Forty years ago, then 25-year-old Rob Clarke had a fateful phone call from his mother, asking him if he’d like to run a bookshop in Paraparaumu. Tonight, he and his wife Kaye have been jointly awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2019 Book Trade Industry Awards, announced at the Rydges Hotel in Auckland.

The store is now Paper Plus Coastlands, and as well as having two other stores at one time, they have moved six times within the mall in Paraparaumu to bigger premises, saying the key to their growth is ‘knowing your community…’. Rob Clarke was a director for Paper Plus for 15 years and for Booksellers NZ for four years, as well as being on the Book Month Board.

Booksellers NZ Chair Juliet Blyth says, “Kaye and Rob Clarke were in the business of ‘community bookselling’ way before it became a slogan. The changes and challenges in the bookselling landscape in the years that Kaye and Rob have been in business would cause many to falter. That Kaye and Rob have weathered these storms is testament to their innate understanding of the needs of their customers, their business nous and obvious passion for what they do.”

Kaye and Rob Clarke, Paper Plus Coastlands

Book Trade Awards judges NZ Arts Council Chair Michael Moynahan, librarian Simie Simpson, and Australian Booksellers Association CEO Robbie Egan, said of the bookshops and booksellers nominated: “It is heart-warming to see so many great bookshops in Aotearoa and we know that a good bookshop is not just a physical building, it is created by the heart and drive of fabulous staff.”

Nielsen New Zealand Bookseller of the Year went to Unity Books Auckland, who had a baby last year in the form of dedicated children’s bookshop, little unity. Egan said,“Well-known and loved for their fabulous curation and personal style… they do all the right things in the digital space, but their commitment to the physical world is their absolute strength, from their service to their community engagement.”

Unity Books Auckland

The winner of Nielsen New Zealand Publisher of the Year is also the biggest publisher in the New Zealand industry, Penguin Random House NZ.

Egan said “They impressed the judges with the quantity and quality of their New Zealand publishing, their commitment to te reo Māori publishing, their award-winning authors and the launch of 17 debut authors. Their customers noted their timely deliveries, great communication and even their charm and personality!”

The Book Industry Awards also celebrated some inspiring younger members of both the Bookselling and Publishing industries. Surinam Reddy from Time Out Bookstore received Young Bookseller of the Year, for her initiative and drive and “exemplary interpersonal skills.” And Young Publisher of the Year went to Kimberley Davis, from Allen & Unwin NZ, “an impressive young publisher” who instinctively creates books that compete in a competitive marketplace.

“If booksellers and publishers were a cake,” said judge Simie Simpson, “sales reps would be the gooey filling in the middle.” The winner of Sales Rep of the Year 2019 is Louise Crisp from Penguin Random House NZ. Simpson adds, “Her experience working in bookshops has given her a broad perspective of the life-cycle of a book, and her positivity stands out.”

The Marketing and Publicity Strategy of the Year goes to Allen and Unwin New Zealand for their campaign on Magnolia Kitchen, by Bernadette Gee. Moynahan said, “The winner of this award showed how innovation and strategic thinking can create incredible results. This was a creative and targeted campaign that was well-planned and executed.”

For the first year ever, a Book Festival has won the Book Industry Innovation Award: WORD Christchurch Festival. Simpson said, “What struck the judges the most about the winner of this award was the incredible diversity they have packed into the programme.” WORD Festival takes on all forms of writing, all age groups, all genders and genres. “It is a spectacular amalgam of the world of words, writing and humanity.”

A full list of the winners:

  • Nielsen Bookshop of the Year – Unity Books Auckland
  • Nielsen Publisher of the Year – Penguin Random House NZ
  • Sales Rep of the Year – Louise Crisp, South Island Rep, Penguin Random House NZ
  • Marketing and Publicity Strategy of the Year – Allen & Unwin NZ, for Magnolia Kitchen
  • Young Publisher of the Year – Kimberley Davis, Allen & Unwin NZ
  • Young Bookseller of the Year – Surinam Reddy
  • Book Industry Innovation Award – WORD Christchurch
  • Lifetime Achievement Award – Rob and Kaye Clarke, Paper Plus Coastlands


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