Turning Page seeks new custodians

The stewardship of Springwood's much loved independent bookstore is up for grabs.

Annie Sharkey and Alan Crooks are retiring after Christmas and seeking new custodians for the thriving community institution that is The Turning Page.

"The Turning Page Bookshop has been central to the community of Springwood and the Blue Mountains (and beyond) for some 36 years and we have been very fortunate to be it's custodians for the last 12 ... following on from John G, John B, and Geoff and Sarah," they announced to customers this week.

"The time has come for us to find the next custodians, as we prepare to head into retirement and the pursuit of other interests, including a closer involvement in the lives of our four grandchildren."

When the news started filtering out, their customers - from former school principals to local authors - warned they were "big shoes to fill".

"I'm certain all the love and hard work you've put into your bookshop will be continued by someone with equal passion for all things books and literature," wrote Jodie McLeod.

"You know your books and customers so well that you can create a match that feels like heaven. I will miss you and your recommendations," added Lottie McNiece.

The pair gave up high flying corporate careers in IT to take on the small bookshop and despite the Internet, e-books, chain stores and a downturn in retail, have survived well.

"The idea of learning a new business was not something I saw as a barrier," Ms Sharkey said of their decision.

It was a big change as they started working side by side, streamlining the computer systems and database, mailing out the $25 loyalty vouchers and working hard to ensure their change from "peripheral" members of the community to proper town fixtures was successful.

They lost their anonymity in the process and still run into customers as far afield as Mudgee and Sydney when they are away from home.

"We both love reading," Mr Sharkey said, adding their success was helped by supporting the community with vouchers, wonderful informed staff and ensuring "ninety per cent of our stock is less than three years old".

"It's still a joy," Mr Crooks added. "It's the best job and the longest job we've ever had. But a lot of booksellers hang on too long."

"And I'm ready to go and build my vegie patch and have more time with the grandchildren," Ms Sharkey added.

The pair has started "actively marketing" the sale of the business and are "confident that we'll pass the stewardship on to people with a strong love of literature and sense of community to carry The Turning Page on into it's fifth decade".

Three groups of customers have already approached the pair over the last year expressing interest in the business.

"We are very keen to pass on everything we've learnt," Ms Sharkey added.