Brisbane’s bookshops: navigating challenges with community and innovation

Sales are down nationally, but book shops in Brisbane are moving with the times and seeing rewards.
Image is a bookshop with floor to ceiling shelves and a ladder to reach to the top. Bookshops.

Talking with a diverse group of Brisbane booksellers, there is a unified tone of realistic optimism. Although sales have slightly declined due to the cost of living crisis, the dream of owning and running a bookshop is more alive than ever. The city hosts several new small stores in its suburbs, while long-term specialist stores and mainstays like Avid Reader are doing well. 

‘In the media, there’s a common misperception that book sales are either exploding or crashing,’ Robbie Egan, CEO of BookPeople (formerly the Australian Booksellers Association), tells ArtsHub. ‘In reality, it’s a much more nuanced story. There’s a small decline in sales right now, but the number of our members has grown over the last five years. We’ve also seen our individual memberships go up, typically held by people interested in selling books, or the industry, but aren’t ready to open yet.’

Unlock Padlock Icon

Unlock this content?

Access this content and more

David Burton is a writer from Meanjin, Brisbane. David also works as a playwright, director and author. He is the playwright of over 30 professionally produced plays. He holds a Doctorate in the Creative Industries.