John and Betty

One of the books that we get asked often is "John and Betty", sometimes called 'the school reader with the orange cover'. Published by the Education Department of Victoria it was one of the first school readers that primary school children in the 1950s encountered.

We very occasionally have the book for sale, although it's getting increasingly difficult to find. It's an extremely small thin book made for schoolchildren over 50 years ago and a lot of them have not weathered well.

If you’d like us to keep an eye out for one for you you can contact us, but it may be months or years before we find one.

This is everything from the first page:

John and Betty

The Earliest Reader for the Little Ones.

Illustrations by Marjorie Howden

Education Department of Victorian 1951

A. C. Brooks, Government Printer, Melbourne

When we had the book for sale we had it on our feature books page, looking through our photos we realised we had taken more photos than we originally featured, so we thought we'd present it all here.


Aside from this website, email and our Twitter account, Book Browser Pty Ltd does not have any computer presence. Especially not within our shop.

It is a wholly analogue experience, as is fitting for a second hand bookshop. 

We do not have a computer-searchable catalogue, however if you can tell us the genre, subject or a certain identifying feature of the book you’re looking for we can direct you to where you’re most likely to find the book or subject you’re looking for.

Book Browser covers every subject, both fiction and non-fiction.

There is a mix of layouts and organisation is several areas, based on the subject matter. 



In the fiction section there are two layouts, depending whether the section is suitably large on not. 

Sorted by author’s last name: Australian novels & literature; Humour; Large hardback fiction; Large paperback fiction; Literature; Small paperback fiction; Government, war and military fiction; Crime; Horror; Animal stories (also included in this section is non-fiction Animal stories); Science fiction and fantasy. 

In most of these sections there will also be sections for particularly prolific authors, usually organised at the end of a section or the bottom of the shelf.

Sections devoted to subjects but not ordered further: Historical fiction; King Arthur; Robin Hood; British Royalty Fiction; Fiction set in Ireland, Scotland and Wales; Sea Stories; Westerns; Novelisations of Movies or TV Tie-In Books; Romance & Erotic fiction.



All non-fiction, aside from Biographies are ordered by subject only, there are a few exceptions which are ordered by title.

Biographies are broken down to Australian biographies, TV & Movie Stars biographies and (general) Biographies, ordered by author / subject of the biography (by last name).

Non-fiction is ordered in a human understandable layout with everything grouped together based on genre or subject. A few large sections are broken down further by title of book.

All the books on countries are within a section together and are ordered together.

Australia has its own section with each state having a shelf or in the case of Victoria and New South Wales a few shelves, with a dedicated shelves for ‘The Snowy’ and ‘The Murray’. Victoria is broken down into Victoria, Melbourne and Melbourne Institutions & Landmarks. 

The Australia section also has sections for ‘The Outback’, ‘Historic Australia’, ‘Australian National Parks’ and a general ‘Australia’ section. 

All these sections, beyond being ordered into these sections and shelves are unsorted.

The Australia section also has several shelves which contain books about Australia as a genre of non-fiction. These are ordered by title

Australia is further broken down into books ordered by title.

World War II is also broken down into books by title. 


As is explained in the ‘about’ page Book Browser is now run by two brothers. The website and majority of the blog posts are written by the elder brother and if you contact us he’ll be the one to reply.
He also runs our Twitter account, though all enquiries should come through our website.

If you have any questions feel free to contact us, we’re happy to answer any questions.

Our blog will cover various topics, often based on queries from customers within our shop, or other things we’ve noticed we’ve been asked about in the past. We’ll also be going into more depth about genres and other concepts that make sorting books difficult. Plus other things like why we may have a surplus of some subjects, authors or genres while being out of stock of others.