When a small bookshop in Cuba Street became available in 1988, accountant Robert Burch “took the plunge”, and launched his new career He changed the name to Arty Bee’s Bookshop and six months later purchased a second shop in Cambridge Terrace. Both shops have relocated several times over the last 22 years, in each case to larger or better locations.
After Unity Books Wellington’s unfortunate flood earlier this month, booksellers will now be taking extra care when their insurance comes up for renewal in March. So put yourself in their place, think ‘what if it happened to my store’ and carefully review your cover.
Floods, fire and theft are not the only issues book businesses might have to face. Would your business be more profitable if it changed premises for a smaller or larger space? If you negotiated a better lease deal? Or took on the expense of another location? These are not easy decisions, but ones that might have to be taken to ensure the continued success of your store.
Jenna Todd told TV3 that Time Out Books was up 7.5 percent for the year, and 12 percent over Christmas, their ‘best ever’; Unity Wellington’s Tilly Lloyd ‘broke all sales records’ for the December month, reported Lindsay Shelton at Scoop. Milford’s The Booklover was up 12 percent for Christmas and Dear Reader in Grey Lynn up 9 percent.
“Storage! It is a problem I deal with day by day at this time of year,” says Simon Grant. “This year it feels like much of the stock has all arrived in a two week period.”
But that is just one of the Christmas stock issues the Paper Plus Merivale owner is currently facing. “Every day at this time of year I look at the volume coming in and think ‘holey moley, what have I done?’ Delivery seems to have been early this year – too early for some stock I think.”
Something of a destination bookshop – except for those who live on Auckland’s Point Chevalier – the Pt Chev Bookshop and Resource Room is small but book-filled, with a good selection of adult and children’s books, plus their extensive Languages and ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) specialist section and a range of other textbooks for various school subjects.
The advent of the ‘think global – buy local’ mindset has seen a lot of communities becoming aware of supporting their bookshops. For school libraries, the trend is to buy locally if the bookstore in question has a good range of the children’s, young adult and non-fiction resource titles needed for their shelves. (Pictured: Children's Bookshop Kilbirnie's fantastic range)
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.