Book Tree Store owner Marianne Bell celebrates 20 years of fuelling the imagination of Geraldton readers

Lachlan AllenGeraldton Guardian
The Book Tree owner Marianne Bell celebrates her 20th anniversary this year.
Camera IconThe Book Tree owner Marianne Bell celebrates her 20th anniversary this year. Credit: Lachlan Allen

The owner behind a local bookstore which has served the imagination of readers around Geraldton for two decades celebrates the impressive milestone next month.

Marianne Bell purchased The Book Tree store on Marine Terrace 20 years ago after the former owner decided to sell.

Reflecting on the past two decades of running her own independent business, she said the time has flown by.

“It barely feels like 20 years. . . If you do something you love, you’re not going to work. Well, that’s literally what it’s like, I’ve got to actually remind myself it’s been that long,” Ms Bell said

“I absolutely love it. I love my books. I love my customers.”

While some might assume that book sales have “died” because of technology, Ms Bell said this was not the case.

“They haven’t, in 20 years I’m still selling just as much if not more,” she said.

“People are really surprised how many books actually move through the shop because they assume everything is now done on technology.”

Ms Bell has seen the rise of e-readers in the past decade but said most people still prefer reading physical books.

“There’s nothing quite like the feel and smell of a real book, real paper and, of course, the batteries don’t die just as you’re about to discover who the murderer is, so frustrating to us mystery readers,” she said.

The city has seen other bookstores come and go, but The Book Tree store has remained a constant.

Ms Bell said while Geraldton was unable to support three bookstores, two provided a healthy level of competition.

“It’s good having two shops because you work together. If I can’t find something here for a customer I tell them, there’s another bookshop around the corner (Read A Lot Books) and they do the same thing, they send them to me,” she said.

“People will say, oh, surely you don’t want that other book shop round the corner. You must want that to go a long way away and I say no, I want it to be as near to me as possible.”

As for what the next 20 years hold, Ms Bell said she was not planning on stopping anytime soon.

“I don’t want to ever leave my job. Yeah, things would be desperate for me to leave. As I said it’s the best job ever,” she said.

“Thank you to the people of Geraldton for supporting your local and just please continue to support your local businesses.”

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