Thanks to the increasing popularity of ebooks and the availability of cheap books from overseas websites, bookstores have taken a hit with many going under in recent years.
But the Dymocks Garden City owner has managed to continue to run a thriving business and keep employing new staff, sometimes from bookshops forced to close down.
Ann says she has such a passion for books and the book industry that it has shaped her life.
She is the only person in WA to receive the prestigious Lloyd O’Neil Award for Services to the Book Industry, which she was awarded in 2012 in recognition for her tireless support of new and established authors.
Ann has also received three National Bookstore of the Year awards and a dozen West Australian Bookseller of the Year awards for the store.
Born in Malaysia and schooled in Singapore, Ann says she didn’t have much exposure to books and reading in her early years, with her school not even having a library.
Ann says perhaps this fuelled her hunger for reading and after moving to Perth in the mid-1970s, she found the perfect opportunity to feed her love of books when her husband purchased a newsagency where she sold a small amount of books.
Wanting to stock more and more books in the newsagency and crowding out his stationery goods, eventually Ann’s late husband suggested she open her own bookshop.
Despite having three young children at the time, Ann was not deterred and opened her first book store, Garden City News and Books.
Fifteen years later she was approached to open the first Dymocks franchise in WA.
Ann jumped at the chance and has since helped expand Dymocks’ across the city, opening the Hay Street store and then Claremont, Busselton, Midland, Morley, Subiaco, Karrinyup, Cannington, Fremantle and Mandurah, providing training and advice to new franchisees.
Australian Booksellers Association is encouraging book-lovers to vote for their favourite bookshop.
Voters will go into a draw for a chance to win a $500 voucher at their favourite bookshop. To vote, visit www.aba.org.au.