Hot topics, hot property

by Elizabeth Heritage
This week, The Read investigates publishing on current affairs and hot-topic issues in Aotearoa: why we do it, how it’s received, and how it sells.
To begin with, I spoke to some publishers who are producing these kinds of books: Bridget Williams Books, Potton & Burton, and Awa Press. I also talked to a publisher-distributor, Bateman. I then talked to some booksellers, Marcus Greville at Otago University Books, Juliet Blyth at Vic Books, Hamish Wright at PaperPlus Cambridge, and Carson’s Bookshop. 

Publishing on the big issues

From North to South, festival fever lingers

Anne O’Brien (right), Auckland Writers Festival Director, says this month’s five-day event was “extraordinary”, with 

The whys and wherefores of books on Radio NZ National

(Article by Elizabeth Heritage) As part of The Read’s ongoing investigation into the place and value of book reviewing in Aotearoa, I wanted to explore the ways in which Radio New Zealand National contributes to and supports our book culture. As with print review media, discussion of books on radio can take the form of a feature, an author interview, or a review. To this list, radio adds a more performative element  books read aloud. I spoke to producers and presenters at Radio NZ, as well as booksellers around the country. 

Boldness, bravery and hard graft – how Dunedin became a City of Literature

Q: What does it take to get a City of Literature designation?
A: Get a keen team of four together, and work for as many years to prove you have the goods in a  20,000 word submission
Dunedin has just become a UNESCO  City of Literature. This is an accolade not easily come by – in fact there are only eleven cities in the world which can claim that distinction.

Why booksellers do it: the personal side of bookselling, by Liz Gillett

In the book industry we often discuss the importance of bookstores to the development of communities. Particularly since the advent of online book retailers, the brick-and-mortar store has become a symbol for connectedness – for keeping alive the discussion of thoughts and ideas in a manner more complex than is possible by clicking a mouse. This discussion often turns toward what physical stores can offer their customers. 

There's a Fraction too much Fiction? Selling Kiwi YA fiction to our young adults

Young Adult fiction: all the cool kids are doing it. According to Nielsen book data, YA fiction sales in New Zealand have grown by a whopping 50% over the past year. Good news for Kiwi YA fiction? Well, maybe. 
While sales of NZ-published books overall are down by a small percentage from last year, sales of NZ fiction are up by around 43% in both volume and value – all hail The Luminaries! Sales of NZ YA fiction, though, are down by 14% in both volume and value. Why might this be? Why should we care? And what can we do about it?
What’s the problem?

Booksellers Gift Card: The Gift of Choice

See the map above to find out where you can redeem your gift card.

The Booksellers gift card is sold and redeemed in bookstores nationwide, including many independent bookshops and all Paper Plus and Take Note stores.

Book reviews: Letting the customer in on a secret

What is the relationship between book reviews and bookselling? Book reviews can give the bookseller a heads-up on literary trends and help prioritise quality titles. So how can booksellers maximise the usefulness of book reviews? 
Booksellers NZ’s weekly feature Preview of Reviews, is a handy breakdown of which books are being reviewed in New Zealand for the week ahead.

Selling books at the speed of wind at Auckland and Dunedin Writers festivals

One is the new kid on the block – the Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival, held May 6 – 11. The other, Auckland Writers Festival, will host book lovers for the fourteenth time from May 14 – 18. But bright, inventive and appealing author events and programmes are something both Festivals share. 

Celebrating 20 years of Storylines

Wellington Children’s Bookshop owner Ruth McIntyre is looking forward to the buzz and excitement of Storylines Wellington Family Day at the Michael Fowler Centre on Saturday 17 August. “There’s a lot of preparation for it, making sure there’s stock of all the guest writers’ books. But I have a wonderful time on the day. People are really impressed because it is free and so it has a really good vibe,” says Ruth.

The event is obviously good business for the store, who will have at least three staff members on hand as well.