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 March 26th 2017
Little Bookshop With Big Heart
What sets a good bookshop apart from the rest? These days it's the big bookstore chains that are feeling the pinch while small independent bookshops are thriving and it has a lot to do with atmosphere, personalised service and a sense of community. And in more and more cases, good coffee.
Every book lover's dream is to browse shelves full of fresh books, discover a new gem and chat with like-minded people in a cosy environment. If the idea of this sounds appealing, I'd recommend a visit to Little Gnome Bookshop in Brisbane's coastal suburb of Wynnum.
But first, is Little Gnome a coffee shop or a bookshop? The answer is, it's a perfect amalgamation of both. From the footpath, Little Gnome looks mostly like a café with barista counter and al fresco seating but look a little closer and every nook and cranny of this relatively small space is utilised for book displays and gifts for book lovers.
Experience a warm and friendly welcome and great service at Little Gnome
Since May 2015, mother and son duo Bel and Jack have run this charming business on the strength of word of mouth, fostered by local community, Facebook, Instagram and of course, the writers' circle, often consisting of authors who meet regularly at Little Gnome's 'Meet and Mingle Nights' for writers and readers.
Along with stocking all your favourite bestsellers, Little Gnome is the largest stockist of self-published Australian titles, a testament to Bel and Jack's passion for books and supporting the work of local creatives. This spirit of community is also fostered by the large communal table, the café and bookshop's centrepiece, which brings people together over coffee and a mutual appreciation of books.
Look for the stickers denoting books by Aussie 'indie' authors
Bel's dearest wish for the shop is to create a 'destination' experience for locals and visitors, and with her smart and fun approach to marketing in-store and on social media, the fame of Little Gnome and #Gnomeaddict, is increasing day by day.
Little Gnome's communal table is a great place to share coffee and book chat
And who exactly is Little Gnome? He's an actual garden gnome who has travelled the world with 'Human Bel' and had photos taken with Hollywood stars and Aussie authors whose books are part of the shop's collection. Just recently, it was my pleasure to visit and meet Little Gnome on a whirlwind trip to Brisbane. I enjoyed chatting to Bel, browsing the shelves and drinking coffee, not to mention proudly adding my picture book to the store's 'indie' book collection.
Little Gnome loves a good photo opportunity (me too!)
So, while online book shopping and e-readers are trends that are not going anywhere, I would urge you to support your local bookstore and have a chat to its staff about favourite picks from their carefully curated collections. After all, while reading books is a solitary activity, it is best done as part of a community and indie bookstores are providing ever more innovative and immersive experiences for readers, authors... and coffee lovers.