Bronwyn Smith of Dromanabooks, Australia


Bronwyn SmithHi, I am Bronwyn Smith of Dromanabooks, Australia. Dromanabooks is an online-only bookshop supplying non-fiction to clients in Australia, Europe, the USA and Asia. Visit my website at www.Dromanabooks.com.au where I have about 11,000 titles on offer. I don’t have any obvious specialties, perhaps because as a former Reference Librarian (now retired), I have such a broad range of interests.

I am a Graduate of the National Library School, Canberra 1969, and the Australian National University where I majored in Australian History. I chose to work in country and outback New South Wales so that I could contribute to those isolated communities with few amenities. I ran the public library in Cobar, a mining centre where travel to the nearest town is a 3 or 4 hour drive. The Library funding was tied to the price of copper and when the price of copper plummeted so did the book budget. In good years there were extra funds. I often had to buy and sell secondhand books to fill the gaps in the Library’s popular Science Fiction series to eke out dwindling funding.

During this time I was involved in Hilary Clinton’s White House Millennium Program which linked our library with a primary school library in New Jersey via the Internet. I’m hoping to visit the U.S. in 2007 (via the Colorado Antiquarian Book Seminar) to catch up with my email pal librarian in New Jersey. The American children couldn’t believe that we had one-teacher schools with 15 pupils across the primary grades in parts of the Cobar Shire. The Royal Flying Doctor Service still provides medical care to those living on outlying sheep and cattle stations.

I now live on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, famous for its international standard golf courses (I don’t play golf) and over 100 vineyards (I don’t drink wine). Dromana is only 70 kilometres southeast of Melbourne on Port Phillip Bay busy with container ships and pleasure craft. I do love the scenery here and the wild ocean beaches of Bass Strait. Such a contrast to the dry inland of Australia.

When friends asked me to hunt down books for them, I soon realized that the internet made hitherto rare and hard to find titles immediately locatable. I was inspired to start Dromanabooks in 2002 after reading bookseller profiles, especially where women had started with “a few boxes of books in a spare room or den.” Just as well I love being surrounded by books—they’ve always been part of my working life and now they’ve taken over the house! We’ve had to make extensions. White Cliffs holiday spot

In a couple of weeks I’ll be taking holidays. I’ll be heading back to my underground house or “dugout” in the opal mining town of White Cliffs where my husband and I go to catch-up on reading, to escape the phone, and just take a break from the TV and computer. Temperatures over 40c are not uncommon, so living underground is the only way the early opal miners could escape the summer heat. It is a 600 kilometres return drive to stock up on fresh food supplies in Broken Hill, a major historic mining town, now famous for its outback artists and as a setting for the movie, Priscilla Queen of the Desert.

Selling online suits me fine, as I think I have the best of both worlds. I enjoy my independence, the variety, and still feel I’m providing a service to people who love books and live in remote localities. I live where I love, doing what I love, and take pride in the prompt, reliable service offered at Dromanabooks. I meet interesting people who are addicted to reading and I have the flexible hours to be out enjoying the beautiful Mornington Peninsula or head off to the wide open spaces again.

Bronwyn Smith operates Dromanabooks out of Dromana, Australia and can be contacted at http://www.dromanabooks.com.au.

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