Tell us the origin story of your bookshop

Farrells Bookshop was started over 40 years ago by Liz & Roy Farrell. They operated the business for the first 20 years, after which it changed hands to Ian & Meredith Horton, who are still the current owners. It has had two locations in Main Street Mornington, and is now centrally located in the centre of town.

What's your favourite bookselling memory?

It would probably have to be with the release of the final Harry Potter book. Our shop ran a promotion with Mornington Railway, who run a regular Sunday steam train service. We hired the train for a special Hogwarts run. Many of our customers came dressed in costume, collected their new book, and boarded the train for a short train ride.  For those of us back in the shop, we were all dressed in character. There was a definite buzz on the day, and a great sense of excitement, for young and for old.

What do you tell people (or wish you could tell people) who say bookselling is a dying industry?

I think the media is quick to give negative press, when it comes to the future of bookshops. My answer is that yes, there were some problems with some big chain stores a few years ago, but that was an operational issue, not a reflection of our industry. Many good independent bookshops are still going strong, and we have many Victorian examples of leading stores like Readings, Avenue & Robinsons Bookshop readily expanding. There seems to be a marked increase in the publication of good quality literary Australian titles, which further emphasises the strength of our market and the demand for booksellers and physical stores to still exist.

What books make you happiest to see people buying?

Well of course the obvious answer is EVERY book that we have in our shop. We try very hard to curate the best collection to suit our community, so it is heartening to see our choices being selected for purchase. On a personal level, I enjoy seeing the books which our staff have read and we tend to handsell.. the books that don’t start off on the bestseller list, but do well via word of mouth. One in particular was Tin man by Sarah Winman. I think I read this in a day, and had to instantly share it with other staff. It was so gentle and touching, and pulled at the heartstrings.

What are you reading right now?

I always have many books on the go. I am currently reading:

Oliver Kitteridge – Elizabeth Strout

Overstory – Richard Power

The Islamic Republic of Australia – Sami Shah

Three Women – Lisa Taddeo

Educated – Tara Westover


-- Recommendation challenge --

Feel free to choose one recommendation challenge from below to answer:

Someone needs a birthday present for their dad who is visiting tomorrow from the country and who they haven’t seen in years. They talk on the phone occasionally about how bizarre AusPol is and about how things were different in the 80’s. What would you recommend?

Hands down, I would recommend Land before Avocado by Richard Glover. It is a humorous reflection of life in 1970’s Australia. As a child of the 1970’s it bought up so much nostalgia, yet managed to convey the message that as good as life seemed then, we are living in better times now.


Head down to Farrells on Love Your Bookshop Day to meet Suzie and the other wonderful booksellers there!

Click here for more information about their graffiti window, sausage sizzle, face painting for the kids (11am-1pm), 'win the window' competition, double loyalty program points, micro-story competition and lots more.