I'm a children's book author, radio presenter of 'By the Book' for Radio Northern Beaches, and freelance writer. Check out www.brydiewright.com for more about
Published December 11th 2016
Bookshop with beachside appeal
One of the great things about being part of your local community is finding excellent small businesses and the people with passion who run them. If you take a left off Barrenjoey Road, northbound, toward the shopping village at Avalon, you will be delighted to find Beachside Bookshop, which is just such a local enterprise. Opened since January 2016, it is quickly growing a loyal following and attracting interest from overseas visitors to the Northern Beaches, with a 5-star listing on TripAdvisor.
Owned and managed by Libby Armstrong, this is an independent bookstore with heart, providing excellent support for local Australian authors and the type of personalised service you don't find much anymore. On entry to Libby's shop, I was already impressed by the ease of visitor parking access, and was soon drawn into the light and airy beachside atmosphere, and the very 'homey' feel to this maximumly utilised small space. I must admit I sometimes feel intimidated going into independent bookstores, not knowing where to start, and not always feeling comfortable enough to ask for help. Not the case here though with Libby's warm welcome and genuine interest in whether she can be of assistance in finding the right book for you.
For booklovers, it is well worth taking the drive almost all the way to the tip of the beaches, to explore this carefully curated collection, specialising in young adult and children's fiction. Libby prides herself on having read as many of the books she sells as possible and knowing her stock so that she can provide valuable recommendations that will keep her customers coming back for more. I loved the feeling of being immersed from floor to ceiling in books, with neatly presented collections for YA, middle and junior readers, alongside crime and thriller novels, and other inspiring reads for adults. In addition, the shelves are dotted throughout with signed copies from Australian authors who have travelled from far and wide to take part in lively Author events at the store.
The child at heart in me also revelled in the book and merchandise displays for popular children's classics, and the personalised hand-written recommendations and signs throughout the store, had me wishing I could take home a copy of everything. You can tell that the collection is lovingly chosen; it conveys quality, rather than mass production.
With bags of books in hand as my very pleasant visit drew to a close, and eagerly signed up for Libby's bookshop newsletter of events and new releases, I felt like this was just the first visit of many. Avalon may be known for its glorious beach but it is also a close-knit community and Beachside Bookshop is a great ambassador for this local spirit. And it's open seven days, so make sure you pop in for a visit the next time you are up this way.