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Wine and Books at Smiths.

By 28 October 2011 18

smiths

Smith’s Alternative Bookshop have cottoned on to the fact that books are made of paper and are fragile and flimsy and cannot win a fight against a Kindle which is made of plastic and less flammable.  I think that’s the reason they’ve now become a wine bar.

Yes, there is a new place to get a bit boozy!  And it’s a well known fact; drinking alcohol surrounded by books makes you smart!  …or at least makes you look cultured.

The doors are open for events to happen.

Smith’s posted this on their Facebook Earlier this week:

I am ready for any event you can possibly think of (except book burning – that is OUT) so contact me with any ideas – poetry, comedy, tragic plays, happy plays, singing, playing musical instruments, talking out loud about things of importance, book critiques, homages to cheese or wine, birthday parties, parties for no real reason, zine making, constructive arguing, political discourses and undiscourses, stuff – waiting to hear from you


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18 Responses to Wine and Books at Smiths.
#1
creative_canberran6:50 pm, 28 Oct 11

Small or large, bookshops are backward places not long for this world. The sooner bookshops (and newsagents) disappear, the better.

Books and Magazines are about 70% cheaper online and you get them instantly. So sick of going into a bookshop and seeing crazy markups, or a newsagent and finding an overseas magazine two months old yet only just arrived is $20 (online $9).

#2
sblake7:34 pm, 28 Oct 11

Sorry, the only reason it wont work is that a bookshop is a bookshop.I was in Smith’s the other day and their stock was about 1/2 the size it was months ago.It looks like an abandoned bookshop and it will not succeed if there is only a limited range of books available

#3
thatsnotme8:01 pm, 28 Oct 11

creative_canberran said :

Small or large, bookshops are backward places not long for this world. The sooner bookshops (and newsagents) disappear, the better.

Books and Magazines are about 70% cheaper online and you get them instantly. So sick of going into a bookshop and seeing crazy markups, or a newsagent and finding an overseas magazine two months old yet only just arrived is $20 (online $9).

Thanks for bringing us all up to date, I’m sure nobody here had any idea that books are far better value online than in a bricks and mortar retailer…

I think Smiths should be given a big pat on the back for attempting to keep their business relevant in a changing environment, and not just complaining that things were so much better back in the day. With this move, they’re one of the few bookshops in Canberra that are progressive in their thinking, and willing to adapt – something the large chains seem unable to do. I hope that they’re successful.

#4
mareva8:25 pm, 28 Oct 11

Not to mention a waste of paper.

And sorry but Smiths always looks untidy and unkempt to me. I get that’s probably all part of the charm, but totally not my cup of tea (or wine for that matter).

#5
Minz10:59 pm, 28 Oct 11

Meh, just as online news isn’t the same as a newspaper (as in, not as good an experience), online bookstores are nowhere near as good as the real thing… and Smiths is the real thing. See also: Q books.

#6
creative_canberran12:30 am, 29 Oct 11

Minz said :

online news isn’t the same as a newspaper (as in, not as good an experience).

Yes, because the world was so much better when you had to wait until the next day to read about events and manhandle a broadsheet in public.

I’ll take the websites of NPR, NY Times and BBC any day over the junk that is and has for a long time been Australian newspapers.

#7
poetix9:51 am, 29 Oct 11

creative_canberran said :

Minz said :

online news isn’t the same as a newspaper (as in, not as good an experience).

Yes, because the world was so much better when you had to wait until the next day to read about events and manhandle a broadsheet in public.

I’ll take the websites of NPR, NY Times and BBC any day over the junk that is and has for a long time been Australian newspapers.

For me, there’s a difference between getting news online and reading a novel (or God help me, poetry). I love the tactile nature of a book. It’s interesting that many e-readers try to make themselves as book-like as possible.

And I still love bookshops, especially when they engage with the local community through readings etc. It takes away the idea that books are all from elsewhere (usually the US).

#8
Spykler10:22 am, 29 Oct 11

And sorry but Smiths always looks untidy and unkempt to me. I get that’s probably all part of the charm, but totally not my cup of tea (or wine for that matter).

That was definatly the attraction years ago, but with 1/2 the stock gone , that charm has faded. Good on ‘em for trying to keep it afloat, but after visiting there last week, the place is definately dying a slow death.
Pity, it was a viable alternative to the big book barns at one stage.

#9
I-filed1:35 pm, 29 Oct 11

I’d love to see Smiths move away from Civic – perhaps to an inner-north shopping centre … easier to get to, relax in. They’re much more inclusive than The Front, too, which is a bonus.

#10
Deref2:40 pm, 29 Oct 11

thatsnotme said :

creative_canberran said :

Small or large, bookshops are backward places not long for this world. The sooner bookshops (and newsagents) disappear, the better.

Books and Magazines are about 70% cheaper online and you get them instantly. So sick of going into a bookshop and seeing crazy markups, or a newsagent and finding an overseas magazine two months old yet only just arrived is $20 (online $9).

Thanks for bringing us all up to date, I’m sure nobody here had any idea that books are far better value online than in a bricks and mortar retailer…

I think Smiths should be given a big pat on the back for attempting to keep their business relevant in a changing environment, and not just complaining that things were so much better back in the day. With this move, they’re one of the few bookshops in Canberra that are progressive in their thinking, and willing to adapt – something the large chains seem unable to do. I hope that they’re successful.

Hear, hear. Long may there be bookshops.

#11
Stevian3:06 pm, 29 Oct 11

Deref said :

thatsnotme said :

creative_canberran said :

Small or large, bookshops are backward places not long for this world. The sooner bookshops (and newsagents) disappear, the better.

Books and Magazines are about 70% cheaper online and you get them instantly. So sick of going into a bookshop and seeing crazy markups, or a newsagent and finding an overseas magazine two months old yet only just arrived is $20 (online $9).

Thanks for bringing us all up to date, I’m sure nobody here had any idea that books are far better value online than in a bricks and mortar retailer…

I think Smiths should be given a big pat on the back for attempting to keep their business relevant in a changing environment, and not just complaining that things were so much better back in the day. With this move, they’re one of the few bookshops in Canberra that are progressive in their thinking, and willing to adapt – something the large chains seem unable to do. I hope that they’re successful.

Hear, hear. Long may there be bookshops.

Agreed. they may well become a niche market (keeping the rif-raff out can only be a good thing), but they will always be the choice for the discerning reader, who realizes that that the feel and smell of a book are just as important for a true sensory experience

#12
creative_canberran4:06 pm, 29 Oct 11

Stevian said :

Agreed. they may well become a niche market (keeping the rif-raff out can only be a good thing), but they will always be the choice for the discerning reader, who realizes that that the feel and smell of a book are just as important for a true sensory experience

Who knew Niles Crane is a RiotACT Member?

#13
poetix4:12 pm, 29 Oct 11

Stevian said :

Agreed. they may well become a niche market (keeping the rif-raff out can only be a good thing), but they will always be the choice for the discerning reader, who realizes that that the feel and smell of a book are just as important for a true sensory experience

Yes, the riff-raff *are* always ruining things for the cognoscenti. However, I think any RR in a bookstore is likely to be the higher 10% of hoi polloi, don’t you? Just tell them to leave their ug boots at the door and direct them to the Mills and Boon or self-help section (1001 Names Not to Call Your Children, Does My Commodore Look White in This?). Once I saw a poor person with a Popular Penguin but I think she had picked it up by mistake, thinking it was a children’s book. We all had a good laugh and returned to sniffing our books like wine.

#14
gemini75079:40 pm, 30 Oct 11

good on Smiths for diversifying and bringing people in- it does have some great stuff and nice people, and a brilliant location to capitalise on poetry/ wine tastings etc. Although I do love my kindle, I frequently go to Canty’s in Fyshwick- for the same price I pay online I get much better service- they are really helpful in recommending books I’d like, have a good range- lots of new and second hand good quality stuff- a little kids corner and a really big range of sci-fi fantasy. Plus easy free parking.

#15
I-filed10:49 pm, 30 Oct 11

Do they have free wireless? : )

#16
Henry821:29 am, 31 Oct 11

Was Smith’s the place where the army confiscated “classified” books that were for sale? Was there ever an outcome to that? or was it just thievery in uniform?

#17
toriness3:55 am, 31 Oct 11

poetix said :

Stevian said :

Agreed. they may well become a niche market (keeping the rif-raff out can only be a good thing), but they will always be the choice for the discerning reader, who realizes that that the feel and smell of a book are just as important for a true sensory experience

Yes, the riff-raff *are* always ruining things for the cognoscenti. However, I think any RR in a bookstore is likely to be the higher 10% of hoi polloi, don’t you? Just tell them to leave their ug boots at the door and direct them to the Mills and Boon or self-help section (1001 Names Not to Call Your Children, Does My Commodore Look White in This?). Once I saw a poor person with a Popular Penguin but I think she had picked it up by mistake, thinking it was a children’s book. We all had a good laugh and returned to sniffing our books like wine.

+ 1

what a ridiculously pretentious & presumptious thing to say. i am and have always been an avid reader – and while i truly appreciate the traditional book format and treasure those that i do own, the fact is that in the modern world of decreasing living space, we (royal ‘we’ – am i allowed to use that term in relation to ‘riff-raff’?) just don’t have the room for shelves and shelves to keep buying more traditional books. my partner bought me the kindle when it was released to the australian market and i love it – not just for saving space (and saving testing the patience of my partner in relation to the use of our shared space on all my books!) but for travelling as i am right now and being able to ‘carry’ hundreds of books with me in my kindle rather than lugging (as i certainly used to!) 10-20 books around with me by the end of my trip. i also like to think that given the number of books i used to buy, that, over time, my kindle use will hopefully be kinder to the environment than books made of paper. the current downside to e-readers is that not all books are available on them due to copyright issues being resolved (especially in australia) – when i can’t acquire a book electronically then of course i will source a traditional format book. or a traditional format version of my favourite authors and books, for sentimental reasons in the same way of wanting the physical cd of a favourite band/artist as opposed to a download of an album.

i don’t go into smiths much (agree with other comments it’s not in the best location) but it’s a nice bookshop. well done on it’s move to try and diversify to survive – i too wish it the best.

#18
switch10:49 am, 31 Oct 11

Henry82 said :

Was Smith’s the place where the army confiscated “classified” books that were for sale? Was there ever an outcome to that? or was it just thievery in uniform?

Nah, that was Beyond Q in Curtin. Dunno what the outcome was, “quietly forgotten about” most probably.

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