Bookseller spotlight: Finn Waite from Dymocks Burwood
What’s the first book you remember having an impact on you?
It might have been Peter Pan (J.M Barrie) or A Little Princess (Frances Hodgson Burnett). I cried knowing that Peter sometimes forgot to come to Wendy’s window, and eventually forgot Wendy altogether, however I read A Little Princess again and again. I admired little Sara Crewe’s courage, imagination and, above all, her kindness.
Who were some of your favourite authors as a child?
Emily Rodda was definitely a favourite, and of course JK Rowling. I don’t have enough fingers or toes to count how many times I reread those books.
How long have you been working at your bookstore?
I’ve been working at Burwood Dymocks for four years now.
What drew you to becoming a bookseller?
I applied for a job in a bookstore as a dewy eyed youth, drawn in by my love of reading, and feeling pretty confident I could sell books with my enthusiasm. I've been working in the same industry for eight years now, and it's the customers that keep me there.
What did an average day look like for you pre-Covid? And post-Covid?
The in-store situation has changed over the course of Covid. People have done a great job at social distancing so at first the store was like a ghost town, and we were taking a lot of phone calls in advance to check stock availability, make phone payments and organise books to be shipped. Rather than people ducking in to browse a lot of people organised to spend as little time in store as possible.
Our education section became really popular as parents prepared to supplement kids’ education at home as well. Kudos to the parents who have endeavoured to keep their kids progressing through the curriculum in such strange and difficult times.
What’s the best part about being a bookseller?
Keeping the love of books alive, finding the right book for that kid who never reads, finding a kindred spirit in a customer who also loves the same books or authors. I get to recommend some favourites and garner sympathy that we're all waiting for the third book in the Kingkiller Chronicles to be released.
Books are great as gifts as well, so I do get to see people putting a lot of thought and effort into finding a book they hope their friend, or partner, or family member will enjoy. It’s always lovely to see that joy being shared.
Any memorable customer interactions?
Yes, I was chatting to a regular customer about sci fi books and they recommended a series by Julian May. I actually had a couple of books from one of that author's series, I had found them in a thrift store, but I didn't have the full series and they'd long been out of print. The following week the customer came in with the full set and gave them to me coz he owned two copies of each.
What advice would you give someone wanting to work in bookselling?
Passion and enthusiasm is great, but being a wide reader really helps because there are truly gems in every genre, and you’ll better be able to match a customer up with the book they’re after.
Who are some of your favourite Australian authors?
Isobelle Carmody and Kate Forsyth are definitely some of my favourites. Also, Jessica Townsend has pretty much won a place in my heart with her new NeverMoor series.
Do you have any favourite UQP titles?
How can we follow you bookstore online?