Bookseller spotlight: Ella from The Younger Sun
What’s the first book that you remember having an impact on you?
Probably Hop on Pop by Dr Seuss. I was enchanted by the nonsense and funny rhymes. I also learnt to read with this book – although the ending has always miffed me because it’s never tomorrow, it’s always today!
Who were some of your favourite authors as a child?
Dr Seuss, Ann M Martin, Melina Marchetta, Jackie French, Gail Carson Levine, Lynley Dodd. I could go on.
How long have you been working at your bookstore? Can you tell us about the store and the community it serves?
I have worked at the Younger Sun for five and half years now and have been managing the store for two and a half years. Yarraville has changed a lot even in just the seven and a half years that I’ve been living in the Western suburbs. There are so many cute babies, cute dogs and cute cats – it’s a cute-lovers dream! The store itself is a booklovers sanctuary, full of colour and light and of course – SO MANY BOOKS (how do we fit them all in?)! And I shouldn’t forget to mention the beautiful Sun Theatre and all of the wonderful cafes and stores we have here. The community is very inclusive and supportive and I love living and working here – it has everything I need so I never need to leave!
What drew you to becoming a bookseller?
I’ve always loved reading and when I was looking for my first job at age 15, I handed my resume into the local bookstore (The Book Warehouse, Lismore, NSW). It was perfect timing because one of their junior staff members was moving away for uni and I’ve never looked back!
What did an average day look like for you pre-COVID? And post-COVID?
Pre-Covid it was opening up the store, counting money in (I haven’t seen real money for so long now!), opening up the doors and letting customers in! There would be unpacking stock, shelving stock, chats with customers about books, chats with coworkers about what we’re reading. We had storytime on Mondays and Saturdays (one of my favourite parts of the week!), book club for three different ages once a month and at least one author event per month.
Post-Covid, there is a LOT of emailing, talking on the phone (it’s so much harder to recommend books over the phone than in person). We’re constantly processing web orders and we deliver books to the local area once a day in our little book mobile. There’s still chats with coworkers, but now it’s about what TV show we’re watching (we’re finding it a bit difficult to read).
What’s the best part about being a bookseller?
Getting to be surrounded by books all day! Also the people you work with will always be amazing and getting to know your customers means you’ll have lifelong friends.
Any memorable customer interactions?
Some of my most memorable customer actions are probably not appropriate to talk about here so I will just say this: one of the best parts of working in a children’s speciality bookstore is watching the children grow up and seeing their reading abilities grow and change. There are some children who are taller than me now!
What advice would you give someone wanting to work in bookselling?
Getting a job in bookselling is a lot about timing. I’d suggest handing your CV in at least every six months because you never know when an opening might appear and they’ll be snatched up in an instant! If bookstores advertise job openings on their website be sure to keep your finger on the pulse. Also, booksellers never get to spend their days reading, you will be constantly unpacking, shelving and talking to customers!
Who are some of your favourite Australian authors?
Melina Marchetta, Kate O’Donnell, Andy Griffiths, Sally Rippin, Alison Lester, Claire Saxby, Allison Croggon, Cath Crowley, Davina Bell Markus Zusak… there’s too many to choose from!
Do you have any favourite UQP titles?
How can we follow your bookstore online?