Honesty the best policy for Brisbane’s 24-hour book shop

Yarran Jenkins uses an honesty payment system at his Bardon book shop, Logical Unsanity. Photo: Bradley KanarisAnybody who has spent time in the country would be familiar with the honesty system of buying fresh produce.

Bookstore owner Yarran Jenkins, 28, has brought that tradition to the inner-Brisbane suburb of Bardon, where he has offered books for sale for whatever the buyers see fit to pay.

Mr Jenkins’s shop, Logical Unsanity, included a cash box in what he called the “book shed” at the front of his Morgan Terrace business.

It was open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and worked on the basis that customers could pay what they thought the book was worth, by putting cash in the box.

“They come in at night, browse through the books and nobody disturbs them, nobody asks if they need a hand,” Mr Jenkins said.

“They can just get whatever they want, put a few dollars in the box and be on their way without having to talk to anyone.

“People really like that.”

And, so far at least, Mr Jenkins said the honesty system has worked well.

“It’s been going for about a year now and there’s money in the box every day,” he said.

“Some people take books, I am sure, but for the large part people are really honest and there’s been some great comments in the guest book.”

But it has not been all smooth sailing.

“I’ve only had the money box ripped open once, but I don’t think they got any money because I emptied it at 1am or something like that,” Mr Jenkins said.

“I’ve moved the money box around to the other side of the gate so it’s harder to pry open, but I haven’t had any trouble since that one time.

“I empty it pretty regularly, so there’s rarely money in there.”

Located just off busy Simpsons Road, Logical Unsanity also had a section inside that was only open when Mr Jenkins was there for what he called “your traditional over-the-counter style”.

“I don’t put thousand-dollar books out in the book shed,” he said.

“I’ve been collecting books for about nine years now, so I’ve got a lot of really nice books that I can’t put out in the shed.”

Mr Jenkins said Logical Unsanity, which also sold and displayed “contemporary, surreal, fantastic and figurative” art, was in some ways a throwback to his childhood growing up at Mt Tamborine.

“We had avocados at the end of the gate that we used to sell like that,” he said.

“I knew how that worked – driving in the country, you see it all the time – and with the books it was just a natural progression.”

Mr Jenkins had previously sold books at music festivals up and down the east coast and had a stint selling books in Melbourne’s Fitzroy.

Mr Jenkins planned to take a load of books to the Woodford Folk Festival to see in the new year.

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