Who of us would love to work in a bookshop, right? Well, either that, or be a librarian. Meet Jodie. She is the owner of Megalong Books, an independent book shop located in the beautiful Blue Mountains west of Sydney. I am lucky enough to live at the foot of the Blue Mountains in Penrith , and have visited this lovely bookshop on many an occasion.
Ever wondered what goes into owning a bookshop? Well, wonder no more. Jodie was kind enough to let me pick her brains to find out.
Tell me a bit about yourself
My name is Jodie Dalglish. I have worked in the book industry for 30 years and have owned Megalong Books for the last 3 ½ years. I have always been a reader and love being surrounded by books, at work and home.
What do you love about being located in the beautiful Blue Mountains?
I grew up in a small town but lived in the inner city for 20 years. I loved coming back to a small community and love being able to raise children here. It is such a beautiful place to live and I love how supportive the local community is of each other and local businesses.
Tell me about your role in the bookshop
As the owner of the shop I choose which books to order and manage the general running of the shop and, with the help of the staff, I try to keep the shop looking great and interesting. I also try to keep up to date with industry trends and news by going to conferences and am on the committee for the local branch of the Children’s Book Council and the Australian Booksellers Association’s Kid’s Reading Guide.
What do books mean to you?
Books have always been a comfort and a way to stimulate my imagination. I can’t think of a better way to relax than to escape into a good story.
I also love non-fiction and am inspired by other people’s stories in biographies and autobiographies. I also have a weakness for cookbooks!
Do you have a favourite book?
I think my all-time favourite which I read again and again is ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee. It was a book that I had to read at school which just resonated with me, as it did with a lot of other people.
Who are your favourite authors?
To name just a few –
Lee Min Jin
I could go on……
You hold many events, with authors discussing their work. How important do you think it is for authors to connect face to face with the community?
Being able to ask questions of an author.
Can you tell me a bit about The Megalong Book Club, and what it means to your community of readers? The Book Club is on hold at the moment. We had an online Book Club which was going to transfer to being a physical book club because members had requested a night when we could meet up. Unfortunately, the pandemic started when we were organising it, so it is on hold for the time being.
What would you say to somebody who feels paperbacks and bookshops are becoming obsolete?
I have heard this for the last 15 years or so and have seen no evidence of it myself. I think if you are a booklover, holding a book in your hands and smelling that distinct book smell is all part of the ritual of reading.
Browsing in a bookshop to me is heaven, and I hear that so often from our customers. Speaking to other bookshop owners, I know they hear the same. We may be in a bubble and don’t see the people who read on electronic devices but there are definitely enough book lovers out there who support their bookshops to keep the industry going.
What interests do you have outside of books?
Living where we live, I love bushwalking and I love eating out at all of the amazing cafes and restaurants that we are lucky to have locally. Other than that, I am pretty busy with parenting and running the business.
Thank you to Jodie for giving us an insight into the running of the bookshop.
Like many other self-published authors, I dream of the day when I land myself a literary agent or traditional publishing contract, so I can see my book on the shelf of a bricks and mortar store.
The famous 'Three Sisters' in The Blue Mountains