And it’s Christmas time for all! 

Bookshops will cap a year of good cheer for our trade; from new bookshops opening, higher attendances at conference and the annual trade day, plus Bookshop Day, an upsurge in the use and effectiveness of Booksellers NZ’s and bookshops’ own social media, and other marketing tools,  to power book sales across the country.

'And of course we have seen the successful end of the eight-year effort  to persuade the government to provide a level playing field requiring offshore online retailers to collect GST on sales into New Zealand,' said BSNZ CEO, Lincoln Gould.

'The legislation is in The House, and we will be submitting our support for it at a select committee hearing in the New Year, with 1 October 2019 as the start date for compliance by offshore retailers.'

Lincoln Gould and Revenue Minister Stuart Nash at the announcement at Unity Books in May 2018
Lincoln Gould and Revenue Minister Stuart Nash at the announcement at Unity Books in May 2018

We welcomed Petronella Books in Lake Tekapo, online booksellers Five Dogs Books, Onehunga Books & Stationary in Onehunga and Another Chapter in Newtown, Wellington as new independent bookstore members this year. We also welcomed back Paradox Books, in Devonport, with new owner Terrie Gray. We also welcomed 11 publishers to take advantage of our associate membership. 

One of our first acts this year was to update the look of our NZ Book Tokens, and while we’ve had some dubious looks from some members, we’re happy with the response from the public to these. We’ve also done a few targeted promotional campaigns around the Book Tokens this year, ending with our Love your Book Tokens campaign, which saw us give around $7000 to members, to support them with creating a digital promotion, and help them with their end of year morning tea. 

In other new initiatives, we negotiated new member deals from MediaR, Meridian Energy and Office Max

Membership & Marketing Manager June Murugan says, ‘MediaR is a new partner this year, and members can contact Kate Mitchell to do all your media planning, book your advertisements, design logos and promotional collateral.’ MediaR also provided sponsorship for the NZ Book industry Awards and conference this year. 

We are very happy to have Meridian Energy have on board to provide members a discount and savings on your electricity bill. Murugan adds, 'Delegates attending the Trade Day at conference would have met Nick Redmond, and you can contact him on Nicholas.Redmond@MeridianEnergy.co.nz.'

Finally, Office Max have just offered our members a selected range of products at a special rates. Email your enquiry to booksellersnz@officemax.co.nz and you will receive a quote. 

We also renegotiated terms with Courier Post NZ, and there is a new offer for bookshop members to consider from them here.  

Bookshop Day & Conference
Our bookshops got involved with inventing taglines again for NZ Bookshop Day. The two we used were ‘Love your Brain, Read Books’ and ‘It’s not hoarding if it’s books.’ The first in particular, was used as a springboard for Wardini Books’ brain-painting competition promoted on NZ Bookshop Day. The Bestsellers of the Decade competition also ran for NZ Bookshop Day, and we thank our booksellers and publishers for their support of this promotion, which saw over 1775 votes from the public. 

brains at Wardini Books
Brains in the window at Wardini's Books

The Summer Reading Guide was distributed just prior to NZ Bookshop Day, and the 22 members who took advantage of this guide also used this day as a springboard to begin getting the Guide out there. 

Our conference, featuring speakers from Scotland and Australia, was one of the most popular in recent years, attracting more than 80 delegates, as well as over 30 publishers and vendors at Trade Day. The Book Industry Awards were also over-subscribed, with some quick thinking from the team being necessary towards the end of the booking period! We had more entries in most categories of these awards than in previous years, which is fabulous. 

Tilly and Shaun Bythell
Tilly Lloyd and Shaun Bythell at conference

At the awards, we also announced the booksellers who are attending the Winter Institute in Albuquerque this year, which is now sponsored by Booksellers NZ. Congratulations to Ruth Bruhin from Poppies New Plymouth, and Pene Whitty from UBS Canterbury, both of whom are heading there in mid-January. Our Chair, Juliet Blyth is also attending supported by Vic Books and Booksellers NZ.  Juliet will be engaged with the American, Australian and UK Booksellers Assn in discussions of key issues, including efforts to counter the behemoths of Amazon and the Book Depository. 

We also noticed a rise in the uptake of our sturdy Eat Sleep Read paper carrier bags in 2018. These bags will soon have new branding, reflecting the 2018 NZ Bookshop Day key message of ‘Love Books Shop Local’. You can order your box of 250 here, and the delivery will be despatched on order to you. 

Communications Manager Sarah Forster has been making noise about Book Depository in various spaces recently, and says, ‘The message seems to be getting through. There will always be people for whom price trumps experience, but my opinion is that the true booklover (and the dedicated reader) will be drawn to bookshops no matter what.’ Thank you to our members for support in spreading this word

publishers picks
Some publishers' picks for Christmas

We’ve also been part of the NZ Book Council’s #readnz programme this year, promoting our local books: these are the books that you can sell uniquely. Keep an eye on your local authors’ outputs & keep hosting those launches! And keep giving your customers good reasons to shop local this summer.

Finally, it’s a goodbye from Eamonn Marra, and a hello to Tiffany Matsis, who will be in Eamonn’s tokens administration role from mid-January next year. Tiffany currently works part-time at The Children’s Bookshop in Kilbirnie, and we are excited to have her on board. 

Mere Kihirimete to our members from all at Booksellers NZ,

Nga mihi nui, 

Lincoln Gould, Sarah Forster, June Murugan and Eamonn Marra