The only good tale about Covid

COVID was generally pretty miserable for all, but there was a silver lining for independent bookshops. 

New Editions owner Alan Sheardown says people got the reading bug during the pandemic, and even though lockdowns are a thing of the past, they’ve not slowed down.

Mr Sheardown says customers enjoy being in a bookshop and physically browsing the books, rather than just searching online.

They even get to discover other books and topics they’d normally not be interested in.

And while Amazon’s popularity caused a few mainstream bookshops to close, especially with the rise of eBooks, it had the side effect of giving independent bookshop a little extra room to breathe. 

Four independent bookshops have popped up in Perth in the last couple of years thanks to the reduced competition from larger retailers.

Mr Sheardown says while rents remain an issue, the higher sales have mean they can keep the doors open. 


Independent bookshops are particularly great for promoting local authors and publishers. 

This could be through events, launches, displays and newsletters. 

Bookshops are still very much relevant to people, especially in Fremantle, which has New Edition, Paper Bird and Elizabeth’s Second-hand Books. 

Mr Sheardown, who also own Crow Books in East Vic Park, bought the shop back in 2014 after it was forced to move from its original location and Fremantle council stepped in to offer a good deal on one of its properties.

• There’s a welcome for everyone looking for a tale.

True to its origins back on the Cappuccino Strip when it was the go-to hangout for every budding Hemingway who lobbed into town, New Edition is open until late so people can come in after work and have a look around. It’s also open seven days a week.

New Edition supports local authors and local publishers, with upcoming launches including Fremantle Press authors Molly Schmitt (Salt River Road) and Emma Young (The Disorganisation of Celia 

There’s something wonderful about browsing for books in a bookshop and discovering something new and unexpected.

by Ariana Rosenberg

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