It used to be a great place to experience, and fabulous for browsing unusual books. It's chaos was almost a place of mystery and discovery and I often spent hours and a great deal of money there. In fact I had an account for myself as well as my colleagues who were at University in Japan, but over time the experiences from a couple of the female staff members were becoming so horrible that I cancelled the account. I had started to dread just walking into the shop. Just recently it was all brought back, when I thought I would try again, but on entering the shop I was told very abruptly I had to leave... immediately... they were closing an hour earlier as they were attending the Writers Festival. I asked if they could quickly check to see whether they had a special book I needed for my son, but the woman refused and I was ordered out the door. Not sure why the door wasn't locked to start with or why staff were not rostered to cover their advertised hours. But it was her haughty and very rude attitude which was the most upsetting. Clearly the staff's care and consideration for customers had not improved. So I found refuge in the second hand bookshop next door and discovered other people inside all talking about "that dreadful woman next door." Perhaps I am naive but traditional bookshops used to be a joy to enter, not an ordeal to endure.
Basically it’s a bookshop, and one that doesn’t have anything all that spectacular about it. Mind you, being a bookshop is always going to grab my attention, but unfortunately there didn’t seem to be all that much that really want me to hang around for too long. Sure, there were a number of interesting books here, and a good selection of fiction, non-fiction, and classics, as well as books that had come from the various art galleries around the world, but it didn’t that that musty and cluttered feel about it that a really good bookshop has. That probably has more to do with it being a new bookstore as opposed to a secondhand book store, and the fact that the Sappho cafe is next door doesn’t help all that much. The thing is that since it is basically a new book store as opposed to a second hand bookstore means that the stock isn’t going to rotate as much as I would like it to rotate.
I have signed up to True local just to make this complaint. Whilst I agree that Gleebooks has a great selection, and reasonable prices I was shocked at how bad the service was when I visited the other day. I stood at the front counter waiting to be acknowledged by the staff member standing directly in front of me. Eventually, after being ignored, I asked for help in selecting a childrens book. Staff sent me to the back of the shop to "the children's book buyer". Staff was just plain rude, telling me first I'll see if I can help you, but I'm not the person to talk to...then when I began to explain staff interrupted me saying "see, I have no idea..." . I spent the next 10minutes ( with my 6month old daughter wriggling on my hip) waiting for someone to help me. When I finally found my books, the same staff wrapped them incorrectly; despite me giving clear instructions on which ones I wanted wrapped together. It was a surprise to me,and the little boy that I gave the gift to, when he opened the wrapping to find a book about cricket alongside a book about princesses. A disappointing experience all round.
I would have to agree with the introduction of the technological age sadly good bookstores are becoming rare. Gleebooks is that type of old school cosy bookstore with a twist of quirkiness that just grabs you from the minute you walk past. It definitely does have the "Glebe feel" about it but most of the stores on Glebe Point Road do. They have every type of book genre that you can think of and whilst their prices may be a tad higher than other bookstores in the vicinity, keep in mind they are an independent store and the friendly service and the relaxed atmosphere will keep you coming back. Drop on in and have a browse, you won't be disappointed.
Gleebooks is a great book shop that never fails to deliver something just a little bit different. I don't want to imagine a world without places like this. The internet and chains have a place, but for me the real book rules. Let's support independents! Highly recommended, great stock, helpful staff, and wonderful coffee with which to browse through my new purchases just along Glebe Point Rd.