Monday, October 13, 2008

This splendid tome, (reviewed by me on this blog and in the Sunday Star times yesterday), or at least the action of its publishers seems to have made independent booksellers in the area rather unhappy.

It is reported that Random House, usually the booksellers' favourite publisher, has been along Ponsonby Road offering the title to non-bookselling retailers at trade terms with the suggestion they then re-sell the book to their clients.
I can imagine that Carole Beu, owner of the excellent Women's Bookshop in Ponsonby Road, will be especially upset over Random House's actions as she has a splendid window display devoted entirely to URBAN VILLAGE featuring a marvellous selection of old original photographs.

The problem is that good independent booksellers are an endangered species worldwide, struggling to make ends meet with the huge financial commitment needed for a large and wide-ranging stock while operating on margins that are much lower than those enjoyed by other retail groups. So when a book comes along that has special promotional opportunities for independent booksellers in a particular community then it is galling and acutely disappointing for them to have part of their market taken away and given to others who have no commitment at all to books.
New Zealanders like buying books from bookshops so I hope the good burghers of Ponsonby will head along to the Womens Bookshop, Dear Reader or Novel rather than buying this wonderful local history from a fashion store or dairy!


Paul Reynolds said...

Greatpost - but it does once again remind us of the need for the independent bookshops to develop some colloboration strategies.

For example - build themsleves a joint kicker online property wihch would not only sell books but promote reading - writing - reviewing et al.
or resuurect that wonderful strap line from Murray Gray of Going West Fame, and the late Adrienne Jarvis ,
Beyond the Blurb,

Anonymous said...

I can understand the booksellers' anguish, but also a too-keen marketing person jumping the gun without thinking of the ramifications. Would have been better to wait till the book has its "first life" in actual bookstores before going to the Bhana Bros and Glengarrys.