There are lots of reasons to love the place, but today I’d like to share my top four:
1. It smells like new books.
The big book stores in busy shopping centres can’t achieve this, and the online stores don’t stand a chance. If you’re in need of an olfactory fix, step inside Black Cat and sniff away. Not only does it smell like new books, it has that soothing, old-world bookshop charm. Branches tick against the tin roof, wooden floors creak, pages sigh. I think there’s even a tinkling bell on the door.
The bookish vibe matches that of City Lights Book Store in San Francisco without the elitism. Black Cat Books have built a welcoming literary culture in Paddington with the regular hosting of book launches, book clubs, and kids’ writing workshops.
2. The staff know their stuff.
Stephanie, one of the owners, gave a fascinating talk to my writing group about the book trade. We writers so absorb ourselves in the creative task that it’s easy to neglect the business considerations of writing. Stephanie’s talk, replete with tips and ah-has, gave us fantastic insight into a rapidly changing industry.
The staff are enthusiastic readers, and they hand-sell their favourites. In my experience, they are totally trustworthy in the recommendation department.
3. Black Cat supports local writers.
Big chain book stores will set up a table for writers, but Black Cat’s author support goes way beyond this. They go all out! I attended a children’s book launch earlier this year where staff member Hadley took a part in a skit–costume and all–for the kiddies. Now that’s heart and soul dedication to local writers!
4. Their kids’ section is hard to beat.
It’s well-stocked and family friendly. Grandparents, teachers, parents and kids need to make this place a regular stop.
So, on this National Bookshop Day 2014, I want to put it out there that I am grateful for people like the Hogans and their employees, who do what they do so well, and for magical places like Black Cat Books.
CC Image by Brenda Clarke
Don’t forget about the chance to win a handmade SmashBook! Click the link to see how.