Monday, May 25, 2009

A sad farewell to Dymocks

If I hadn't found the career of my dreams as a web designer/developer, I'd be the owner of a bookshop. I love bookshops. I love books, so that's not really a surprise I suppose, and some bookshops are definitely better than others.

Wellington has a wonderful selection of second-hand bookshops - my favourites being the two Arty Bees at the far end of Courtenay Place and in the Oaks Complex near Manners Mall - and I have to say I frequent them probably more than any other bookshops in town.

But when I want a new book - for book club, say, or as a present, or a gardening book as a treat for myself - I go to Dymocks. Or at least, I used to go to Dymocks.

I couldn't believe it when I read that they had gone into receivership and were closing down. Nooooooo! Not my favourite new bookshop! What will I do now?

Every single new gardening book on my shelves came from Dymocks. I've bought a lot of new kids books there over the years - and new books for myself - and cards, and wrapping paper - and all sorts of stuff. How can the bookshop with the ultimate best window displays of any shop in Wellington go into receivership?

Where will the lovely man with the ponytail go? Where will his world's best collection of Tolkein and other fantasy books live from now on? Where will Weta get to display their fabulous LOTR models? Who's going to light up that corner of the street?

The warm and welcoming red and gold that I always associate with Dymocks is darkened now. The shop is closed. The books are gone. I felt so sad when I went past on the bus today and the lights were out, no-one home.

I should have bought more books at Dymocks, and done more to help them stay afloat. We all should have. I knew when Borders opened up down the street that it spelled danger for Dymocks, but I hoped fervently that the competition wouldn't be too great.

Sadly it was, and the result is that a bookshop owned and run by lovely people who adore books and who are passionate about literature gets eaten up by a great big soulless multinational chain. It's like "You've Got Mail" - without the emails, romance, Tom&Meg or the happy ending :(

There's one thing for sure. I will never ever shop at Borders. You can trust me on that. I'll be at Unity Books if anyone wants me.

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Anonymous said...

"eaten up by a great big soulless multinational chain"?

And Dymocks isn't? I see that store was a franchise store but I would've thought that made them on a par with Whitcoulls rather than a true independent.

(Your comment mainly surprised because many years ago the father of an ex-girlfriend of mine was involved with the setting up of the brand in NZ after working for them in Oz IIRC.)

Which is neither here nor there if it's a bookshop you've enjoyed visiting and can no longer. I'm sorry for your loss, I've been known to browse the shelves there when I've been in Wellington. :)


webweaver said...

Phil - strictly speaking, you're right of course. Dymocks is part of a franchise. I guess it's as much a question of scale as anything - Borders has hundreds of stores, the Dymocks franchise has only a handful - and now one less. *sob*

In the end, to me, it comes down to the "soul" of a place. I've been into Borders once to check it out, and it has no soul that I can discern.

No helpful staff, no feeling that this is a place where they love books and literature, just a sense that this is a place where they sell books and make money from books - a very different thing. Same as Whitcoulls in that regard really.

Whereas Dymocks and Unity Books - are places where the staff obviously have a love for what they're doing, and a love of the product they're selling. These shops are/were staffed with people who want to work in a BOOK shop, not just people who work in retail.

That's the difference, and that's why I'm so sad that Dymocks is no more.