Friday, January 27, 2012

Leading New Zealand Bookseller closing down

From the Parsons Bookshop Auckland Newsletter January/February 2012

After 36 years of much fun and satisfaction selling books in Auckland and throughout New Zealand, Roger is retiring and Helen is morphing.  
Roger says:
There are a number of mountains for me still to climb so I am off to Slovenia and Austria later in the year. Helen will run Parsons Library Supply from “The Alpine Hut” at home.
We have been unable to find someone to take over the shop. 
So.... we now offer you the opportunity to obtain all those books you always wanted - at HALF-PRICE
From 10am Saturday 28 January all existing stock is 50% discount.  
We wish to thank you for all your support over many years.  
Roger Parsons. 
Please use any vouchers you may have.

A Little Parsons History: 
Our New Zealand-wide business (50% mail order) has grown with the increasing interest and knowledge of New Zealand Art.  
When Helen and I studied at Victoria University in the 1960's it was not possible to study Art History.  Now the art world is a part of many kiwi lives.  Our business was built on this interest.  
Helen and I returned from overseas in 1975.  I wished to move out of the diplomatic service - bookselling was a logical choice.  Helen, as a young Mum had read every New Zealand book published in the Karori Library.  My father, Roy Parsons, had the bookselling knowledge ( and the capital!).  I had the passion to run our own business.
We started in large airy premises at the back of the National Insurance Building in Victoria Street in Auckland
In the same year London Bookshop and the Book Corner came to Central Auckland.  An article in the NZ Herald at the time questioned who would survive - we know the answer 36 years later. 
From 1980 we also ran the Art Gallery Bookshop and Exhibition Shops in the Auckland Art Gallery.  
In 1995 we moved in our current architecturally designed premises in New Gallery building. 
The success of Parsons Bookshop Auckland has been very much the product of widespread support from our customers and from our well qualified and dedicated staff.  
Bookselling has been our passion, our business and our livelihood.  We have been very fortunate.  And, somehow, Helen and I have succeeded in maintaining our personal and business partnership over all these years.

And from Helen:  
At the end of last year we had builders around our home.  One job was the refurbishing of our garden shed.  It's now lined with plywood and fully wired and fit to live in. 
And I'd been making noises about possibly doing 'order to order' library supply.
And suddenly it all fell into place over the last few days.  Suddenly these two things literally came together......
From April 2012 I will work from home.  I will morph into Parsons Library Supply.  I will work from our garden shed, which we call ‘The Alpine Hut'. Photo below shows view from The Alpine Hut.
I will essentially do special orders for difficult to find titles - NZ, Maori & Pacific.  I love sourcing those difficult titles.  And I will continue supplying all NZ titles that I can find, to certain customers. 
We do have standing orders for customers in place which can be carried on.  I will also continue to send out lists of titles.
Roger says he will do the packing and write the cheques.  It all sounds good fun.  We're getting instant great responses from all our customers.
I also wish to thank our very dedicated and loyal staff. They have worked so hard for us; always with good grace and humour. Very special thanks to you all.
So....with kind regards.....
PS This of course has no effect on Parsons Wellington which is owned and operated by Roger's siblings Julian and Beatrice

Parsons Bookshop Auckland
26 Wellesley Street East
Auckland 1010
New Zealand
Ph +64 9 303 1557

Footnote:The Bookman is feeling a little stunned by this news and I will write more about it during the next week.
At this stage .I will just wish Roger & Helen all the very best for the next stage of their lives and thank them most warmly for providing us  with one of the best specialist art bookshops anywhere in the world and one of NZ's finest independent bookstores. We will miss you.


Anonymous said...

Helen and Roger have done such terrific service for those of us who love art books and NZ books. In my view they have always stocked the best selection of NZ poetry you can find in this country, from the main presses to the grassroot presses to the handmade books. I have launched most of my poetry books at Parsons. So a huge toast to your years of dedicated work.
But other aspects of the world beckon so I do hope you have great fun doing the things you have lined up next.

Best wishes and a million thanks Paula Green

Chris Else said...

Very sad to see the bookshop go. All the best to Roger and Helen, though.

Margaret & Paul Wadsworth said...

Sorry to hear that you have decided to close down your bookshop since you have been unable to find a buyer for the business.

there is life after books as we have found out. We run a B7B in New Plymouth and this allows us to have contact with the public. Also we find time to continue our travel away from New Plymouth each year.

Enjoy your life after the book business.
Margaret & Paul Wadsworth
New Plymouth

transpress nz said...

It's a shame to see an up-market bookshop close; hopefully that doesn't imply there is today no place for them.

Brian Phillips said...

Very sad to see the closure of this wonderful bookshop. What a great pair of booksellers they have been. When I saw the paltry book selection in the new Art Gallery I thought perhaps they[the Gallery] would have the sense to buy the bookshop themselves but this is obviously not to be. Our major institutions need to be selling a decent range of relevant books - witness Te Papa and the Cristchurch Art Gallery shop as examples of just two who do it really well..