Alumni then and now: Karl Slotte, BA ’97, LLB ’97

The front cover of The Making of the Australian National University 1946–1996 features four undergraduates sitting on the lawn in front of Chifley Library. One of these students is Karl Slotte.

His father was the Finnish Ambassador in Canberra from 1987 to 1991. He stayed on in Canberra to continue his education at Narrabundah College before taking an Arts/Law degree at ANU, graduating in 1997.

Karl Slotte is now co-owner of Castle Books, which runs the Book Grocer chain that has 18 outlets in Victoria, seven in New South Wales, one in Queensland and two in the ACT (Kingston and Majura Park). He began his bookselling business in 2000 with a shop in Kingston, Castle Books. ‘Slotte’ is Swedish for ‘castle’.

His love of books began in his childhood and continued during his student years at ANU. He particularly enjoyed the Classics Department and remembers with affection Professor Elizabeth Minchin. He says she was his first customer in the Kingston shop, buying Donald J. Mastronarde’s Introduction to Attic Greek.

Slotte says his entrepreneurial skill was improved by study at ANU of consumer and competition law, and his first job, at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

He prides himself on buying good quality material, and sells at no higher than $10 a book. However, he cannot afford to be sentimental when bargaining with major publishers trying to offload stock, some of which becomes remainder only one year after publication.