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Book shop turns a page

Thursday, 29th June, 2017

Karen Underwood and Tanya Bliss in the city’s only book shop, “Under the Silver Tree”, which is close to celebrating its first anniversary. Karen Underwood and Tanya Bliss in the city’s only book shop, “Under the Silver Tree”, which is close to celebrating its first anniversary.

By Emily Roberts

 Twelve months ago the idea to provide the city with a book shop took off.

In June last year some friends on social media started to discuss reports that e-book sales were falling and book shops, which were closing down a few years ago, were reopening.

After months in the planning, “Under the Silver Tree”, Broken Hill’s only cooperative book shop, officially opened at 29 Sulphide Street.

It became home to pre-loved books looking to share their stories with new owners.

The shop boasts a wide variety of genres including fiction and non-fiction, adult and children’s books.

The driving force behind the shop was Karen Underwood and Cathy Farry.

Karen had moved her hairdressing business into Sulphide Street and had a shop spare next door and wasn’t sure what to do with it.

An avid reader herself, she joined the co-operative and offered the shop rent-free and it grew from there.

A year on and the shop continues to grow.

“It’s hard to believe we’ve being doing it for almost a year,” Karen said this week.

“It’s ticking along nicely. We have volunteers coming in to do their thing.

“We’re growing all the time with book donations and changing what we do with our procedures.”

Karen said the push to get the shop off the ground happened quickly.

“The shop got up very quickly. We got a huge amount of donations very quickly. The community has been so generous.”

Now the shop is established, avid readers flock to find a hidden gem.

“We’re getting really good regular customers that keep coming back,” Karen said.

“We sell a mixture of genres, but thrillers and crime is popular.

“Broken Hill books sell well. I was talking to a man (who comes in looking for Broken Hill books) and we were surprised by how many books on Broken Hill are out there.”

The shop is run by volunteers who keep it open for a few hours a day during the week and on Saturdays.

Karen said they would always welcome more help behind the counter.

“We’re happy to take more volunteers - that way we could extend our hours.

“Anyone interested can come in at any time. I’m here on Wednesday and Cathy is here on Saturday.”

The next step is promoting the shop more and letting locals know it is open.

“We are in the process of getting it out into the community more,” Karen said.

“We are close to getting a sign in the window and getting some merchandise.

“We are also happy to order books in for people who might not want to order them online.”

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