Jane Bayles Books

It’s good to have a bookseller back


These days you can get them either digital or print. With the former you can take several of them with you as they lie cozily in your pocket, while with the latter carries a special mystique that kindred spirits can’t help feel attached to. There’s an undeniable allure with physical books especially ones that have been pre-loved with pages that hold a touch of bronze encapsulating the zeitgeist of the times.

As an old university professor once said, despite the accessibility of getting books inside a phone or a tablet, he still can’t get over the tangibility of a physical copy – the look, the feel, the smell of flipping through the pages. Not to mention they also give off the impression of an intellectual when reading them in a bus or at your local mall.


“I like doing the markets because it keeps it affordable for people”


Jane Bayles, whose business is self-titled, sells a wide variety of classics and modern titles. She started out her business 30 years ago by selling vintage clothes and accessories. The books were only a small part of business. By the by, that part grew and she’s been focused on selling only books for over 15 years at various markets in Canberra including the Old Bus Depot.

“I have a variety of good-quality fiction as well as some vintage and retro craft books,” says Jane. “I like doing markets because it keeps it affordable for people and I enjoy talking to them and being a part of the community.”

Jane knows enough to keep in line with what’s recently popular. As with most bookstores, expect to see Harry Potter and Hunger Games both of which have been big influences in the realm of fiction and fantasy and both franchises have proven to be major players in the wider entertainment industry. The Harry Potter 8-film adaptation of the 7-book series grossed over $7.7 billion while The Hunger Games films made just under $3 billion. Their mass appeal is undeniable.


“I’m always learning about new authors so as time goes by, I’ll add new things to my repertoire”


Spanning a wide spectrum of genres, Jane has always had a fondness for fiction as she grew up reading the works of Isaac Asimov and Marion Zimmer Bradley. Both are known staples to anyone who enjoys science-fiction and fantasy as they respectively made their mark in literature from the 40’s with influences that can still be found today. Certainly count on seeing a number of classics in Jane’s collection along with interesting craft books, short stories, and rock and roll biographies. Hardback copies of Jane Austen’s and Sherlock Holmes’ remain popular.

“I hand-select all the books I have,” says Jane. “I’m always learning about new authors so as time goes by, I’ll add new things to my repertoire.”

A high-quality collection is essential for Jane and this standard goes across all genres. What she calls “airport novels” are avoided, instead aiming for higher calibre of pre-loved books that are in fairly good condition. Books that are harder to find are also preferred.

Jane began selling at the Old Bus Depot nearly a year ago on May 2017. Since then, she’s brought more variety to the Markets’ product selection. “Lots of people said that it’s great to have a bookseller back,” said Jane. “They enjoy having a browse when they get the chance.”

Jane’s collection is constantly updated so it’s worth having a browse to see the new and classic titles she has in store. See her at the Old Bus Depot on Portobello Road this April and Collectables Day every 4th Sunday of the month.


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