Mobile bookstores: your next read just one street away

April 3, 2024

Mobile bookstores: your next read just one street away

Whatling and her latest donation of books for her upcoming bookstore. Photo: Tiana Thorpe

A mobile secondhand bookstore is being created by a Whangaparaoa local who wants to bring more books to the members of her community.

Zoe Ann Whatling lives in Manly and after working for Paper Plus noticed that there was a gap in the market for a cheap variety of books.

“There's nowhere in New Zealand to get cheap books. It's all so expensive.”

The idea came to her to start a secondhand bookstore on wheels when considering what to do with her campervan, having never started a business before.

Whatling put out a message to her local community page on Facebook about her idea and quickly received dozens of supportive comments.

One commenter said "Great idea. My Dad loves to read but doesn't get out now. Relies on me getting him books but would be nicer if he could select his own.”

Whatling began to collect donations from the community last week and after only eight separate collections filled her van and gathered over 600 items.

Whatling said that one of the reasons she wants to start a mobile secondhand store is to visit places where it may be harder for people to get out on their own and shop for themselves.

She plans on visiting retirement homes for people with less independence and schools for kids to have a wider selection of stories at a smaller cost.

“It would be helpful if I went to them, get the books to people...It's finding just little things that make people happy.”

Retiree and avid thrifter Lynda Hemmingson believes that a mobile bookstore is perfect for older people especially if it goes straight to places designated for them.

“It's good because when you get older, you're not as active. You can't go out and do things. You may lose your traffic at your driver's license or all sorts of things. So books are a comfort.”

Whatling is yet to begin her business venture after building on the idea two weeks ago but is confident with how quickly things have moved and gained support it won’t be long before she’ll be travelling Auckland with her books.

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