The Secondhand Bookshop in Bethania is a fairly new store that is tucked away in the small shopping complex on King Arthur Boulevard. The store is the complete work of a truly wonderful lady and local resident, Sandra Emslie.
The first book Sandra read when she first started to read was The Valley, by Di Morrissey. This began a love affair with books and decades later the passion for books and reading has grown stronger.
Around six years ago, Sandra left the corporate world but didn’t want to sit around doing nothing. This is where she started her dream by selling her own books and DVDs on eBay. Her inventory was not large with around 200 books, but it was a good start.
While the onset of COVID was closing businesses, Sandra’s book selling online soon began to grow as everyone was turning to reading and her book count soon grew to 4000 plus.
When asked about where all the books come from, Sandra was happy to reply with: “Nothing comes from the bottom of a donation bin, everything has been a book exchange.”
“Buying and exchanging is how it works,” said Sandra.
“I am so overwhelmed by the community support and I love how everyone is coming here.
“I love it and I love how people are reading as I’m passionate about books. I’m really glad Kindle and eBooks haven’t killed it.”
When people bring books into the store, Sandra rewards them with shop credits that can be used to buy other books from the store.
There is no ratty books on the shelves and all the books in the store look close to brand new and well cared for.
Books that have been donated and are not quite up to the standard of being added to the shelves, will all be on sale this Friday, March 31, on the verandah out the front of the store for people to fill a bag for $10, with the proceeds going to charity to help the community.
With books and reading being Sandra’s love, she is also very passionate about giving back to the community. With every purchase in store, Sandra donates a dollar to well recognised charities. These include Fred Hollows and Shave for a Cure to local ones such as the Bethania Community Pantry and even Holmview/Beenleigh Community Pantry.
The shop is very much family based. With Sandra at the helm, she is supported by her husband Peter, who was happy to see the books out of the house, and her mother Esther.
The opening hours of the shop don’t suit some working people, so after Easter, Sandra has plans to trial extra hours on a Wednesday afternoon/evening to give the working bookworms time to stop in and devour the hardbacks.
Despite the internet giving options to read, there is nothing better than a spin bending softback book filled with great adventures or a hardback diving into someone’s life. The Secondhand Bookshop is a real reminder that we still need books.