Booktopia’s Christmas Clearance Sale – Our Biggest Yet

Prices Seriously Slashed


This has been a big year for Booktopia – we’ve experienced incredible growth, we’ve moved into massive new premises, we’ve revamped all of our systems, and we’ve won more buying power than ever before, which means we can offer you even better discounts…

In short, having come so far, so quickly – we want to celebrate.

As this is the season for giving, we have decided to share our success with you, our customers, by having a Clearance Sale on a scale which would have been impossible a year ago.

Let me repeat – this is


We have been busy buying up stock – buying in bulk – so that we can bring you bargains all year round  – our massive new warehouse in filled to the roof – but starting this afternoon all of our bargain books will be further reduced – some to ridiculously low prices.

These bargain books are well known authors and popular titles at dramatically reduced prices.

Romance Fiction, Crime Fiction, Thrillers, Sci-fi, Literature, Adventure, Action, Classics…

And in Non-Fiction… well… every subject under the sun – from Web Design to FengShui, from Battle Cruisers to Stamps, from Sailing to Noodles, Candles to Dreams.

Gardening, Cooking, Travel, Art, Self-help, Craft, D.I.Y

I’ve just been in the warehouse and have been walking up and down the aisles… so much good fiction

I saw great light holiday reads for women (and some men) like Catherine Cookson, Johanna Lindsey, Sheila O’Flanagan, Danielle Steel, Virginia Andrews, Katie Fforde, Marian Keyes, Cathy Kelly, Barbara Taylor Bradford and Joanne Harris.

There is great literature there too! Modern writers like : Anita Shreve, Alice Sebold, Douglas Kennedy, Tony Parsons, Philip Roth, Thomas Keneally, Hilary Mantel, Ann Patchett, Tom Wolfe, Carol Shields, Irene Nemirovsky, A.L.Kennedy, Roddy Doyle, Anne Enright, Edward St Aubyn, Anne Tyler and Paullina Simons.

And Classic Literature : Arthur Conan Doyle, Tolkien, Margaret Mitchell, John Galsworthy, Edith Wharton and Charles Dickens.

With so many books I could only note down a few in each section… (check the website for more…)

So much crime!

Shelves and Shelves of Crime!

I saw some of the best names in the business:

Mystery writers likeDick Francis, Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, RD Wingfield, Peter Robinson, Minette Walters, Val McDermid, Andrea Camilleri, Colin Dexter, Henning Mankell, Lindsay Davis and Ian Rankin.

And Thrillers like - James Patterson, Kathy Reichs, Karin Slaughter, Peter Temple, Janet Evanovitch, Robert Crais, Michael Connelly, Sidney Sheldon, Dean Koontz and Greg Isles.

Everywhere I turned there were more and more books…

I found a section with great adventure stories – perfect for the holidays too! Patrick O’Brian, Bernard Cornwell, Alexander Kent, Jack Higgins and Chris Ryan.

All of these fabulous authors, and many more, will be radically reduced in our sale.

But be quick.

Last year many people missed out.

These titles are available until stocks run out.

Get in early to ensure you get all the books you want.


ScroogenomicsChristmas is the time for giving… or so we thought!

A brilliant Economist, Joel Waldfogel, now tells us we have it all wrong…

Read his new book to find out why -

Scroogenomics: Why You Shouldn’t Buy Presents for the Holidays

Thank goodness for Economists.

Next year, come Christmas morning, as we sit in complete silence staring at an empty tree, with the children shedding dumbfounded tears, we’ll have one source of solace, we can think of our full bank accounts and then give thanks for the Wisdom of Joel Waldfogel.

Merry Christmas Joel!

Bryce Courtenay

Once the madness of Christmas Day is over (I know it seems a long way away right now but it will all pass, trust me) you’ll need some quiet time to recover.

Now is the time to make preparations.

The men in your life, whether they be lover, husband, father or brother, will probably stretch themselves out on the couch and watch every boring minute of the Boxing Day test match.

Do not despair – help is near.

First things first – you’ll need a drink.

Then you’ll need to find a comfy spot to sit. You’ll want it to be far enough from the TV so that you are not disturbed by the incessant pock of the cricket ball, intermittent male grunts of joy or despair or the incessant droning of the dullards commentating and yet close enough to the boys, hopefully still in their peripheral vision, to be an ever-present visual complaint for being so grievously neglected.

Now that that’s done, you’ll need something to read.

If your pre-Christmas week has been unrelieved hell we recommend you reach for belly laughs or bloody murder.

You’ll need something strong to put out of your head the sound and images of screaming children running riot around the fine china department of David Jones or the haughty look the sales girl gave you when you’d discovered you’d left your purse in the shopping trolley at Woolies or the pathetic smile your husband wore on Christmas morning when handing you the poorly wrapped ironing board….

Whatever you doFor belly laughs you’ll need :

Marian Keyes, Ben Elton, Katie Fforde, Peter Allison, Jill Mansell.

The Private Patient And for bloody murder:

PD James, Nicci French, Kathy Reichs, Henning Mankell, Peter Robinson.

But if your Christmas was a great success – if the turkey was tender and moist, if the family did their best Brady Bunch impression, if the little box under the tree with your name on it contained what you hoped it would contain, if peace reigned supreme and love was all around… then you may like to celebrate with juicy saga, strong drama or a heart warming yarn.

lessons in hearbreakTry one of these authors…

Maeve Binchy, Di Morrissey, Erica James, Penny Vincenzi

Bryce Courtenay, Judy Nunn, Cathy Kelly

Or something a bit different Alex Miller, David Malouf, Muriel Barbery

And last but not least, a small selection of books for those who do not celebrate Christmas and who do not like Cricket, those who cannot be classed as Bah Humbugs because they are of a different faith, or are indifferent, or have integrity, but nonetheless are forced by Governmental decree to do nothing for two days in a row…

Being and NothingnessBeyond Good and EvilPhilosophy of the Boudoir

Mary MacKillop Unveiled

Mary MacKillop is set to become Australia’s first saint, after Pope Benedict XVI confirmed she was able to cure a dying woman from inoperable lung cancer.

On Sunday morning, the Pope declared Mary MacKillop had performed a miracle to save the woman. It was the second of Mary MacKillop’s miracles to be confirmed by the Vatican, enough for her to become a saint.

The canonisation is expected to occur in Rome next year and large numbers of Australians are expected to witness the ceremony.
Sixteen years after her death in 1909, Archbishop Michael Kelly of Sydney established a tribunal to examine her life.
The investigation was completed in 1973. In 1992 the Vatican recognised she had led a life of “heroic virtue”. Three years later the Vatican, recognising that she was instrumental in a miraculous cure of a woman dying of cancer, beatified her. A second
miraculous cure after beatification is required before canonisation. It appears the cure of a second cancer case has now been adjudged miraculous, opening the way for her to become St Mary of the Cross.

To read the real story of this fascinating woman who has been proclaimed Australia’s first saint, go straight to Mary MacKillop Unveiled.

Regrets, I’ve had a few……

I have been fascinated the last several Sunday nights by Heston Blumenthal’s Feasts. Apart from the visceral nature of the cooking, from frog blancmange to bull’s testicles to a cockatrice sewn together from the parts of four different animals, the  marvellous thing about this program is that no matter how obscure, how bizarre the question, Mr Blumenthal always manages to find an eccentric Englishman who is an expert on the said arcane area of endeavour.

Which puts me in mind of the book world. I have been in book selling long enough to know that there is a book on absolutely everything, and certainly a quick stroll around the warehouse and you’ll see everything from a book on brick making in Bathurst, to something on how to have sex on a Swiss ball without being permanently injured.

Earlier today I was going through the upcoming releases for February 2010. Just how many people are likely to order a copy of Insects of Surinam? or Working with Drywalls? or Dancing Chain (the history and development of the Derailleur bicycle)? And what exactly was the publishing process? Did these books get commissioned or did they inch their way to the top of the slush pile by some contradictory and miraculous force of nature?

But while there seems to be no limit on what is published, and on what will happily find a home on at least one person’s bookshelf, there is certainly no agreement on what constitutes  an interesting book. And as reading is for most people a diversion, surely at some point even the most enthusiastic of us have to admit defeat despite our best endeavours to entertain ourselves with what we thought was going to be a good read? And is not life a hundred times too short for us to bore ourselves,  as Herr Nietzsche would say?

So at this time of year, when everyone is looking at the best books of the year, or the best books of the decade,  or the best books of the millenium, what about a quick look at the worst, or the most boring, or the one’s you really regret having wasted your time over?

Yep, to my mind, the most excruciating book of 2009 was without doubt Diane Armstrong’s prize winning Nocturne, a kind of slow death by a thousand cliches. Going back a few years, I’d have to say Matthew Reilly’s appropriately named Hell Island was up there for me, and I still haven’t recovered from a repeat tussle with  Georges Perec’s Life A User’s Manual (whose first pages I read many times over several weeks in the early 80s without understanding a single word).

OK, I’ve outed myself. But I’d love to share the pain. What do you most regret having read?

In the meantime, is is not just me that is obsessed with this subject. Here are the most regretted 100 books, according to one completely unscientific poll. Any comments?

How many

Beneath the Dark Ice – Greig Beck

You want adventure? You want action? You want thrills? Then there is only one answer and it is Greig Beck’s Beneath the Dark Ice. How do I know?

Well, it scared the pants off Big Jim “Jumbo” Kennedy and let me tell you, he doesn’t scare too easily. Once he recovered from his fright, he wrote in to the publisher just to share his excitement. For my part, I like the image of the big rig parked off road in a paddock the size of England, and Jumbo in there, windows up, light going over time through the back-up battery, with book in one hand and an iron bar in the other.

Here’s his review:

Greig I am a bloody big interstate truck driver six foot three and hundred eighty pound in the old scale and sixty four yers bloody old and mate I did not think I could get scared in the dark. I read your book and boy oh boy I loved it  “‘but ‘” man I have done a lot of reading in my time and in a lot of bloody funny places and one must say your book made me like a little ten year old as whilst reading a book at night in a truck parking bay out in the middle of nowhere I have no problems  = but = READING YOUR BOOK i HAD THE DOORS LOCKED WINDOWS UP AND A BLOODY GREAT BAR WITH ME.   Any way mate I just thought I should write you and say how flamin good I for one enjoyed it even if it did scare the crap out of me in parts and I must admit I couldnt stop reading it nor put the bloody thing down so buddy I shall be ready for your next bloody scarey book. BRING IT ON MAN.


Phew. Got to experience it for yourself? Click here. The trade paperback is available now. The smaller version will be out in February. We’re happy to take pre-orders.

Valley of the Dolls

Valley of the DollsWith re-runs of re-runs on one channel, rejects from the US on another and sport or Jim Carey movies on every other channel the best thing about TV over the holiday period is that it forces us to open a good book. That is, if you have a good book to read…

Last year I was trapped in a beach house for two rainy weeks – the TV was useless, the latest releases at the local DVD shop were Citizen Kane and Gone with the Wind, we had no Internet connection – my family cracked under the pressure and wouldn’t talk to one another. When I looked for a book I was horrified to find the beach house had a small library of just five novels and ten or so Reader’s Digest condensed novels.

Jacqueline Susan’s Valley of the Dolls was the pick of the bunch. (It has sold over 30 million copies!) Great trash. But I felt kinda dirty afterwards…. Intellectually speaking, that is…

This year I will be more prepared. I have put together a collection of Beach Reads for every member of my family. Click here to see them all.

Nothing heavy, just easy reading, which grips from the start and can be picked up and put down when the need arises.

This year, rain, hail or shine, when the inevitable grumpy silence descends over my family, and we move to our separate sullen corners, at least there’ll be something for us all to read.

Seven Days of Giving

Trawling around in cyberspace the other day, when yes, I should have been doing something else, I came across something called the 7-Day Holiday Giving Challenge. It seemed the perfect antidote to Christmas season fatigue.

Seven days, each day focusing on giving rather than taking. Here is how it works:

Day 1. Be spontaneous. Go through your day with your eyes open and watching for unexpected opportunities to give.

Day 2. Go for the green give. Give a reusable grocery bag to someone using “paper or plastic.” Walk more and drive less today.

Day 3. Help those who can’t help themselves. Donate some clothes to The Salvation Army, Goodwill, or a local shelter.

Day 4. Give back to the world at large. Contribute to an organisation that sends care packages.

Day 5. Acknowledge those who often go unnoticed. Make things easier for someone who could use the help.

Day 6. Go for the simple give. Bring something freshly baked to the office. Let another driver merge in front of you into busy traffic.

Day 7. Spread some holiday cheer.

The woman behind the Seven Days of Giving is Cami Walker and hers it seems is a very interesting story. Some years ago, suffering from multiple sclerosis, she was advised by an African healer, to give 29 gifts over 29 days. Desperate for something to take her out of the pit of illness, she embarked on this crazy quest, and some time in found her symptoms subsiding and her life turning around.

“By giving,” the healer told Walker, “you are focusing on what you have to offer others, inviting more abundance into your life.”

The gifts, she said, could be anything—but the giving had to be both authentic and mindful.

“I was sceptical, but I tried it. And I was amazed by what unfolded during my month-long journey. Many of my gifts were simple yet the acts of kindness were transformative. By Day 29, my health and happiness had improved,” said Walker.

From this experience came a website, and a movement, and Walker has inspired spontaneous giving all over the world.

Walker’s experience is chronicled in her memoir, 29 Gifts. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet but I have to say, it sounds fascinating, simple and inspiring. In the meantime, I have just started my own personal 7 day challenge in this last, pre-Christmas week.

Any one want to join me?

Here is Cami Walker explaining what it is all about.

NO FEAR SHAKESPEARE: Perfect for the Reluctant Reader

No Fear HamletOf all the writers in history why should posterity proclaim Shakespeare the greatest?

What kind of example to students is he? The dude can’t even spell!

Why not choose Matthew Reilly – that guy can write!

Why must it be Shakespeare? He makes no sense, no sense at all.

“To be or not to be, that is the question…” Hamlet.

Huh? To be what?

To be or not to be a pro surfer, that’d make sense. To be or not to be a ninja, there you go. But just to be or not to be… by itself… it just looks like the guy lacks ambition…

No Fear Romeo and JulietHow about this from Romeo and Juliet?

If I profane with my unworthiest hand
This holy shrine, the gentle fine is this:
My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand
To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.


Posterity has spoken, however, Shakespeare is the greatest – the world’s students must learn to agree.

But there is help to hand:

The NO FEAR SHAKESPEARE series are individual plays by Shakespeare in full but with a difference – on one page we find Shakespeare’s Gobbledygook, while on the next page we find the Gobbledygook translated into Plain English.


Never again shall students have to sit with eyes glazed whilst their teacher murders the sacred text with their best imitation of Lawrence Olivier (who?).

Now they’ll be doing the teaching.

Visit our Shakespeare Author Page – A Page Devoted to the Bard…

No Fear King Lear No Fear Henty VNo Fear Richard IIINo Fear Julius Caeser

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – on screen

It takes something really good to get a gaggle of booksellers to sit up and take notice and that is just what happened the other night when a bunch of us were treated to a sneak peak at the upcoming movie version of Stieg Larsson‘s first book in the Millenium Trilogy, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Not only did we take notice, we sat spell bound through the entire – and rather long – movie. And when it finished – the buzz in the room was palpable and the discussion over dinner went on for ages.

Of course there were quibbles. A couple of interesting sub-plots were omitted, plus some of the bits that implied that some Swedes over the age of 40 can be normal,  as opposed to a bunch of psychopaths as portrayed in the simplified movie version. Lisbeth Salander’s life is certainly revealed more completely in the movie than it is in the first book while Mikael Blomqvist is much more visceral in print than on celluloid. That said, the characters of Blomqvist and Salander are pretty true to form. The acting and scripting are brilliant and the sets are appropriately bleak and cold.

Unfortunately, viewers in this country will have to wait until March to actually see the movie.  And when it ends, you will be absolutely itching for the next one, which sadly will be some time around September next year (groan).

Better get in now and actually read this trilogy. And after you’ve finished with number one, I guarantee you will be straight to  The Girl Who Played with Fire. And then the final one, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest.

Meanwhile, have a look at the clip to whet your appetite.


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