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The Power of a Good Book

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” So said Confucius, and Devonport’s Robyn Dormer agrees.

A chemistry teacher turned bookshop owner, Robyn, lives and breathes books. Since 2002 Books @Devonport Wharf has been supplying secondhand books to the Shore and beyond. And her love of literature has taken her over the world to the locations of many of her favourite fiction titles.

Despite the introduction of electronic reading devices over the past few years, Robyn finds the thirst for reading the good old fashioned way, with a tactile paperback or hardback experience, is as strong as ever. Her business even expanded in May last year and now occupies two retails spaces on the busy Devonport Wharf.
Technology has brought, however, a new outlet for book sales. Robyn lists titles on the popular She has 10,000 currently for sale through this international book-buying site and this has become a big part of what she does through Books @Devonport Wharf.
She said: “You can access the site from anywhere in the world and search for hard to find, out of print or older books. We sell a lot of books this way and a lot of time we are processing books we are selling online to send offshore.
“From this shop down here on Devonport Wharf, we are going global!”
Robyn grew up on the Shore, attending Hauraki Primary School, Belmont Intermediate and Westlake Girls High School as a youngster. It is clear she has found her vocation she loves after switching from chemistry lecturing
“The stock is just growing and growing and growing!” Said Robyn. She is delighted by the response her store often provokes from customers. “A very knowledgable man who came in the other day complemented me by saying that we had the best range of books in the Classics section that he had ever seen in a bookshop, anywhere.”
Many overseas fans ensure Books @Devonport Wharf is on their list to visit when in New Zealand. Another customer overheard passengers on a plane flying into Auckland recommending her store to others as a ‘must-do’ place to visit whilst they were here.
And her personal favourite book? There is no hesitation in her response.
“Lorna Doone by R.D. Blackmore. It has always been my favourite and always will be.”
For her, this classic has a strong personal significance. Robyn travelled to Exmouth, England where the book is set, and experienced a serendipitous encounter.
“I went to Oare Church, which features in the book, and the very first grave I saw, I literally fell onto it, bore the name ‘Nancekivell’. This was my Mum’s maiden name.”
“My grandfather came from that area and I managed to meet up with the deceased lady’s grandson and found out that, yes, we are related! It was a wonderful feeling, knowing that my own history links back to the setting of my favourite book!”
Robyn added: “It just goes to show, you never know where a book is going to take you!”

Books @ Devonport Wharf, Devonport Ferry Building, Devonport 09 446 6660 Open seven days a week.

by Channel Editorial