It’s as vital as ever that we support Australian booksellers during the coronavirus shutdown. In spotlight this month are Henk and Roxanne Kelly-Kobes, owners of Dymocks Camberwell and Dymocks Tooronga.

What do you love most about being a bookseller?

The books! And helping customers find the perfect thing.

Has bookselling changed in recent years, and during the coronavirus shutdown?

Yes, it has become more challenging. We’re thankful that a majority of our customers are obeying the new rules, meaning we feel safe enough to continue trading through this difficult time. Lots of home deliveries and couriers to organise!

What can publishers do better?

Faster delivery times with the distributors are very helpful. However, the major issue physical booksellers like us have is competing with DDS and online. Anything publishers can do to encourage customers into physical, locally owned bookstores will really help the Australian book industry! Otherwise we’ll all be stuck with Amazon, like in the recent book, The Warehouse by Rob Hart – a dystopian vision that will be prescient if we allow everything to be online only.

What was the last interaction with a customer that made you laugh?

We are often laughing either with customers or between ourselves over various incidents. Being asked if we sell things like bath mats is always entertaining, especially as this occurred before the non-book boom in bookstores.

What is a recent Australian title you loved?

Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton.