The Mirror News

FAREWELL TO FOSTER’S LITTLE BOOKSHOP

By Jo MacKenzie

THE closed doors of the shop in the centre of town signal the end of a highly successful venture by Jan Bull and Bob Morris into the world of bookselling.

Booklovers and readers are invited to gather on Friday, July 8th from 5pm to 8pm at the Manna Gum community house to say thank you for ten years of wonderful service and promotion of the world of books and reading. Organisers Alison Shields, Fleur Wheeler and I invite everyone to come to this event, if possible bringing nibbles and something to drink to share.

The Little Book shop has conducted a master class in marketing and promotion of books and authors over the past ten years which has ensured the arrival of e-books and overseas internet book selling offered no threat.

There have been 30 Twilight Talks with authors and their books at various venues, over 20 book signings at the shop, and book busking sessions-two of which raised funds for the primary school library. There have also been the weekly columns in the Mirror, and in 2l issues of Gippsland; the Lifestyle magazine, covering another 500 books and authors. There have been talks on the 3MFM radio station every Sunday morning for eight years in which Jan discussed about l700 books and authors.

There have been children’s craft days at least three times a year, involvement in the Sea Change Festival (who can forget Jan appearing as the Cat in the Hat?) and two Living Books events, which Jan planned and hosted, giving local people a chance to be authors for a day and tell their own stories. The latter Jan described as her proudest moments of all the promotion events

For her the best aspects of bookselling have been two fold; the involvement with both the authors and the customers, the readers who came through the door not only from Foster and Corner Inlet, but even further afield. She enjoyed the conversations with them about the books they wrote and the books they bought. Also she was very interested in the publishing and book selling industry which was new to both her and Bob, and found it fascinating.

Jan had forty years of experience in Human Resource Management, Marketing and Research which equipped her to set up her own consultancy business and also to lecture at Tertiary level. Bob’s work experience was in the State Public Service and other administrative positions, so he took on the book keeping and the other necessities to run a business successfully. He says his work at the bookshop has been the most rewarding of all; has enjoyed meeting new friends and being part of the local community.

The latter is worth celebrating also. Jan has lent her time and skills in so many ways, from Sea Change festivals to mentoring new business owners in town and serving on the South Gippsland hospital board to name a few.

It is very much our hope that book lovers of all ages will come to thank the Little Book shop for ten great years of books, ideas, encouragement and wonderful service. Whether the problem was finding obscure books long out of print, or making suggestions about book gifts the solutions have always been there..with a smile.

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