Rainbow Corner Books. A mobile bookstore. In a recent conversation with Rainbow Corner Books, the owners Susan Kirby & Louise Hunter spoke about their flourishing business in the Netherlands. With a penchant for books and both having the experience of introducing their children to the pleasure of reading, they created a mobile bookstore in 2004.
Finding a good bookstore with an excellent selection of reasonably priced English books was often challenging in the Netherlands. Keeping this in mind, Rainbow Corner Books now caters to ex-pat children and young adults. It offers a selection of English language, fiction, non-fiction, and information books, with bestsellers such as David Wallace, Jacqueline Wilson, Julia Donaldson, and Tom Gates.
Centered in Voorschoten, this community store is also largely event-driven and often gets called out to various book fairs and school libraries. The International Schools of the Hague and Delft, the British and European Schools as well as Dutch schools with an international stream are their regular clients. Earlier this year, Susan and Louise were busy with international schools across the country too, from Amsterdam and all the way to Zeeland. With more than 80 nationalities in these schools, parents often seek their advice about appropriate English books for their children across all age groups.
The owners are often entertained with the kind words and curiosity of their young readers. On a few occasions, Susan has been 'tested' by students, when they have interrogated her about their favourite author of the moment. “I love it when a child comes up to me at a sale and thanks me for recommending a book they really enjoyed”, she revealed. Louise added that her most memorable comment from a customer was, "You are the two best booksellers I have met, with great knowledge and the best ever selection. I thank the day you came to school.”
Commonly and fondly referred to as ‘The Book Ladies’, Louise and Susan now have thousands of books in stock at home and have learned to sell everything in stock. With a shift towards eCommerce, their books are often ordered with either WhatsApp messages, emails and on some days their telephone doesn’t stop ringing. During the lockdown due to the more recent Coronavirus, they have also seen an increase in the sale of home learning books of all kinds.
When asked about their advice for these young minds, Louise emphasised, “Reading should be a pleasure not a chore! Audiobooks are great too and the whole family can share and listen together.” Sue couldn’t agree more and also commented, “Always choose a book you like the look of, not just one that your friend recommends. You are far more likely to enjoy a book you have chosen yourself.”
Their favourite publisher is Nosey Crow.