Wednesday, August 27, 2014

"The Auckland Book" launched in style and with great gusto

The Auckland Book was launched at a jam-packed Timeout Bookstore in Mt Eden on Monday night and The Bookman was fortunate enough to be present..

TV presenter and Book Awards judge Miriama Kamo, perched atop a sofa,  applauded the book's original approach - a rich mix of information and illustration - that shed light on many different facets of Auckland life from the swampy origins of Eden park to the original name of Ponsonby - Dedwood. 

Publisher Mike Fitzsimons (above right)  outlined the project's non-traditional publishing model - a fully funded team of ten working away for 18 months and then relying on the quality of the product  and the enthusiasm of grass roots, community supporters to earn back its cash. Sales of two previous books, the Wellington Book and The New Zealand Book had now exceeded 11,000 on the strength of word of mouth alone.  Fitzsimons said the success of Fitzbeck's last two books had defied the old joke about publishing - what did the man who won Lotto do with his winnings? He got into publishing until the money was all gone. These books showed commercial success was still possible at a time when some were departing the industry. 

Co-publisher Nigel Beckford (above left) extolled the virtues of collaboration as an essential prerequisite to achieving genuinely creative results in publishing.  He and Fitzsimons worked with seven illustrators and a researcher to create The Auckland Book over nearly two years. He said it was vital for publishers to keep nurturing fresh talent and provide genuine paid creative opportunities for a new creative generation so that traditional thinking and approaches were challenged. 

Speeches done, the assembled then sampled the hospitality of hosts Wendy and Jenna, while the distinctive green covered Auckland book was snaffled up downstairs. 

FitzBeck are now collaborating with a wide range of Auckland organisations to get the book into the hands of visitors and locals. 

Four of the seven illustrators of the book were at the launch - Sarah Ryan,  Ivy Niu, Alisha Brunton, Ezra Whittaker-Powley

The Bookman reckons every Aucklander should own a copy of this book, it so wonderfully captures the spirit of our city. I have bought a further six copies to send to ex-pat Auckland family & friends who no longer have the joy of living in this great city.

Nigel with Timeout Bookstore manager Jenna Todd who hosted the event.

The very fine Timeout Bookstore, home of many a fine book launch, is at 432 Mt Eden Rd, Mt Eden, Auckland 1024. I warmly recommend a visit.

My earlier review of the book can be read here.

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