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Storytelling and bookshop love for NZ Bookshop Day

Storytelling is the heart and soul of NZ Bookshop Day for 2017, with bookshops nationwide getting in authors and storytellers and dressing up wild to celebrate on Saturday 28 October.

Bookshop Day is the perfect opportunity to start the hype for Christmas titles. Time Out Bookstore is getting behind Gecko Press’ Wolfy; Dorothy Butler is celebrating junior fiction hit Nevermoor with an author visit; Storytime in Whangarei is celebrating Dr Seuss books (The Cat in the Hat turns 60 this year!); and Wardini Books in Napier is hosting Donovan Bixley, Mallison Rendal Illustration Award winner and author of sure-fire favourite The Christmas Looky Book.

Love Letters
'Bookshops are gateways to a thousand other worlds, ten thousand imaginations and a million possibilities,’ wrote Marcus Hobson in his winning Love Letter to your Bookshop entry last year. This love letter won Books A Plenty in Tauranga $1000 off their Nielsen Database subscription for 2017, and Marcus himself won $500 in Book Tokens.

Over 500 entries in last years’ competition saw us keen to run this again, and our great new POS style hopefully catches your customer’s eye. When you have a few in, please do send them up to us at Booksellers NZ in Wellington. All entries will need to be received by Monday 6 November to be eligible for the final judging.

We also invited NZ authors to submit love letters to their own bookshops. Many of these are being used in media coverage, in the NZ Herald, and in Your Weekend.

We had several letters to The Women’s Bookshop, with this fantastic one from Dame Fiona Kidman:
‘You emerged out of the time of great upheavals and change in women’s lives, the times when we took to the streets to protest inequality, the times when we demanded freedom to express ourselves with out censorship, the times when we came together with a common voice. Those were stirring times.

‘But the dreams we had for the future survive. In The Women’s Bookshop, our voices live.’

Unity Books in Wellington also attracted several love letters, with Elspeth Sandys saying, ‘Walking in through your doors is like arriving at an oasis after slogging through a desert of traffic and noise and gale-strength winds!’
University Bookshop Canterbury inspired Dr. Hilary Low to talk about her nephews’ impressions of the range: ‘When they walked through the bookshop door they thought they'd arrived in paradise. Here were books – beautiful new books, from floor to ceiling on every subject imaginable. The measure of how much they'd enjoyed themselves came next morning.  When their parents asked for suggestions for a family excursion, the response was, "Can we go back to the bookshop?"’

Markers of success
Nielsen figures show that book sales are on the rise. This year the growth is being driven by factors that aren’t flashes-in-the-pan: the essential place of the bookshop as centre of the community, and the loyalty of bookshop lovers.

In the past two months, we have seen first The Children’s Bookshop in Kilbirnie celebrate 25 years in business; then Unity Books in Wellington celebrate 50 years. The Paper Plus chain celebrated 34 years earlier this year. On Bookshop Day itself, Hedley’s Booksellers in Masterton is celebrating 110 years with 11% off books.

This longevity speaks volumes as bookshops look nervously towards Australia, where Amazon is setting up shop. We are telling everybody that it is more important than ever to remember what you love about your local bookshop, and why it is you need it in your life.
Event Highlights

There are dozens of events lined up for the Day, including these highlights.

In Auckland, Time Out Bookstore in Mt Eden hosts Howl-o-ween – dress-ups for humans, and bring your pup instore for a ‘doggy bag’ of goodies. Dorothy Butler Children’s Bookshop in Ponsonby has two fabulous author events: meet Nevermoor author Jessica Townsend at 11.00am, and Kat Merewether is launching her new Kuwi books from 2.00pm. Down the road at The Women’s Bookshop, they have enough spot prizes to give one out every 10 minutes – and the two Ponsonby bookshops are working together – visit both and get a free picture book.

In Rotorua, McLeod’s Booksellers is taking children on a treasure hunt, and Tom Moffatt is coming in to do some storytelling in the morning. In Napier, Wardini Books will host children’s author Donovan Bixley, who is live-drawing from 11.30am. They will also host Charity Norman in the afternoon. In Masterton, Hedley’s is hosting a ‘book meet’ at 3.30pm; while Paper Plus Masterton is having book character dress-ups and storytelling.

In Wellington, Vic Books is the place to be at 11am. Their shop will become a children’s theatre, with fairy tales and storytelling, and even singing with Kapitall Kids Theatre. The Children’s Bookshop in Kilbirnie is hosting storytelling too, featuring Sacha Cotter, Ruth Paul and Josh Morgan. They will also launch Suzanne Main’s How Not to Stop a Kidnap Plot that evening.

Volume Books in Nelson (pictured below) will be ‘Reading the Booker’ from 2pm, then launching Casual Shorts from 2.45pm, followed by their draw of ‘Bookstore Bingo’. And Page & Blackmore will be leading guided tours of their bookshop, and running a lucky-dip box for the kids. Scorpio Bookshop in Christchurch hosts The Ngaio Marsh Awards and The Great Lit Quiz, at Scorpio Bookshop in Christchurch. The awards start at 5.30pm. Put together a team of book-enthusiasts for a quiz of crime novels and other genres! Cost is $80 for a table of 5.

In Dunedin, Otago University Bookshop has turned pirate and locked up some authors! Get your little ones into pirate disguise and find pirate cupcakes, gold doubloons and more this NZ Bookshop Day.   

As well as events, you will find discounts and book deals in your local bookshops. While Paper Plus has 25% off all books for the day, many indies have hand-picked their specials. Scorpio Bookshop in Christchurch for instance, will be selling their favourite HarperCollins books for only $10 each to celebrate 200 years of HC.

As poet Jeffrey Holman says in his love letter: ‘Should I lay down my iPhone and repent, turn again to the halls of print and hold a book like a talisman once more, a reminder of how truths on paper have set me free: truths of the imagination, of science, of faith? Visit my local bookshop while it still remains and buy New Zealand made? Yes, I think so.’