Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Year end message from PANZ President Kevin Chapman

I’d be the first to acknowledge that this year has not been anything to ho, ho ho about. We have experienced deep lows, but also some good highs.
The lowest of the lows of course has been the disaster of the February Christchurch earthquake, which hit the industry as well as the obvious impact it had on the community at large.
For publishing, it was the REDgroup failure, seismic in size and with big losses to New Zealand publishers.
But on the up side of the scale, there was the very successful NZ Book Month, which kicked off a new style of promotion. This was happily embraced by Kiwis buying numbers of books as a result of the voucher savings offered. Considering the timing of this promotion, we should be proud of the success of this event.
We should also be pleased not only that Whitcoulls has risen from the REDgroup ashes, but that so many of our booksellers have creatively and confidently continued to service their market and win over consumers.
The Frankfurt Guest of Honour for 2012 was another positive, as it will open up trade in New Zealand books, authors and culture on the European market next year. We look well prepared to make the most of this invaluable opportunity.
Overlying everything in the industry this year has been the continued impact of technological change and the migration in progress from print to digital. This new way of delivering content to the market has taken off at different points and speed, depending on whether you are an educational publisher, a professional publisher, or a trade publisher, but taken off it has and while change is unsettling, it is also exciting.
What is really uplifting at the end of this year is to see so many people out buying books, stores crowded, and tills ringing. As publishers we continue to deliver to the public books that satisfy needs, and that public is finding those books.
To all PANZ members, associates and to all the book trade, may you have a Merry Christmas and see the New Year in with happiness. And with a good book, of course!

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