and discuss the book with her,’’ Georgia said.
Helen, Joe and Georgia all agreed it was the customers that made the job so fantastic and the opportunities they had had to meet renowned authors from near and far.
But supporting locals is just as important to the family, and they will host the launch of local author Di
its a Walker’s debut novel Unpacking Harper Holt on Love Your Bookstore Day on Saturday, August 11.
The Tatura-based author and school teacher had always been interested in writing and, in late January last year, the character of Harper Holt popped into her head along with the books first sentence.
‘‘I got up and started writing and just kept going,’’ Ms Walker said.
The novel tells how Harper Holt’s close-knit family is always moving. All she wants is to have a normal, quiet life in one place.
But when she experiences a devastating loss, she realises that her future will never be the way she imagined it.
After contacting publishers, Walker Books took an interest in the novel and Ms Walker was guided by editor Nancy Conescu through the process.
‘‘I have just finished my fourth book and now I know I have a process,’’ she said.
‘‘It starts with a character’s name and a situation and then I just write and see where the character takes me.
‘‘Sometimes I am not in control of what happens to the characters or how they deal with things.’’
Ms Walker said she was grateful to Collins Booksellers for offering to launch her book at their store.
‘‘I am probably going to read an extract, answer questions and hopefully sign some copies. I am really looking forward to it,’’ she said.
Passionate about books: Helen Sofra at Collins Booksellers in Shepparton.