Le Mokiroule: a bookstore on the way to readers

Behind a mustard yellow house, a goat with ocean blue eyes is playing hide and seek with a giant snail. The shimmering fresco (signed by artist Magali Attiogbé) offers a taste of what can be found inside Pascale Girard’s bookstore truck. “I like stories that can be read in all directions,” says this warm passionate.

Since 2015, Pascale has been traveling the roads of Ardèche and Drôme at the wheel of her mobile bookstore in a fuchsia pink dress: the Mokiroule. This former intermittent of the show has an obvious sense of staging. “I wanted to set up a bookstore project to respond to the absence of this trade in rural communities. My first wish: to act for the people here”, underlines the one who settled in 2005 in Saint-Laurent-du -Pope, twenty kilometers south of Valencia. “Around my home, we are lucky to benefit from a lot of cultural activities, but as a great reader, I missed literature.”

Some 3,000 books

Keys to the truck in hand, Pascale organizes her tour six days a week within a radius of 40 kilometres. Some mornings, the Mokiroule settles in the markets. The books fit perfectly into this environment with multiple smells and colors, conducive to desires elsewhere. In the afternoon, the entrepreneur opens her doors in the village squares. “On leaving school, children rush to come and leaf through novels, comics or manga: what happiness!”

At the market of Vernoux-en-Vivarais, the truck does not go unnoticed. Onlookers have their arms full of baskets but the Mokiroule is a must. Outside, on a small draped table, the works of the literary season rub shoulders with those relating to Ardèche tourism. “I offer around 3,000 books, counts Pascale. It’s less than a classic bookstore. At first, I was afraid that my customers would turn to the Internet if I didn’t have what they were looking for. But they know that I can’t have everything so they place an order with me and come and pick up their work the following week”. Baguette of fresh bread under his arm, a gentleman approaches timidly: “You don’t have a book on automated car boxes, by any chance?” With the start of the school year, local children are making a comeback: “They are prescribers and lead others to come to Mokiroule”, smiles Pascale.

A meeting place

Talking about books also creates a space for sociability. Whatever their age, all customers say it: at Mokiroule, they love Pascale’s precious advice above all. Martine is an assiduous customer: “These very important exchanges enrich our reading choices. Now I buy all my books here.” Putting away her shopping list in her purse, Isabelle agrees: “It creates a link. It’s essential! When a lot of things disappear from our small towns, we need these initiatives to get us out of our daily lives.”

At lunchtime, customers are rarer. A regular, Pépette, sticks her head out the door: “If I had more money, I’d buy you a lot more, you know that,” she says cheerfully to Pascale. “The book is an ideal object of meeting. However, a bookstore can seem intimidating, inaccessible even for some. But there is something for everyone! The truck certainly ensures a more natural proximity to the heart of village life”, enthuses the bookseller. Like every week during the summer, François and his granddaughter Maïa, on vacation in the village, stop by Mokiroule. The young reader hugs her gift tightly to her heart. “Thank you grandpa,” she slips. Around them, the stands pack up; it’s time to go home to prepare dinner, even if some seem rather inclined to devour the first pages of a new story.

Find information on the places and times of passage of the Mokiroule on his website.

Recipes for success

A charismatic personality

The passionate advice and good humor of the bookseller largely contribute to customer loyalty.

Clearly visible locations

The tour is planned according to the rhythm of the inhabitants because for the beautiful window to attract the eye of neophytes, the truck must still be parked in strategic locations (markets frequented all year round, school exits, etc.).

A local service

Beyond the proposal for a monthly subscription to a selection of works according to the reader’s age, Pascale collaborates with colleges in the region, where she parks her truck and allows young people to choose the books that will be offered to them in the documentation center of their institution.

Le Mokiroule: a bookstore on the way to readers