when we moved to Rockhampton, there were three bookshops in town—two Angus & Robertson shops, one Collins, no independents. The major bookstore chain in Australia, Dymocks, had no presence here, &, given their commercial acumen, that in itself was probably a strong indicator of the state of the local market.
Within three years, we were down to one bookstore, a single Angus & Robertson. Collins, which was probably the pick of the three in a general sense, went first, followed by the A&R on the north side of the river which was my favorite because their standard selection of books was augmented with titles chosen by someone who actually read more than the bestseller list & believed there may be others out there who also did.
My memories from Sydney are that Dymocks stocked everything, Collins occupied a sort of respectable niche within the market, & A&R tended to wear the Aussie blue singlet. You could say their shop in Rockhampton is accessorized with footy shorts (Google it if you have to: I refuse to add a link or even talk about them) & socks. Their selection of plays & poetry in its entirety is the Complete Works of William Shakespeare.
(I must mention, in the interests of fairness, that the local outlets of the two major department store chains also carry a limited range of books, usually at an up to 30% discount which is why I visit them; there are also a couple of newsagents that carry books; & then there's the local secondhand book store that categorizes not by genre but by gender—female writers, male writers.)
Detective stories are my great love, & though there is a reasonable selection carried in The Last Remaining Bookstore, the bulk of it is by writers whom I don't like. Of those I do, Lee Child, Ian Rankin & Michael Connelly make it, Robert Crais, John Sandford & James Lee Burke sometimes, people like Laurie R. King never. What it means, though, is that there is little chance of browsing the shelves & finding a writer who, on closer inspection, you just might like.
Unless it's in the remainder bin that sits in the front of the shop. Books that come there have never sat on the shelves that surround them, but from some warehouse somewhere that dispatches them in job lots seemingly based on size & no other criteria. I always sort through the books there, occasionally buying something that seems to have promise. I've come away with some crap, but I've also discovered Don Winslow & two quite gritty English authors, Graham Hurley & Stuart MacBride. My usual journey after that is to visit the secondhand shop to see if there's anything else by them there, & then on to Amazon to acquire the back—or forward—catalog.
James Lee Burke is, like Ian Rankin, someone whose writing transcends the category of crime fiction. His major character is a Louisiana detective called Dave Robicheaux who has an adopted daughter, Alafair. So when I found in the remainder bin a crime novel by someone called Alafair Burke, my first thought was quelle coincidence. & then I read the spiel on the author inside the book &, yea, verily, she was the daughter of the aforementioned JLB. Writes differently; the book I came across, Judgment Calls, was her first novel & a little raw, but I liked what she was doing, &, now that I've read her following four novels—two obtained via A&R, two via Amazon—would recommend her most strongly.