Good Reading : December January 2008
18 goodreading ı DECEMBER 2007/JANUARY 2008 fully booked On a warm spring morning in the mountain-view town of Myrtleford, Margery Wiltshire decided to close Bibliomania bookshop early and set off to catch up with fellow proprietors on Victoria’s Alpine Book Trail. I went along for the ride to see what binds some of the 10 bookshops involved together. Our first stop was the bustling tourist hot spot, Bright. A holiday favourite for families and retirees, Bright offers a sophisticated array of gourmet food stores and award-winning cafes. But in a quieter, calmer part of town, just around the corner from the Italian home-made ice-cream shop, is Carol Forrest’s Books at Bright. Carol’s shop fits a lot of books into a small space, and prioritises quality. It stocks a range of ‘high turnover’ titles for holiday reading, as well as new and second- hand literature.With a bright idea and a keen sense of organi- sation, Carol rallied together six bookshops within the Alpine region to come together as a collective. After an initial brochure was produced, four more shops came on board to create a more comprehensive group. Each bookshop owner has been respon- sible for the distribution of brochures to the tourist information booths and coffee shops of their choice. Margery, Carol and I sat in the morning sun overlooking the shop and discussed how the idea for the book trail came about. ‘I was inspired by the book town in England, and then I discovered there was a similar idea happening in New South Wales that comprised several towns,’ said Carol. ‘And a lot of my customers asked me where the next secondhand bookshop in the area was.’ The trail doesn’t stick strictly to the Great Alpine Road but stretches a little off the path from as far south as Goulburn River Books in Seymour on the Hume Highway, up to Books on Dean in Albury, then all the way over Mount Hotham. Some bookshops in the more remote areas were happy for the extra exposure when Carol approached them with the idea. ‘I went back over the mountain to Omeo and down to Swifts Creek and Bairnsdale, and they were very open to it. They had recently suffered from bushfires – people weren’t driving through there as much, and they saw [the trail] as an opportunity for promotion.’ CLAIRE WILTSHIRE and her mother Margery Wiltshire set out along Victoria’s Alpine Book Trail on a recent weekend to meet and chat with bookshop owners. What they found is an eclectic mix of shops, each catering for a different market. Book-loving visitors to Victoria’s beautiful alpine region are sure to find something to suit them. along the alpine book trail An enticing display at Myrtleford’s Bibliomania bookshop.