As Donovan Bixley introduces his brilliant Much Ado about Shakespeare, “There's never been a period when [Shakespeare] has been out of fashion.” There are bound to be 10,000 conversations happening worldwide right now, inspired by one of Shakespeare’s plays. At the moment in the UK, Shakespeare 400 is well underway, but what is happening for New Zealand’s Shakespeare-lovers?
I am probably not alone in this industry in saying the single most exciting present I unwrapped from beneath the Christmas tree each year was the rectangular one: especially if it looked like it had more than one book in it. Mum was a bit iffy with her clothes choices for my Christmas gifts, but she was pretty spot on with books that would appeal to me. My very first Terry Pratchett was a Christmas present, age 14, which made me aware of a whole different branch of publishing. Imagine how excited I was when I realised that Maskerade was book 18 of a whole, and ongoing, series.
Literacy Aotearoa and New Zealand Post are celebrating five years of Travelling Books with more than ten thousand brand new books to be given away for free next week.
From Saturday, volunteers from Literacy Aotearoa will be out on the streets in towns and cities around the country promoting adult literacy and handing out books to members of the public. No money changes hands, but readers are asked to enjoy the books and pass them on to another reader.
Distribution – do you think of giant Australian distribution warehouses like Penguin Random House’s United Book Distributors? Or the other extreme, author and publisher Paul Little dispatching his recent titles from the basement of his wife’s suburban Auckland store?
They are the two ends of the spectrum of book distribution serving this country.
United Book Distributors is definitely in the heavyweight corner of the boxing ring. It distributes titles for Penguin Random House, Allen & Unwin, Hardie Grant, Simon & Schuster, Phaidon, Pearson Education, Text, Scribe – and Kiwi nonfiction publisher Awa Press.
Booksellers know the big hitters of the publishing world, the major international players based in London, New York and other world capitals. But spare a thought for the small guys, the Kiwis who are successful publishing exporters or who believe enough in their books to take major commercial risk.
The Read talks to Gecko Press, Potton & Burton, David Ling, Makaro Press and Bridget Williams Books, just some of our local publishers succeeding with their different ventures despite the odds.
On Tuesday night the children's literary world came together at the National Library in Wellington to celebrate the New Zealand writers, illustrators and translators who made it into the finals of the LIANZA Children’s and Young Adult Book Awards. With Hell Pizza as the main sponsor, and Hataitai School Year 7 & 8 students on hand to deliver over 50 pizzas to the 150 guests, attendees were well fed before the ceremonies began.
Every book needs a cover, and that is where the imagination, ideas and skills of New Zealand’s book designers are on display. But delve deeper and you realise design doesn’t end with a cover. Designers must demonstrate their skills in all areas, including typography and layout, to attract the judges’ attention in these awards.