I mentioned yesterday that the weekend's city outing involved buying books. Oh, yes-indeedy it did! One of the rituals of our little Degraves catch-ups was always to wander down Swanston Street after lunch toward Reader's Feast where we would spend a most satisfactory hour or so browsing, chatting between the bookshelves, then eventually buying our hoard.
And so it was nothing short of devastating to me to hear last year that Reader's Feast was closing. I went to say goodbye. I went several times (I did pick up some closing-down-sale bargains, yes, that was part of it). But I could hardly believe I would never see it again. I'd been going to the store for more years than I could count and it always had a very central place in my city experience.
But then something amazing happened. Mary Dalmau, director and general manager, announced it would be re-opening. Could this be true? It was! Hooray.
And in the most amazing location. Reader's Feast is now in the famous Georges building, complete with red-carpet entry and chandeliers.
Could this be the classiest bookshop in Melbourne, nay, the world?
It still has a wonderful range of books and the old building lends it a certain charm.
I do buy lots of books online, but nothing compares to the tactile experience of real books in a real bookshop. Being able to pick them up, touch the covers and flick through the pages is an experience that can't be replaced by the click of a mouse on 'Add to Cart'. In fact, the purchase I made yesterday was due to the fact I could touch and feel the book (more on that tomorrow - this book deserves its very own post!).
Yesterday I received in the mail my 'Privileged Reader Voucher' (if only I'd had it on Sunday!). The program gives you a voucher to the value of 10% of your purchases in the last six months. I love those vouchers and so I was suprised to get one considering the bookshop closed around mid-year. But the letter explained: 'In our new business, we have decided to calculate the value of the voucher you would have received in July had the old Reader's Feast store not closed.' I mean, who does that? No wonder this bookshop inspires fierce loyalty in the customers who love it. So now I have my voucher...it's a pretty good excuse to pay another visit soon ;)