Friday, 15 June 2012

Bookoccino: Independent Bookshop near Sydney

Review by Liza Perrat

Bookoccino is a small independent bookshop in the beautiful beachside village of Avalon, 32km north of the city of Sydney. Established by Margaret and Roger Hutchins, locals of the area, it has just celebrated its twentieth birthday. Unfortunately, many shops in the area have closed, due to the economic recession, but Bookoccino is thriving. Being locals themselves, the Hutchins are aware of the needs of people in this area, and the residents support their business, which is part of the fabric of this close community. People wander in from the beach at all times of the day in sarongs and sandals.

The name, Bookoccino, also reflects its friendly, home-style café, which serves light snacks, the potent aroma of coffee immediately luring you inside. It was one of the first bookshops in Sydney to combine books and café, and was an immediate success. Thanks to their hard work, the Hutchins have not looked back, and Bookoccino now hosts regular author events either in the shop or at a local restaurant. They also have a well-attended book club, and Margaret has a monthly column of book reviews in the local paper.

When you step into this narrow shop, you notice at once that every space is occupied by various styles of book displays. But far from being uncomfortable, this gives it a cosy, friendly atmosphere, heightened by the interesting background music, which they also sell in limited choices.

Family photos, and the new grandchildren, are pinned to a board behind the counter, giving a casual, homely feel to the shop. And the Hutchins’ two adult daughters, Minna and Ella, have now joined the business to continue the family atmosphere.

Their knowledge of the book-world, in particular of Margaret, is outstanding, and Bookoccino boasts an amazing range of books. Staff recommendations are displayed on the large racks of books, as well as newspaper reviews on a board.

Confronted by all these tantalizing temptations, customers rarely leave this wonderful bookshop empty-handed.


37A Old Barrenjoey Road,
Avalon Beach NSW 2107
T: +61 (0)2 9973 1244
F: +61 (0)2 9973 1165