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One Dog, Thousands of Books – O’Connell’s Bookshop in Adelaide


O’Connell’s Bookshop in Adelaide

O’Connell’s Bookshop is an Australian bookselling institution. Established in 1957 by Reg O’Connell, the bookstore is revered by book-lovers far beyond its surroundings of Bank Street in Adelaide, South Australia.

Adelaide’s oldest used and antiquarian bookshop is now at its fifth location. Its previous building was demolished to make way for a Holiday Inn. While other used bookshops have come and gone, O’Connell’s has displayed remarkable resilience.

Ben O’Connell and Oscar the dog

The dog in the picture sitting alongside owner Ben O’Connell is Oscar, a handsome whippet, who is at home among the bookshelves.

“Oscar has been in the shop since he was eight weeks old and he’s now three,” said Ben, who is Reg’s grandson. “He has many fans who come to visit him and bring him treats. We offer a vast range of books from recent releases to rare antiquities. One customer said we are ‘scholarly but not intimidating.”’

Ben adds that many famous figures have browsed the shop’s shelves including writer and feminist Germaine Greer, cultural critic Clive James, comedian Barry Humphries, author Richard Dawkins, cricketer Steve Waugh, broadcaster David Attenborough and rock group the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

“We are very proud of the fact that we still have customers who’ve been coming to the shop for 40 or 50 years,” said Ben of this third generation family business.

Ben has a passion for antiquarian books but wasn’t afraid to introduce graphic novels to appeal to a different generation of readers.

Examples of the gems you’ll find inside O’Connell’s include Australiana, biographies, gardening and botany, and histories of New Zealand.

While browsing O’Connell’s Facebook page, we came across this wonderful picture of Clip and Groom Your Own Poodle – look at the gentleman on the cover image. What perfect hair for a dog groomer, and surely a candidate for our Weird Book Room.

Clip and Groom your own Poodle

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