Words by Rebecca Carroll and Steph Bishop-Hall

Sainsbury Books, the second-hand bookstore just outside the Parkville campus, has closed down after more than 30 years. Its closure raises questions about the fate of the book industry.

Owner John Sainsbury said that the store was still viable, but he wanted to downgrade. He will manage his other shop on Riversdale Road, Camberwell. He says retaining that store is a better lifestyle decision.

Mr Sainsbury said “a hundred little things” contributed to the bookstore’s closure. These included factors such as the changing university market. The tram stop redevelopment, and the addition of a new cycling track also influenced the change, as they were metres away from the shopfront.

Mr Sainsbury leaves the customers of his Carlton store with a goodbye message: “I really enjoyed my years opposite Melbourne University, and I certainly will miss the energy and excitement from the students and lecturers,” he said. “I am sure another bookshop will open up in this area soon. In the meantime, I hope I still see our old Carlton customers and new students at Camberwell.”

Master of Publishing and Communications student Jessica Walter believes Sainsbury’s closure is an indication of the future of second-hand bookstores. “Why bother wading through piles of books to find one you’re not sure of when you can be instantly steered towards one by a film company or internet search algorithm?” she said.