Two Guys & a Bookshop

The Midlands MagazineJanuary 10, 2024

Meet Adam Riley and Robert Cronjé, two guys who are passionate about collecting coins and books. They are also the proud owners of Midlands Books & Collectables, which they opened on 1 May this year at The Old Mushroom Farm.


The two fellas met when Robert joined the PMB Numismatic Society in 2017, of which Adam has been a member since 1982. In case you don’t know what numismatic means, it has to do with the collection of coins, money or medals.


Robert and Adam’s love for growing their varied collections led the pair to buy and sell them. Robert funded his coin collection in this way and Adam his book collection. Robert shared, “My focus slowly started to shift to buying and selling any interesting collectables. When my garage started looking like a library and storage unit, I knew I was into this deeper than planned, and my wife wasn’t too happy about her car being parked outside! Needless to say, Adam had a similar problem with his library bursting at the seams with all the excess books he was gathering.”


They had plans to sell their collectables online, which were housed in a “storage unit” (which was the current shop at The Old Mushroom Farm), but the duo soon realised that they needed to re-evaluate their business plan, because the shop sort of took on a life of its own. With over 300 apple boxes filled with books and containers holding other collectable items and books, they decided on 25 April to open the shop to the public on 1 May!


Their first few weeks, days and evenings were filled with the sight of boxes decorating the shop as they unpacked, priced and sorted all their stock. However, what was a nightmare of unpacking became a dream for book lovers. With a whole gamut of genres available, from fiction that ranges from romance to fantasy and non-fiction that ranges from history and biographies to esoteric, health and more, visitors can spend a good couple of hours browsing and buying at affordable prices. So, it might be best to bring along your own apple box!


The collection keeps on growing too as Adam and Robert can’t resist buying more treasures. Some weeks they purchase over 4000 books! Some of the older books that they can’t sell have been donated to schools in Zululand, Greendale House and other institutions.


The owners truly take pride in their shop. “What we both intended as a sideline fun business has turned into a well-loved and fraternised shop at The Old Mushroom Farm.” They have already hosted a book launch in the shop and plan on hosting more events in the future. And, if you’re wondering whether Robert managed to empty his garage, well, let’s say that his wife still has to park outside, and Adam’s library’s seams have burst. Let’s give it to them both for keeping the collectable industry alive in our community!

Words by Alicia Du Plessis