Last Sunday, one of the icons on Brisbane's south side closed its doors for the last time. The Annerley Community Bookshop on Ipswich Road has sold its last book. I'm proud but sad to say that I was one of its last customers, picking up a few hardback treasures for my youngest son. With its creaking polished wooden floors and comfy crimson couches, this not-for-profit store sold well-priced, quality second-hand books to people across the south side of Brisbane for nearly 20 years. The bookstore has been a warm and welcoming place for many a book lover to spend hours browsing through the many books it had on offer, and it also provided a meeting place for many local groups.
The bookstore was opened in 2000 by Anglicare Refugee and Migrant Services. At the time, it was a combined bookshop and literacy centre. It provided cheap books and language and literacy services for refugees and migrants. The shops and classes were run by community workers and volunteers. Over the years, the focus changed and the bookstore has run as a not-for-profit, channelling its funds into local community projects.
But times change. People are buying more books online and, with the rise of ebooks, the sales in places like Annerley Community Bookshop have been in decline. With the decline in sales coupled with the cost of rent, times started to look pretty tough for the bookstore a few years ago, but it didn't go down with a fight. The management committee and the 50 or so volunteers tried hard to save the bookstore from going under. The local councillor, Nicole Johnston, also did a lot of work to help it out. Sadly, our community bookstore had nowhere else to go. I want to thank: Naomi Frampton, president of the management committee; Paul Hodges, the bookstore manager; and the many volunteers.