Where do I start?
Hardcopy books began as a dream, back in 2012, all on paper, and nothing really tangible. The name Hardcopy Books came about when several people were looking for hardcover coffee table books “do you have a hard copy”, I love hard copy books especially, they are generally big books and mostly make a statement on a coffee table, or in a good library. I came across a picture of a woman with a book and a whip in her hand, I am a bit of a naughty girl lol and I loved the play on words hardcopy, hence Hardcopy Books pleasure your shelf. It is very brand-able, the advertising I try and keep fun and light
I think of the authors and publishers, who went through painstaking decisions on how to present a “real book”. To me that is, a hard copy book, usually eclectic, sought after, desirable, wanted, coveted, out of print and sometimes pretty on the eye. Most importantly, the book MUST pique my interest, is there something to be learned, does it have substance, or is it needed for continued reference. I also won’t deny, I have a huge fetish for large and well-endowed books, with alluring pictures, photographs, illustration, and etchings, of course with reference, always makes it more attractive.
Back to buying books, It took me, 18 months to do 100 “outside buys” to acquire 4500+ books, that is approximately buying ONLY 15 books a day, being fussy on condition and subject matter LOL, 5 days a week on the road, sometimes 7, visiting 2 sellers a day. I sourced the books from friends, family, charity shops, deceased estate, auctions, word of mouth, adverts, posters, other second-hand book shops, the Market Place on Facebook and supporters and clients down sizing and relocating, the general public. Also raided, a small portion of my own library, that has taken me 15 years to collect. It’s not a substantial library but it is interesting, quite eclectic, and varied, from antiquarian, coveted, out of print, modern first editions and YES some current fiction (softcover) older cult writers, (Modern First Editions) biographies, history Africana, politics, world history and imported NEW children’s books, I believe a love of a books starts from the cradle. So stock sorted, still capturing, its a never ending joy which takes up most of my nights.
Find an outlet. I kid you not, I touted for almost 18 months and was accepted with my business plan and “concept”, at many large regional shopping centers, alas the rentals were out of my league, or on second thoughts after acceptance, I didn’t get the feeling of community, I didn’t get the feeling of destination and I didn’t get the feeling of a reading community, I got more the feeling of “impulsive buyers”. I value repeat business and dream of becoming a destination store and a preferred supplier.
The shop. So when Parkhurst 22 b Fourth Avenue came about, I got all excited, the community was there, the Library (people read) , a fusion of people from all walks of life, very cosmopolitan, artists, schools, kinder gardens, several other second-hand bookshops, in close proximity, surrounding areas, I had to take my chances cv-19 and all. So opened Hardcopy for the 3rd time (Previously 27 Boxes, and Melville)
The Look, white and bright minimalist, no isles no obstructions, LOTS of light, perfect ONLY 50 sqm and a total capacity of holding maximum 6000 clean, neat, tidy, tight, covered books, hence ONLY one of a copy, maybe 2 if you are very lucky. Only handpicked and select books. 70% being nonfiction the other 30% made up of current fiction 2017/8/9/2020 and children’s books. This is the opposite of “general second hand bookshops, PROMISE no “meintjie” books.
The staff, well-read, some temps with university degrees, and some just heavy readers or collectors, so I am constantly learning from my staff, AND my clients, who are generally walking encyclopedias. I think I have a natural ability to pick up a book and instinctively know whether it is a winner or not, thanks to my mentors in the book business over the last 24 years, and my general knowledge, besides “google” LOL.
So the official first store opened July 2016, my passion and joy have been helping people collect books, find books, build libraries, with genre that interest them, the knowledge they have imparted with me has been amazing. Many of the collections I buy, do not go into the shop necessarily, it is only 50 sqm tiny. The online books are housed separately www.hardcopy.co.za, this stock is not part of the actual store (separate business) I do advertise online (direct marketing) have been making sales via social media, and word of mouth, it is lovely to see that my dream has finally been realized, amazing handpicked books in one place is something to behold. Thank you to the sellers, buyers, and my team, this would not have been possible without a community of book lovers, readers, collectors. sellers, and knowledgeable co-workers.
“Sourcing beautiful books is a journey”