Giving a Gift? Flowers Soon Fade – Books are Better!

After a year of uncertainty and anxiety around how the pandemic might affect their second-hand bookshop in Hornsby, Tanya and her father Gerard’s shop The Bookplate has been fortunate to remain open and operating. The father-daughter team have worked tirelessly to keep their bookshop in service for the many dedicated readers who call the little book sanctuary their second home.

With the stimulus and safety net from the government now over, it is time once again for the family duo to think outside the box to keep the doors of their bookshop open. During the turmoil of 2020, Personality-Based Book Bundles were born – book bundles based on your answers to a short personality quiz.

Tanya and Gerard have once again come up with another genius idea that will allow us to connect with each other and send messages of love, gratitude and care in a unique and innovative way. The Bookplate’s newest venture, Book-quet Bundles, gives you the option of sending a Personality-Based Book Bundle to a friend or loved one.

All you need to do is answer a simple personality quiz about them. Tanya and her father will then be able to personalise a book-quet of 5–7 books and it will be delivered to your loved one’s doorstep, Australia-wide, for just $50. The book-quet will be wrapped beautifully and delivered with your (optional) personalised message and a whole lot of love attached.

Show someone how much you love them and help keep this wonderful bookshop alive! Just complete the quiz at this link and follow the prompts. Before your very eyes, a magical bundle of books, wrapped up in love, will appear at the doorstep of the one you love.


– by Gavin McCormack,, Monday April 5th, 2021 –

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Sydney Bookshop Delivers Personality-Based Bundles of Books During COVID-19 Crisis

Tanya Natalie and her father, Gerard, run a second-hand bookstore in Hornsby, The Bookplate, that has been in operation for nearly 30 years. In these strange times of social distancing and self-isolation, they are now experiencing an uneasy sense of uncertainty around the fate of their business.

In a bid to keep the business going through these next few months, to keep providing some much-needed literary stimulation packages to anyone who needs it, and to still be providing books to the community when this pandemic is over, Tanya Natalie has had to think outside the box.

From Monday, customers will be able to answer a short personality questionnaire to determine their perfect match – in the form of books! With your answers, Tanya will use her experience of over 15 years in the literary industry to find the perfect set of 5 – 7 books to keep your minds occupied during these times, for only $50. If that isn’t enough to capture your interest, to reinforce health regulations and advice around social distancing, your books will be dropped on your doorstep free of charge.

As Tanya was quoted as saying, “Our community is important to me – and so are books and reading. Of all times, now is when we need a little bit of escapism in our lives. I still want this shop to be here when this pandemic is over – and I know my dad does as well. I’ve had to ban him, temporarily, from coming to the shop so he’s not too happy about that! It’s going to be a difficult few weeks for all of us, because we’re all in this together, so I want to do what I can to ease your mind through the power of reading a good book – by bringing the books to you!

To access the questionnaire and receive your personality-based book bundle, please click HERE. When Tanya receives your answers, she will email you with payment options (either over the phone, via bank transfer or PayPal) and to organise delivery of your books.

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Tanya Reads The Five People You Meet In Heaven

I’d like to introduce you to another favourite book of mine – The Five People You Meet in Heaven. Mitch Albom’s more famous book is Tuesdays with Morrie, but I much prefer this one. The Five People You Meet in Heaven begins with a recap of the last hour in the life of maintenance man Eddie, who works in the amusement park at Ruby Pier. Eddie is killed in an accident and sent to heaven, and there he encounters five people who had a significant impact upon him while he was alive. The book is a fictionalised account of what happens after you die – the five people you meet in Heaven who guide you and explain their impact on you or your impact on them. No matter your religious persuasions, this book is filled with beautiful truths and profound observations – it makes me cry every time I read it, so be prepared for that! I’ll leave you with one of my favourite quotes from the book – one of those profound observations I mentioned earlier;

“’You have peace,’ the old woman said, ‘when you make it with yourself.’”

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Tanya Reads Three Wishes

I first discovered Liane Moriarty when I was on holiday, browsing a local bookshop. I’d already finished reading the books I’d brought with me, so I had to buy something new, naturally. I bought a copy of her first book, Three Wishes. The book opens at a birthday dinner between three triplets, Cat, Lyn and Gemma, that devolves into a violent argument and a mad dash to the hospital after one of them sticks a fork into another’s pregnant belly. We spend the rest of the book learning why and how these events came about. I spent the rest of the day finishing that book and rushing back to the bookstore to buy more of Moriarty’s books – I must have bought another three or four of them – and I promptly read all of them over the next few days of my holiday. Moriarty writes intriguing stories that are so easy to read and her characters are loveable, believable and quirky. I don’t think I’ve ever discovered an author where I can say, without a doubt, I love all their books equally. Her books are perfect for holiday reading, so when you’re next packing for a trip away, don’t forget to pack some Moriarty.

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Tanya Reads The Woman in the Window

Sometimes, when I’m meant to be putting books away in the shop, I’ll do that thing considered so scandalous – I’ll judge a book by its cover and start reading it. One day, I picked up The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn. I have to say, whoever coined that phrase got it wrong. I think you can quite often judge a book by its cover – that’s why authors employ the best designers to create their book covers. This book captured my interest in the first few pages. It’s dark, suspenseful, compelling writing full of unexpected twists, and it’s a bit of a thriller. It’s another of those books that are so easy to fall into, and I read the whole thing within one day. Every few pages I was convinced I had worked out the next twist in the story, and every time I was surprised by the outcome. If you love books like Gone Girl, Apple Tree Yard, The Girl on the Train and Before I Go to Sleep, you’ll love The Woman in the Window. Consider these all essential reading for fans of suspense and thrillers.

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Tanya Reads Running With Scissors

I know I say this a lot, but ‘Running With Scissors’ by Augusten Burroughs is one of my all-time favourite books! He’s another of those authors where I love everything he has ever written (especially also ‘Magical Thinking’ and ‘This is How’). ‘Running With Scissors’ is the second book Burroughs published and it is a memoir that explores his childhood from about the age of 12. The thing about this memoir is that it’s the most outrageous, incredible, hilarious true story – so much so that it seems completely unbelievable. But that’s what makes it so good! Essentially, the story is about how at 12 years old, Augusten’s mother sent him to live with the family of her psychiatrist, Dr. Finch, who then acquired legal guardianship of Augusten … and also, Dr. Finch believes that children become adults at the age of 13, so there are no rules imposed and the children run wild in the Finch household, doing whatever they want. That alone should be enough to entice you to pick up this book if you ever see it!

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Stuck for What to Read During Lockdown? This Second-Hand Bookshop Uses Magic (and a Questionnaire) to Send Bang-On Personalised Book Bundles

If you tell bookseller Tanya Kurukulasuriya whether you’re a dog or cat person and if you love or hate olives, then describe your personality with a few adjectives, she’ll choose five books informed by your responses, wrap them in brown paper and post them to you. You don’t find out what the titles are until they arrive in your letterbox, but the mystery is part of the fun.

Kurukulasuriya and her dad Gerard own The Bookplate, a second-hand bookshop in Hornsby, and the book bundles are just one of the ways they’re trying to keep the business afloat as coronavirus locks down the country and the economy.

The pair bought the bookshop 11 years ago, so Kurukulasuriya has had a lot of experience matching customers with books from the store’s 35,000 titles.

“Choosing books for people is my favourite thing. I’ve been doing it for years,” she tells Broadsheet. “Someone will come in and we’ll spend 10 minutes going through what they like. It’s easy to get a sense of them as a person when they’re in front of me.”

These days she evaluates customers via an online questionnaire, but her knack for picking books translates to the digital world surprisingly well. “The way I choose the books is part intuition, part secret, part magic and partly just because I know a lot about books. I’m a giant nerd,” she says.

The Bookplate questionnaire is a simple Google form that asks customers a series of questions: their three favourite titles; whether they consider their glass half full or half empty; and whether they prefer books that are optimistic or bleak, predictable or unpredictable (plus a few other descriptors); and more. There are also bonus questions about wine for anyone who wants a surprise bottle from Orange winery Nashdale Lane to enjoy with their new reads. “What’s better than books? Books and wine,” Kurukulasuriya says.

I filled out the questionnaire, and although I read a lot, not one of the five titles Kurukulasuriya selected for me – including Kate Atkinson’s modern classic A God in Ruins and Hannah Kent’s award-winning Burial Rites – was one I’d read before. She even sent a book I’ve long wanted to read. Whatever her magic is, it clearly works.

If you live locally and still prefer to buy your books in person, The Bookplate has launched other initiatives to help customers follow social distancing guidelines. For example, there are boxes filled with books (marked $10, $5 and $2) for sale outside the shop – just pop your cash into the moneybox (it’s an honour system) and take your tomes home.

“We also did a free box. Now is the time that we need to escape into a good book,” says Kurukulasuriya. “I want to be there for those who need a book but are aren’t able to pay.”

The book bundle offer is working well – so far she’s received 300 orders.

“You don’t make a lot of money selling second-hand books, but we’re trying to stick around for as long as we can. As long as we’re making enough to cover rent and basics, we’ll be here.”

The Bookplate’s book bundles are $50 each, for five to seven books. Fill out the questionnaire here to begin your order.


– by Pilar Mitchell, Broadsheet Sydney, Tuesday April 14th, 2020 –

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Pick up a book bundle based on your personality from this Hornsby bookstore

If, like the majority of Australians at present, you’ve found yourself with an abundance of free time on your hands, you might be pondering which books to read while you wait out the Covid-19 pandemic. And yet, with such a dizzying number of page-turners to choose from, narrowing down your reading list can be a daunting challenge.

This is a struggle the folks at quirky secondhand store the Bookplate in Hornsby know all too well. So, to help you find the novels you never knew you needed, staff have cooked up an innovative solution: a personality test. Answer just six simple questions – nothing too personal, more self-reflective than overly invasive – and you’ll be matched with a bundle of five to seven pre-loved books that precisely meet your individual interests, all for just $50. Staff will even deliver your haul directly to your door, for free, anywhere in Australia.

Your perfectly matched reads will be hand-selected by the Bookplate’s owner, Tanya Kurukulasuriya, who has been running this stalwart store on Peats Ferry Road with her father, Gerard, for more than 15 years. And these won’t be just any old paperbacks you end up with. The store boasts a stock of secondhand books, 35,000 strong, so you’re more than likely to end up with a rare treasure that you just won’t find in the average book shop.

However, should you wish to be a little more hands-on with your next book purchase, the Bookplate is also offering a ‘Pay & Go’ service, perfect for these physically distanced times in which we live. Simply find a book from the selection displayed outside – individual books are priced between $2 and $5, or you can opt for a pre-packed book box for $10 – and leave your money at the window provided, so you don’t need to interact with another person directly.

The Bookplate will also be giving away free books – still perfect for reading, but a little too worn for resale – during the Covid-19 crisis, so no matter what your financial circumstance may be, you can get your hands on a good read.

– by Maxim Boon, Time Out Sydney, Wednesday March 25th, 2020 –



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Turning over a new leaf: A bookshop owner wants to turn her words into charity

Thank you to the Monthly Chronicle for helping us by featuring this appeal. 👍🏽❤️

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Tanya Reads #GIRLBOSS

I was drawn to this book partly because of the title – hey, I’m a girl boss! – and partly because I’d heard about the author, Sophia Amoruso, and about how she was the founder and CEO of the fashion business, Nasty Gal. This book was an absolute rollercoaster of a read. Amoruso seems to have lived a million lifestyles; dropping out of high school, working various odd jobs such as at Subway, in a bookstore and a record shop, a stint of dumpster-diving and shoplifting – before opening an online eBay store, which became the springboard for Nasty Gal. While I’m inclined to prefer to see myself as ‘boss’ as opposed to ‘girl boss’, I can’t fault Amoruso for her fascinating and unique business acumen – one that was not gained in the traditional way of school, college or university.

As she so aptly puts it; “Success is about trusting your instincts and following your gut, knowing which rules to follow and which to break.”


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