Good Reading : February 2004
Daylesford inVictoria is famous for its relaxing spas and health-giving mineral water.To be able to enjoy all this area has to offer and browse at leisure in a good bookshop is a great way for any keen reader to unwind from everyday living.The Avant Garden provides just such a bookshop. On the ground floor you will find a number of well-lit rooms crammed with books, both new and second-hand, rang- ing from new age to children’s and other popular fiction. Climbing the narrow stairway to the second level you will find several rooms lined with comics, while others house old-fashioned trinkets or old editions of magazines such as the Australian Women’s Weekly. Co-owner Trefor John has been a bookseller for two decades, having moved from Fitzroy in 1992 to open this shop.Trefor has supported selling second-hand books since his involve- ment with the Council of Adult Education and being amazed at the cost of textbooks. Trefor can easily relate to people wanting to escape to Daylesford for a short time, hav- ing discovered the township many years ago and always feeling as if he had come home when visiting. Customers at the shop vary from loyal locals to tourists, to the people he regards as more like regular visitors who come back again and again. Some people have even said toTrefor that they come to the bookshop and have a side trip to Daylesford. The bookshop sells more second-hand as opposed to new books, around 80 per cent, but in terms of sales value it is roughly 50 per cent.While sales over the internet are small, it is a good venue for selling the more obscure books. When deciding what second-hand stock the shop should buy,Trefor says it depends very much on what is brought in. The business advertises widely and buys books as a result of feedback from custom- ers, as well as personal interest. Books that always sell well include anything by Enid Blyton, or Elizabeth David, a post war cook- ery writer who introduced Mediterranean cuisine to the English public. And if Trefor saw a box of 1000 books covering specialised areas such as black- smithing or mountaineering he’d be happy. The job of buying and selling the comics is left to co-owner Grant Barlow, who has been a partner of the bookshop for about six years. Grant is himself a keen collector, especially of Disney and Scrooge. The store sells back-issues of comics such as Disney, Phantom, Marvel and D.C. super heroes, as well as old Australian comics. For people who love to collect books, Trefor advises that when thinking of add- ing to a collection the condition of the book should be paramount. ‘The early works [of a famous author] are more desir- able generally speaking… although really you should follow your heart,’ he adds. Trefor also offers some tips on how to care for your prized possessions. Books should not be on a wall facing west, or in a hot or damp environment. Books should be allowed to breathe, so don’t store them behind glass. ‘So if you love your books then you need to be freezing and in a dry environment!’ (fullybooked) 54 (GoodReading) relief comic Avant Garden Bookshop 46 Vincent Street Daylesford Vic 3460 Ph: 03 5348 1288 www.avantgarden.com.au Open: Monday to Friday 10.30am – 6.00pm From left: co-owner Trefor John, the comic section in Avant Garden Spa or bookshop? If you have to choose between these two attractions in Daylesford, SHARON GREENAWAY may have found the ideal compromise.