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Open Spaces Tree Change

Open Spaces and it's new home in Natimuk, with the Natimuk Cafe.
Open Spaces and it’s new home in Natimuk, with the Natimuk Cafe.

It’s been a tough ten years in print publishing as the internet revolution continues to change the way we create and distribute information. Traditional printers across Australia have been putting off large numbers of staff or closing their doors for good. Wholesale distributors and book shops have been similarly affected. The introduction of smart-phones and tablets using e-books cut further and further into the traditional book market.

It’s no secret that we at Open Spaces have not been immune to the tsunami which has raged around us. At times it felt that we were shoeing horses in a blacksmith’s shop, all the while watching automobiles speeding past on the road outside. We changed tack accordingly and provided our newest walking titles with comprehensive GPS coordinates, which were able to be downloaded directly from our website. As far as we know this was a world first. Open Spaces also joined up with iCrag to create Australia’s first interactive climbing apps for both Apple and Android. We were very proud of how our Arapiles Selected Climbs and Rockclimbs Around Melbourne turned out as apps. We even changed the concept of our books, creating smaller print runs of slimmer, less expensive editions (such as our Western Gorges and Victoria’s Goldfields), which gave us the ability to update quickly and regularly. These innovations helped us to stay in business but despite this we at Open Spaces are under no illusions as to what the future holds for many ‘less adaptable’ publishers in the traditional print industry. We don’t believe that the end of traditional books will occur any time soon but we feel that there will be a fundamental shift in how books will be printed. High-quality, fast, digitally printed books that will have very short print runs (usually under 500 copies) will start to make more business sense. Our latest book, Law Unto Himself is a good example of this print on demand style of publishing. In the end though we have to face up to certain truths. More and more people will use the internet as a prime source for much of their information and they will have less need to purchase traditional forms of print media.

Which is why we have made some rather large changes here at Open Spaces. One of our biggest decisions was to drop the publishing and distribution of all our cycling titles. Of all of our books it was our cycling titles which suffered the most. With few book shops able to sell our product (to the general public) and with almost no support from cycling shops we had no choice but to drop them. We have sold the remaining stock of our excellent Bike Rides Around Melbourne to a leading distributor (Woodslane) and we will no longer be stocking it ourselves. We have also dropped many of the smaller less popular titles in our range, simply because we couldn’t justify holding so much stock.

Perhaps the biggest change for Open Spaces was that we have sold our premises in Melbourne and moved ourselves to Natimuk, a small town in the Wimmera region of Western Victoria. Natimuk is within spitting distance of the famous Mt Arapiles and the rugged Grampians mountains are nearby. This change in lifestyle will allow us to do more of the things we love. Tracey Skinner, our office administrator, has followed suit and moved up to near Natimuk with us. In fact, she and my partner, Karen, are now owners of the popular Natimuk Cafe, which is open on weekends for locals and visiting climbers and walkers.

Finally, Open Spaces would like to apologise to any of our customers that may have been inconvenienced by the inevitable chaos involving our move. Things should now be running smoothly again and we look forward to a bright future where we will continue selling and distributing walking and climbing books for many years to come.


5 thoughts on “Open Spaces Tree Change

  1. hello all – can anyone say if your book, ‘daywalks around melbourne’ will ever be reprinted?? i am trying to purchase a copy and everyplace, physical or online, is out of stock… and now i believe, out of print?
    what say you!??

    1. Hi Lucia. Daywalks Around Melbourne is now out of print and there are currently no plans top reprint it. We have been moving to the slimmer walking guides such as Melbourne’s Western Gorges etc to allow us to do updates more regularly. We are planning on releasing Daywalks Around Melbourne as a PDF download in the very near future as we have had quite a few people asking for it. Please email us your contact details and we will let you know when we have it ready.

      1. yes, thanks Glenn, i understand – i went to Paddy Pallin in the city this week and found you had several smaller guides – yep – i even got one!
        PDF versions are great in my opinion, so yep, i look forward to that option too…. will keep my eye on your website and email you my emial address
        cheers muchly
        happy days in the country to you and yours 🙂

  2. Hi Glenn,

    Saw your reply above to Lucia and I will definitely be investing in some of your slimmer guides as the great Daywalks Around Melbourne slowly gets out of date. On that, I’m not sure if you’re still updating the walks in that book, but if so, I did walk 83 a couple of weeks ago with some friends (‘upper yarra goldfields walks’). Just to let people know, the walk itself is mostly still ok, but the side track going through the old mine fields has now been closed and shouldn’t be attempted because the bridges over the mineshafts are unsafe. Also, the track that follows the water race between the 4.9km and 6.5km map markers has not been maintained and, while still marked relatively clearly by orange markers on trees every 250m or so, is pretty over grown and in some places quite difficult to locate (including having to climb up onto large fallen trees to try to spot the track through the bracken and undergrowth).

    I’ll miss the Daywalks book, but am look forward to picking up some of your briefer publications in the future. Happy walking!

    All the best,

  3. Nati cafe is great! Wholesome food, good coffee and great staff – well done.

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