Walking in to Readaway Books is an assault on the senses Howickians have coveted for 50 years.
WELL READ: Margaret Clark, left and Barbara Rosie of Readaway Books in Howick celebrate 50 years in business this week.
This week Readaway celebrates its 50th year in business, still fiercely independent and still run by the family, which started all those years ago.
Today it’s in the hands of Barbara Rosie, who started at the store in 1985 working with her aunt, Margaret Clark.
“It’s hard to believe it’s been 50 years,” says Margaret, who still pops in to lend a hand now and then.
The story began in 1957 when Margaret and her parents came to live in Howick and bought the Readaway Book Club from Bob Williamson.
At the time it was sited further up Picton St, where Taking Shape is currently located, and operated mainly as a lending library with a small range of stationery.
Two years later they secured a much sought after magazine agency and then with growing popularity of television and the public library moving in to Fencible Dr, it decided to cut back on lending books and concentrate on magazines.
All these years on magazines are still one of its core businesses with an extensive range of New Zealand and international titles and on a host of different niche subjects.
“It’s been said we have one of the largest range of magazines in south Auckland and it is these, and children’s books, that we have become known for over the years,” says Barbara.
In 1985, when Margaret’s father died, the family relocated to its current site in Picton St (next to ASB Bank), a much larger space.
It was a natural progression for Barbara to move in to the business, her love of books fostered during nine years at the University of Auckland library, working at James Thin Booksellers in Edinburgh and was a rep for Penguin Books for six years.
Readaway have a loyal local following and it has always returned the offer by supporting local authors through stocking and promoting their books.
“Howick and surrounding areas is a bit of a hot bed for authors and we’ve always been keen to support them,” says Barbara.
“In recent years we’ve had books by Jennifer Beck, Lindy Fisher, John Roy and earlier on Sir Patrick Eidsell.”
“This is a family business and our customers are just like part of our family,” says Barbara.In an age where large format chain bookstores have become jacks of all trades, Readaway Books survives doing what it does best and understanding what its customers wants.