Louise Ward is co-owner with her husband Gareth of Wardini Books. Wardini Books has an online store, operated by Circlesoft. Her strengths are creating community, reviewing and customer service. They have one store in Havelock North, and one in Napier. They see book reps regularly from the major publishers.
1. Why do you love being a bookseller?
Mainly because you get to read so much, then refine what you think into something communicable to other people. Access to so much reading material on all sorts of subjects, and the opportunity to talk about it because it’s your job and you are required to have an opinion, is invigorating.
2. Tell us about your store and its clientele.
We deliberately cultivate an environment in which people are invited to feel that it is their space. We want our customers to feel comfortable, whether they want to talk about their reading or just spend as long as they want browsing. We get lots of families coming in and have seen small children grow into bigger ones, maintaining their relationship with us and with their reading as they grow. Napier seems to have a slightly more serious, literary and political readership.
3. Which Booksellers NZ membership benefits do you use?
We bank with Westpac and get our electricity with Meridian.
4. What three aspects of bookselling do you consider your strengths?
Creating community – we get into schools, present at assemblies, offer writing competitions and sponsor things. We have 3 grown up book clubs, 1 fantasy sci-fi grown up book club and 8 children’s book clubs between the two shops. We are often asked to host or present at other people’s book clubs too.
Reviewing – customers appreciate our in store reviews and comment on when they have seen or heard reviews of ours elsewhere. They are proud to hear ‘Wardini Books’ mentioned on National radio.
Customer service – recommending, offering alternatives, trying to track down books, delivering books to people in the community who aren’t able to get in to town.
5. Do you have an event calendar for the year? If so, how has that been beneficial for sales and business in general?
There are a few things that we do regularly and customers come to know and look forward to them. We do a lot of author events, most of which pop up a month or two out from the visit. It’s beneficial for sales in that yes you get people to come to events and buy books whilst there but you are again creating a community that people want to be a part of.
6. Do you collaborate with other stores – locally or nationally – for promotions or best practise behaviours?
Only through chats with other members of Booksellers NZ on the Facebook page and website. It isn't quite collaboration.
7. What is your underlying philosophy when running your store?
Be kind to your customers and be as helpful and honest as you can when trying to put the right book into a reader’s hand.