Vale John McIntyre, creator of readers

The New Zealand book industry is in mourning for the loss of children book’s champion, John McIntyre, owner with wife Ruth of the Children’s Bookshop in Kilbirnie. John died on Saturday, aged 65, after a long fight with ill health.

In offering condolences to Ruth, Booksellers NZ Chief Chair, Tony Moores stated, ‘The Board of Booksellers NZ wishes to acknowledge the colossal contribution John has made to the professionalism and profile of the bookselling community and the importance of reading for all ages.

‘Your support over the years has encouraged and enabled him to exercise and broadcast his passion to the wider community of young readers and together you have created a business with a reputation that far exceeds the sum of its physical parts.

‘Our thoughts are with you as you and your family mourn his passing and celebrate his achievements.’

John and Ruth established the Children’s Bookshop, in August 1992, moving three times in the Kilbirnie mall from the original 20m2 bookshop to the current 200m2 premises.

From 2003 to 2009 John served on the Board of Booksellers NZ where he established a reputation as a passionate and engaged bookseller.  He continued to be a strong supporter of the book trade following his service on the board, and his advice was especially sought after by new bookshop owners.  Lincoln Gould, CEO of Booksellers NZ notes,

‘John organised many trade functions – especially Christmas parties – and he was always very helpful with advice and encouragement to me and the staff here. John didn’t smile a lot and sometimes he even called himself a curmudgeon, but actually he was very kind and generous.

John was twice a judge of the NZ Post Children's Book Awards ( in 1998 and  convener in 1999) and also in 1999 became a regular fortnightly contributor on National Radio on Nine to Noon, talking about and reviewing children's books. He continued this until only three weeks ago, and his final interview with Kathryn Ryan can be found here.

With a background in primary school teaching as well as sales within the wholesale stationery business, John’s understanding of the children’s book retail industry was well-founded. He also deeply believed in the importance of reading for children, and extended this passion to many fields beyond  his beloved bookshop.

John McIntyre had a huge heart and business acumen to match. Booksellers NZ will miss him deeply.


John McIntyre will be farewelled at Old St Paul’s, Thorndon, Wellington, from 1pm on Friday, 16 June. All are welcome to attend. The family requests that donations be made to Kidney Health NZ in lieu of flowers. 

We encourage all booksellers and members of the book trade to forward messages about John’s work to Anna Applin, from Archetype, who is coordinating these messages in advance of the funeral on Friday. Her email is Anna Applin There is also a public tribute page here, and the email for The Childrens Bookshop is