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Penguin Random House NZ: One name, one team

By Featured Members

Penguin Random House

Penguin Random House New Zealand Managing Director, Margaret Thompson

Check the timeline: in October 2012 Pearson and Bertelsmann announce the merger of their respective trade publishing companies, Penguin and Random House, causing shock waves in international publishing with two of the world’s biggest publishing houses uniting.

It takes a while for changes to impact down under, but in August 2014 Penguin New Zealand and Random House New Zealand begin the process of fully integrating as Penguin Random House New Zealand. Teams came together under one roof in January this year and the Random House warehouse was closed in April.

Sixteen months on, Penguin Random House is not only fully merged, it is enjoying the benefits of being one business Staff are enjoying being together in the former Pearson offices in Apollo Drive in Auckland which is a modern space providing a lovely working environment.

Publishing – sprints to the finish for a large list

Debra Millar

Publishing Director, Debra Millar

Debra Millar says her publishing team “Rolled up their sleeves and got stuck in,” from early January. “We had a tight time frame with having to get s many books to the printers by June. And it was a big list – close to 90 titles for the year. But everyone coped really well.

“It was also great that when we brought the two companies’ 2015 lists together there were no overlaps.”

And no downsizing either as Margaret Thompson explains “When we merged we simply progressed with publishing those titles that each company had acquired for their individual lists. So there was no reduction in titles for 2015”.

The combined publishing team now has more dedicated resources, with a fiction publisher, Harriet Allan, and a children’s publisher, Catherine O’Loughlin, notes Debra. ”Fresh eyes and perspectives have also identified new opportunities.”

Super sales reps

Carrie Welch

Carrie Welch, Sales Director

Carrie Welch, Sales Director, says her team of seven reps – Marthie Markstein, Paula Pengelly, Trish Harvey, Jan Riley, Keith Bitchener, Louise Crisp and Candice Poissonnier headed by field sales manager Phil Hosking – each cover the company’s entire local and overseas lists. “We have one Random House list and one Penguin list per month. The reps really hit their stride as soon as we came together. They now visit most accounts twice each month, which booksellers tell us they appreciate.” With between 150 – 250 titles on each of the two lists for retailers to assess it is a prudent strategy!

“The cycle was set up to ensure, given the size of our combined lists, that we continued to do justice to two very good lists, but more importantly that we weren’t overwhelming booksellers and our own teams with a huge number of new titles at any one time,” Carrie says.

In addition to the company’s best-selling front list titles, the combined back lists are perennial performers. There is also a dedicated focus on bespoke publishing opportunities for corporates and retail partners.

Twelve months on staff slide effortlessly and knowledgeably between Penguin and Random House imprints, and other Penguin Random House businesses around the world are looking to the way the New Zealand teams have come together. “I think everyone feels very comfortable now,” says Margaret Thompson. “There have obviously been a lot of challenges, but at the end of the day everybody here shares a passion for books and publishing and that underpins what every person does every day.”

NZCER Press: Research, resources and active publishing

By Featured Members
NZCER Chief Executive Graeme Cosslett

NZCER Chief Executive Graeme Cosslett

Hard to believe, but the New Zealand Council for Educational Research has been part of making this country a hot house of pedagogical expertise for eight decades. Set up with the help of a Carnegie grant in 1934, today it has around 65 staff and divisions working in research over various educational areas and communicating their findings via books, journals, tests and reports which are available as online and downloadable resources.

NZCER is no ‘dreaming spires’ of academia but more a productive educational research and publishing facility with fast paced work and a productive output. They need to achieve this and be competitive in the research market, as only around 14 percent of their funding comes from a government grant.

Other revenue comes from sales of tests to schools of the well-known Progressive Achievement Tests (PATs), plus STAR reading tests, and a Science test. They have also been successful in securing funding from contestable grants.

As well as NZCER’s longevity, it is a matter of pride for the organisation that they have what Chief Executive Graeme Cosslett calls “Our own Act of Parliament.” This is the NZCER Act 1972 (replacing earlier Acts) which requires the organisation to carry out and disseminate education research. Graeme was promoted to the top role earlier year after leading a highly successful three year project to make all NZCER tests available to schools online among other responsibilities.

Te Wāhanga is the Māori research unit within NZCER, supporting transformative Māori educational thinking, committed to making a positive difference to education outcomes for Māori and providing resources in te reo.


Publishing shows growth

David Ellis, NZCER publishing manager

David Ellis, NZCER publishing manager

David Ellis, NZCER Publishing Manager, says his department has excelled in production over the past year with print books showing 40 percent increase in revenue last year over the year before.

“Our international book sales are increasing through using Lightning Source’s print-on-demand service, which allows our titles to be sold through online retailers including The Book Depository and Amazon,” David says. “But e-books still make up only a tiny share of our revenue.” David switched from legal to educational publishing five years ago, and has found the change rewarding!

NZCER Publishing is a lean team, just David and award winning Senior Editor John Huria. Publishing brings in profit, but that is not the only motive: they sometimes do work which they believe adds value to the education publishing output, but not necessarily profit.

Once a book is written, design, layout, proof reading and production are undertaken by contractors. David says they also print locally as a matter of principle.

John Huria, Senior Editor, NZCER Press

John Huria, Senior Editor, NZCER Press

The publishing team is delighted to have three finalist titles in the CLNZ Educational Awards to be announced in November – Ka hoki tāua ki te whare huri ai ē! by Agnes McFarland for Best Resource in Te Reo Māori is one, and two in Best Resource in Higher Education: The New Zealand Dyslexia Handbook, Susan Dymock and Tom Nicholson and Working with Māori children with special education needs: He mahi whakahirahira by Jill Bevan-Brown.

Asked for his favourite titles from NZCER Press list, David nominates The New Zealand Dyslexia Handbook; The discovery of early childhood (2nd ed) by Helen May; History Matters; teaching and learning history in New Zealand secondary schools by Mark Sheehan and Michael Harcourt; In the early world (3rd ed) by Elwyn Richardson (first published 1964) and the Samoan translation of our guide to understanding NCEA, Malamalama i le NCEA by Irena Madjar and Liz McKinley.


Into the future

NZCER publishing expects to produce more online resources. “Spell-Write, a 30 year old staple, is the newly launched online resource for schools,” explains David. He expects to partner with edtech companies to develop more online resources such as Spell-Write Online which was created in partnership with PixelHouse. “We’ve added extra features to an established print title and produced a flexible classroom resource that can be shared with parents and whanau.

“Educational resource material is increasingly available as apps in line with consumer preference,” he notes.

“Our niche at NZCER Press is producing research-based education resources and we’ll continue to focus on this,” David says.


For Christmas?

We know education publishers don’t do Christmas, but NZCER Press has a December release this year, a forthcoming publication David Ellis will greet with enthusiasm: Elwyn Richardson and the early world of creative education in New Zealand by Margaret MacDonald. As a gift, perhaps best given to primary teachers?

Victoria University Press: business as usual

By Featured Members
VUP Publisher Fergus Barrowman, left, at the launch of Moments of Truth: The New Zealand General Election of 2014, with editors Stephen Levine and Jon Johansson.

VUP Publisher Fergus Barrowman, left, at the launch of Moments of Truth: The New Zealand General Election of 2014, with editors Stephen Levine and Jon Johansson.

The carnival that was Eleanor Catton’s international success for The Luminaries is over for Victoria University Press. They are back to business as a thriving small press with a defined place in the Kiwi publishing world, says Fergus Barrowman. Two years from its Man Booker Prize win The Luminaries is now ‘a strong backlist title’ for VUP.

“It was an astonishing phenomenon to be part of,” Fergus says. “VUP has known previous extraordinary success with The Vintner’s Luck, but the furnace fuelled quickly after the The Luminaries Booker Prize win, and it seems that big is bigger these days.”

Eleanor is writing, but also representing her novel around the world at writers’ festivals and other engagements, and contributing to an adaptation of The Luminaries for international television distribution, so it is too soon to speculate about a next book.

It would seem that Fergus and his VUP colleagues Craig Gamble, Ashleigh Young, Kirsten McDougall and Kyleigh Hodgson – ‘3.7 fulltime equivalents’ in university speak – are back in regular work, publishing the kinds of titles that fit their vision.

half darkPoetry is important for VUP with recent releases including Vincent O’Sullivan’s Being Here: Selected Poems (in hard cover), Half Dark from Harry Ricketts, Wonky Optics, Geoff Cochrane’s fifteenth collection, and Failed Love Poems from Joan Fleming. Dinah Hawken’s Ocean and Stone, illustrated by John Edgar and beautifully produced, was released in September. “Dinah takes her time with a new book, and when you get a new manuscript you know that it has been deeply considered,” Fergus observes.

There are ten poetry titles in VUP’s 2015 catalogue. So how is it that the Press can add to its coffers with poetry, which attracts a niche audience at best? Most poetry titles are printed locally, in runs of three to five hundred, with reprints of as few as 50 to 100 to ensure stock is always available. But VUP believes poetry is important to our culture. Fergus says this links them with other University and smaller NZ presses that publish New Zealand books, even if for small sector audiences, because of their vital contribution to our literary life.

VUP also has the guts and vision to go big on major works, as they did for August release James K Baxter: The Complete Prose edited by John Weir. Four bound volumes with cloth spines are presented as a boxed set, with the bonus of original Nigel Brown paintings for the box. The retail price of $200.00 for the sophisticated presentation has not been a deterrent to bookseller and libraries, and the not-to-be-repeated print run of 1000 is going well. Meanwhlile a second hardback run of Maurice Gee: Life & Work by Rachel Barrowman is underway.

Rights sales for new author

Another successful title is David Coventry’s The Invisible Mile, rights for which have just sold to Picador UK for 2016, with multiple foreign-language rights under negotiation. It is also reprinting for Christmas here. A first novel, it is a powerful re-imagining of the 1928 Tour de France as ridden by a combined Kiwi/Aussie team. Written as if from inside the peloton, the test of endurance for one young New Zealander becomes a psychological journey into the chaos of the war a decade earlier. Fergus says that David is at work on a second novel which will do for rock and roll what The Invisible Mile does for cycling.

Diverse topics also mark other recent releases; one is The Empire City tracing Wellington’s history from the middle of the 19th century till the present day. Stories are told through song, text, paintings and photographs and offer a creative insight into the history of life in the capital city. It includes a CD with original songs by Andrew Laking, and features a number of guest artists, historical notes, unseen archival photographs and new paintings by Bob Kerr.

New this month is Patrick Evans’ The Back of His Head, another quirky invention in the vein of earlier novel Gifted, a riff on the relationship between Frame and Sargeson. The Back of his Head features Raymond Thomas Lawrence who ‘turned his upbringing in conservative Canterbury and participation in the Algerian War into a series of novels that dazzled the world.’ But his Literary Trust members are facing rising costs and dwindling visitor numbers at the Residence.

This offbeat offering is juxtaposed in VUP’s list with important non-fiction by Elizabeth Caffin and Andrew Mason, as the title indicates: The Deepening Stream: A History of the New Zealand Literary Fund.

Fergus says there is no standard recipe for a VUP book, and that solid scholarship, esoteric experimentation and good reading are all welcome – especially if they can be combined in one book.

Bill Manhire collection is VUP’s cracker for Christmas

Stories of Bil Manhire Fergus says that it has been twenty years since this extremely popular Kiwi author’s fiction has been published, so he is delighted there will be a new hardback in November, The Stories of Bill Manhire. It collects stories from previous collections, a novella, previously unpublished stories, and the memoir Under the Influence. The blurb lists a galaxy of topics – sheep-shearing galas, Antarctic ponies, human clones – and describes Manhire as ‘a backyard inventor, devising stories in which the fabulous and the everyday collide’.

Looking forward to 2016, Fergus says there are excellent local fiction titles in their list, with a new novel by Damien Wilkins, Dad Art, and Danyl McLauchlan revisiting a familiar landscape with Mysterious Mysteries of the Aro Valley.

Landfall Essay Competition winner Tracey Slaughter joins VUP with her short story collection Deleted Scenes for Lovers. Later in the year Fergus hopes there will be a new novel by Catherine Chidgey, The Wish Child. “I haven’t read it yet, but she told Facebook the other day that she’d finished it, and I for one can’t wait.”

Writing, Language skills focus of new Kiwi Education publisher

By Featured Members, S - Z
Sheena Cameron and Louise Dempsey

S & L Publishing’s Louise Dempsey (left) and Sheena Cameron

Our authors – via educational publishers – have practically taught the world to read. Now Sheena Cameron and Louise Dempsey of newly established S & L Publishing are teaching children the skills of writing to communicate clearly. Their first publication is The Writing Book, which is a book full of practical advice, strategies and support material for writers. Sheena and Louise see it as a useful resource for both teachers and students.

Currently the two women work from their home offices and are developing a new book titled The Oral Language Book. But with current sales of over 24,500 of The Writing Book plus their busy schedule of seminars for teachers, locally and in Australia and Asia over the next year involving much travel, establishing business premises is on hold for now.

The move to publishing has been a learning curve, but they have already chalked up a major success with The Writing Book.

Sheena Cameron is an experienced teacher who has taught here, the UK and the United States. She has taught at primary, intermediate and tertiary levels. Sheena currently facilitates literacy workshops both in New Zealand and internationally. Prior to establishing the new business, she is the author of The Reading Activity Handbook, The Display and Publishing Handbook and Teaching Reading Comprehension Strategies, all published by Pearson.

Louise Dempsey is an experienced teacher, consultant and trainer who has worked in both New Zealand and the UK. In her 15 years experience as a trainer she has presented to audiences ranging from whole school teams, to Principal groups and school management teams. She has developed specialised knowledge in the areas of literacy and effective teaching and learning. Louise has created a range of writing projects for New Zealand and English publishers and the UK’s Department of Education and written sections of the Access English Series and Rigby Navigator teaching guides.

Both Sheena and Louise are committed to spending time in schools, working with teachers and students to ensure the material they develop is relevant and useful.

Of The Writing Book, Louise says
“We are delighted with the response we have had to the book. While there are academic texts and lots of resource books with worksheets about teaching writing, we wanted to create a user-friendly resource with lots of generic ideas that can be used at different levels and in different contexts.”

New release due in 2016
S & L Publishing’s next teaching text is The Oral Language Book. They describe it as a practical teaching resource, which aims to support teachers to include more learning talk in their classroom and to embed oral language across the curriculum. It includes information and ideas for developing group work and paired talk in the classroom, including supports to encourage quality discussion.

The main body of the book offers practical activities that can be used across the curriculum with the class, a group or independently. They include drama, listening, presentation and vocabulary activities.

Teachers can expect to see The Oral Language Book available for classrooms next July.

Following their second book, S&L Publishing are planning further development of user-friendly on-line resources and apps, and increasing sales in the Asian market.

As the newest educational publisher member of PANZ, we wish the company every success in the future.

Lifting Learning

By Featured Members
Lift Education CEO Alex Collins

Lift Education CEO Alex Collins

Over the past 18 months, Wellington-based publisher South Pacific Press with its two imprints, Lift Education and CSI Literacy, has more than doubled in size. The company has grown from eight staff to twenty and this has meant a move to a larger office.

At the same time, co-founder and major shareholder Neale Pitches has stepped into a new role as executive chair of the company, a move that is intended to allow him to mentor the company rather than manage it and strengthen the governance, along with co-director and shareholder Meryl-Lynn Pluck, of Rainbow Reading fame. Neale will continue to work on projects, and be involved with during strategic planning activity.

Lift Education is the company’s contracting division and its growth has come through two distinct streams of work. The first of these is contracting to the Ministry of Education for development of the School Journal and other New Zealand-focused educational materials for schools in both English and Pasifika languages. The project manager, editors, and designers who work on these materials include ex-Learning Media staff and the team has built new fonts and intellectual property arrangements for the Ministry as publisher, while continuing to develop high quality, rich New Zealand content for New Zealand students and their teachers. Lift’s schools team also has clients as diverse as the New Zealand Olympic Committee and the Commonwealth Education Trust.

Alex Collins, who was publishing manager of the Ministry team, is now chief executive. Alex will continue to oversee the Ministry contract as he succeeds Neale in leading the entire business. Before becoming a publisher, Alex worked in theatre and film, and was a primary school teacher.

“What motivates me the most is hearing from teachers about how our work has supported their students to become engaged readers and critical thinkers,” says Alex, “I’m passionate about education for all and providing teachers and students with the skills, knowledge, and tools they need to succeed.”

Lift Education Publishing Manager Paul Babbage.

Lift Education Publishing Manager Paul Babbage.

Publishing manager Paul Babbage, who has been with Lift for eight years, heads Lift’s second work stream – workplace training and literacy for adults. This area is expanding too and includes contract work for a variety of clients, including New Zealand Mountain Safety Council, New Zealand Fire Service, Careerforce, and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.

Matt Comeskey started as an intern at South Pacific Press nine years ago. Matt’s great eye for engaging literature for youngsters saw him thrown into the mammoth CSI Literacy project, the company’s third stream of work. CSI Literacy broke new ground with more than 260 texts on a specially developed digital interface for explicit teaching and learning, as well as 240 audio texts to support struggling readers.

Data from New Zealand schools shows quite remarkable growth in reading achievement and self awareness by students who learn to read in much the same way a CSI tackles a crime scene – thinking critically, learning through teacher and peer interaction, and using evidence-based reading and writing strategies along the way.

Lift Education's Matt Comeskey

Lift Education’s Matt Comeskey

In 2015 CSI Literacy resources combine interactive digital and audio content, chapter books, ebooks, iPad apps, iBooks and HTML5 online resources. The series is exported to the US, UK, Australia, and parts of Asia and the Middle East. It was shortlisted for the American-based Association of Educational Publishers awards in 2009, and won Best Educational Resource or Programme for Export at both the 2012 and 2013 CLNZ Educational Awards.

Matt is looking forward to showcasing CSI Literacy’s most ambitious and exciting digital project yet at Frankfurt later this year.

“This is an exciting time for us as a company,” says Alex. “While we are in a consolidation phase, we are also very focused on growing the business and see strong potential for us, both nationally and internationally.

“To support our growth, we are looking at further developing strategic partnerships in certain areas. There will be many challenges for educational publishing in the years to come – especially in the integration of digital technologies and supporting learners’ development of digital literacies – but we’re up for the challenge.”

Royal Society of New Zealand is a publisher with a difference…

By Featured Members, M - R
Pictured l-r: Marie Hodgkinson and Jill Mellanby at the Royal Society of New Zealand staff office. Photo credit: Royal Society of New Zealand

Pictured l-r: Marie Hodgkinson and Jill Mellanby at the Royal Society of New Zealand staff office.
Photo credit: Royal Society of New Zealand

That is because they publish scientific journals that require all the editorial disciplines found in the publishing industry. The Royal Society of New Zealand publishes seven journals aimed at specialist areas of the world-wide scientific community, including soil science and marine research. Each journal is published quarterly in both hard copy and online, and is available through subscriptions.

The seven quarterly titles are:
Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand – the science and technology of New Zealand and the Pacific region
New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research – temperate and subtropical pastoral science
New Zealand Journal of Botany – biology of plants, fungi and algae of the southern hemisphere
New Zealand Journal of Crop and Horticultural Science – temperate crop and horticultural science research
New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics – the geoscience of New Zealand, the Pacific Rim, and Antarctica
New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research – aquatic science
New Zealand Journal of Zoology – the zoological science of New Zealand, the Pacific Basin and Antarctica.

An eighth journal, titled Kōtuitui: New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences Online, which has two online issues per year, aims to showcase the increasing number of collaborative research endeavours across the social sciences. The Māori name ‘Kōtuitui’ means ‘interweaving’, and reflects the interdisciplinary nature of the journal.

“Every journal is different,” Jill comments. “The Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand is the smallest, with about 60 pages per issue, whereas the biggest journal, the New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, has about 150 pages per issue. Sometimes we have themed issues in one or more journals and these can be longer.”

There are several tools that make this big output possible for the two-person team of Jill and colleague Marie Hodgkinson, who assess the hundreds of manuscripts submitted to the journals every year and provide production-ready documents to their publishing partners, Taylor & Francis, who handle production and distribution. The editorial management system, Scholar One, makes the volume of work achievable for such a small team. The journals have a team of around seventy off-site editors who are practising scientists working within specific subject disciplines. They do a huge amount of work for the journals, organising peer-reviewers for every paper and liaising with authors over scientific content.

Publishing manager Jill Mellanby still retains a soft Scots accent after leaving the UK 13 years ago with her husband and family to settle here – a decision she has not regretted. Jill’s background is in life sciences, which she has also taught at secondary level, and prior to her current post she was a science librarian at ESR. She has been with the Royal Society of New Zealand for five years.

The publishing team divides its effort into different roles, as Jill explains. “Marie works with authors, editors and the production team to ensure that the progress of manuscripts from submission to publication runs smoothly. She has a legal and trade publishing background, holds a BA (Hons) in English and Classical Studies, and a Diploma in Publishing from Whitireia Polytechnic.

“Every manuscript that is submitted – hundreds per year – is assessed by Marie to see if they match the scope of each journal, and if they do, she sends them through to editors. She then works closely with editors and authors on technical content, making sure that diagrams are appropriate for printing as well as on-screen viewing. She supports authors, who often struggle with the technicalities of graphics software and other daily activities, including promotion of individual papers through the Science Media Centre.”

Jill says her own role is varied. “Part of it is making sure we have the right editors covering the individual subject areas; part of it is outreach to New Zealand scientists to promote the journals; part of it is keeping an eye on copy flow, checking proofs, compiling each issue and organising editorial board meetings.

“The journals, through our co-publishing partnership with Taylor & Francis, are circulated to thousands of libraries worldwide and are read internationally.

“The journals aim to take New Zealand science out to the rest of the world and I believe we succeed in that mission.”

Jill and Marie also liaise with Royal Society of New Zealand colleagues in the Science Media Centre who are able to take the research of some the many journal papers and write informative pieces for general press publication.

Summing it up, Jill says “I enjoy seeing the interesting work that New Zealand scientists are doing. I love the collegial atmosphere of the Royal Society of New Zealand; it’s a great place to come to every day because of the fantastic people who work here.”

And, as noted, the Royal Society of New Zealand is not publishing for just this country; their journals receive international circulation and scrutiny, so their scholarly work is accepted and appreciated in the world market for science publications.

Taking risks all part of business at Craig Potton Publishing

By Featured Members

Robbie Burton_featured

Craig Potton is still the name on the masthead, and although Craig remains a co-owner of the company, it is Robbie Burton (pictured above), both a co-owner and the company’s executive director and publisher, who has driven the development of Craig Potton Publishing into New Zealand’s largest independent publisher.

“I’m the original DIY publisher – when I started, 24 years ago this month as it happens, I really knew nothing,” Robbie told PANZ News. “Craig was a friend, a photographer who moved into publishing so that he could control the quality of his work, and who realised that he needed someone else to run things, as he still wanted the space to take photos.

 “As a consequence I’m largely self-taught, a rather laborious path that I would not recommend, though I have enjoyed the freedom that it has given me to develop a broad range of skills that many other publishers don’t get a chance to use, such as design and print production.”

There are a few things that set this publisher apart: their Nelson location, the quality of their production, their long-term commitment to having a sales and distribution operation, which now includes Lonely Planet and Auckland University Press, and their willingness to take risks – this year with Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics. “It left us legally very exposed,” Robbie admits.

That is not a new experience for the publisher. “We’ve published all six of Nicky Hager’s books over the last 20 years, all of which have been controversial, embargoed and risky. After Dirty Politics perhaps the best known is The Hollow Men.”

The risk paid off: the launch function at Unity Books in Wellington in the lead-up to the election campaign created a media tsunami – the modest first 3,000 sent to booksellers unordered and SOR swept out of the bookstores. “I suspect Dirty Politics was one of the fastest selling books ever in this country after Harry Potter,” Robbie muses. His decision to print digitally was another plus. The printers kept reprinting and sales to date are well over 17,000 units.

“It was an extraordinary experience. This doesn’t happen often in a publisher’s life, to put a book out there and watch it hit a public nerve in such a spectacular way.”


Grahame Sydney a sellout

A lesser risk-taking occurred with Grahame Sydney, a major retrospective of Sydney’s art over the past 40 years with an accompanying essay by Vincent O’Sullivan. Published in October in a slip-cased edition of 2500 at $100, with an additional boxed limited edition of 500 at $150, the entire print-run was committed within a few weeks once booksellers actually saw the finished book. But with not enough time to get a reprint landed well before Christmas, Robbie bemoans his own caution in not printing the quantity his instincts thought he should. To be fair however, he was influenced by the lack of enthusiasm among booksellers for stocking such an expensive art book. “It’s still as hard as ever to pick what’s going to work!”

Books on natural history, outdoor adventure and travel, art and culture, photography and social and environmental issues are the mainstay of this nonfiction publisher’s list, while in recent years CPP has also successfully started publishing children’s books.

Currently Tramping – a New Zealand History is ‘roaring out the door’ says Robbie. “At $70 it is a large, handsome production, with experienced trampers and back country historians Shaun Barnett and Chris Maclean telling the wider story of our tramping culture.

Taking a wider view

Although the reduced number of New Zealand titles coming onto the market following shrinkage in the wider publishing industry potentially creates opportunities for him, Robbie has obvious concerns for our publishing industry. “There seems to have been a noticeable decline in output from New Zealand publishers this year which is worrying. Quite apart from the bigger questions of keeping our book culture alive, New Zealand books are a really important component of the local bookselling industry, which we all desperately need.

“I also never thought I’d see Random’s distribution go to Australia, which is very sad. They set the benchmark for excellent distribution.”

Distribution a cornerstone of CPP’s business

Emma RadcliffeBuilding a much bigger sales and distribution business has been a significant part of CPP’s success in recent years. This has been driven by managing director Emma Radcliffe (left), who moved into this role from her earlier position as sales and marketing director. “Emma has a really strong background in sales and operations, and has played a key role in getting this side of the business working really well. She was responsible for bringing Lonely Planet on board, and has got the business ‘engine room’ of the company working beautifully, for which I’m very grateful,” says Robbie.

While Nelson doesn’t sound like the ideal big-city hub, Robbie says CPP has great relationships with courier companies that means books are received in any part of the country with 24 to 48 hours. “Getting into distribution in the early days was originally done out of naivety, but the benefit to the company now has been enormous.”

CPP’s Nelson location also offers economies in overheads that bigger cities can’t match. They have ‘unglamorous’ offices and warehousing at Port Nelson with a loyal, long-serving and hardworking team of 18.

CPP are always working on improving their sales systems, and over the last year have employed a telesales operator who is in frequent contact with smaller booksellers who don’t receive calls from the sales team quite so regularly.

Challenges… and opportunities

While there are clearly plenty of challenges ahead, Robbie remains cautiously optimistic about the future. “We’re still finding plenty of demand for the illustrated publishing that I specialise in, and I can’t see that going away. Most of all though, I believe we need to work harder than ever to work alongside booksellers, and find every way we can to give the trade great New Zealand books that Kiwis want to buy.

“It will be interesting to see how Christmas goes this year,” says Robbie. “It’s not clear how the mid-list books are going to hold up, which has big implications for our future list.”

You can bet that this thoughtful industry insider will be carefully analysing how the season turned out for his company – and how to make the Craig Potton Publishing imprint an even bigger force in Christmases to come.

Global Education Systems – Kiwi reading resources that sell worldwide

By Featured Members

Tracy Strudley (left) and Jill Eggleton pictured visiting school children in South Africa

Tracy Strudley (left) and Jill Eggleton pictured visiting school children in South Africa

Educator and children’s author Jill Eggleton, and Tracy Strudley, sales and marketing director are the two dynamic women who, as Global Education Systems, create reading and learning resources and market their products internationally.

Next year they will make their presence felt in the trade market with a brand new range of products for pre-school learning called Bud-e.

Tracking back to the publishing company’s beginning, Key Links, their reading resources series, was begun by Jill in 2004, and gained momentum when Tracy brought her international educational sales marketing skills to the company in 2006.

Their major educational series in the reading resource field – Key Links, has collections of texts for shared, guided and independent reading, including teacher resources, for students from 5 to 10 plus years.

Global Education Systems has a further unique resource for peer group reading, called Into Connectors and Connectors. This resource is based on extensive research that cites the phenomenal success that peer reading has in lifting student’s comprehension levels.

A spread from Change Happens  a Global Education Systems Key Links title written by Jill Eggleton and published by Scholastic.

A spread from Change Happens  a Global Education Systems Key Links title written by Jill Eggleton and published by Scholastic.

Jill and Tracy are both powerhouses in their specialist areas. Jill is a noted educator with a worldwide reputation in teaching reading and she also undertakes professional development for educators with overseas seminars.

Plus, Jill is the author of around 90 percent of all the stories, texts and resources!

“I’ve been doing it a long time,” says Jill of their educational publishing. “We have a good reputation and people trust us to adhere to the curriculum system in their countries, and to give support.”

Tracy comes from a trade and educational sales product background with a major international publisher. Her success has been to sell the Global Education Systems product into several major markets – America, UK, Canada, South Africa and now into many Asian markets.

All this Global Education Systems material going to the local and international markets and you don’t recall seeing a single GES colophon? That is because GES sells their resource products to other established publishers… here in New Zealand and also in Australia, Canada and the UK that publisher is Scholastic. TWP Digital are the Singapore publishers, and there’s Gill and Macmillan in Ireland, Abrams Learning Trends and Heinemann in the US, Nelson Education and Cheneliere in Canada plus Juta in South Africa.

Despite all the different publisher names distributing the company’s books, Global Education Systems is always acknowledged on the imprint page. Via a production broker in New Zealand, books are printed in Hong Kong for each market’s order, and dispatched from there.

Tracy reckons she spends a third of her year travelling to overseas markets to represent the company and work with clients. Jill is also happy to climb on a plane as needed, and they are both heading to the Texan city of Austin in January to do a training seminar for US sales reps on selling their learning materials to the American market. This extra effort they are happy to make has led to great relationships with overseas colleagues.

Taking educational publishing to trade success

While the core business ticks over, Jill and Tracy are about to launch GES’ entry into the trade market next March with a whole new interactive world of electronic media, apps and conventional product called Bud-e, aimed at the anxious parent market for kids who are keen to learn to read, but too young to go to school.
Bud-e is a friendly little space alien who finds himself on Earth and opens up the world of reading for kids with a comprehensive literacy game.

Bud E picGES have teamed with gaming studio Custard Square to enter this engaging and carefully crafted new world of augmented reality. Products will range from little books at $6.99 to picture flats at $19.99 and phone apps that reads the text if you scan it over the book. Bud-e Reading World app is their premium comprehensive product which promises to delight and engage young readers.

Just as importantly, the New Zealand book trade is right behind this launch, with Bud-e (from the world of Bubble-o) to be stocked by Whitcoulls, Paper Plus and The Warehouse Stationery.”Game elements to entertain children, but with a purpose,” notes Tracy.

Again, this product – 60 small books, seven ancillary books, and around 150 apps so far – is making its presence felt internationally. Tracy has interest from, and is currently negotiating with Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore at government level and also with USA publishers.

In New Zealand Bud-e is represented by South Pacific Books, who get a big tick from Tracy because of their in depth knowledge of this area of the market.
On the story side, Jill decided that children needed to be captured into the reading world. So tapping into their hunger for imagination, she created the world of Bubblo from where Bud-e fell. Jill believes that stories need the right elements to spark a love of reading and the creation of an imaginary world – within the bounds of possibility to some degree – provides the right elements for capturing young readers.

Going boldly…

For even a well established and successful firm like GES, the investment in this new area has been ‘quite brave’ – surely an understatement! “We have researched for several years and are confident there is not only a gap, but for children and families, a real need in this market,” Tracy says.

“Bud-e is the new baby in our product portfolio, and that of our partners Custard Square. We are thrilled to see the enjoyment on children’s faces and those of their parents as they navigate their way around the Bud-e Reading app, read the book, engage in poetry, alphabet raps and enjoy literacy games,” says Tracy. “Bud-e motivates young children to want to learn to read!”

Redundant in July, first book out October: Upstart Press is all action

By Featured Members

Upstart-Horizontal-logoThe book trade was stunned when long serving Hachette NZ CEO Kevin Chapman was made redundant as the company pulled out of local publishing in mid 2013. Hachette’s local publishing, especially its sports titles, had been an important part of bookstores’ Father’s Day and Christmas offerings for many years.

Patricia Chapman had just registered a new company earlier in the year, so gossip had it that they had been forewarned; not so – Pat was setting up the company for her own project as publisher of Michael Bassett’s City of Sails, his 1989-2010 history of Auckland City Council.

That company was Hapimana Press … ‘Hapimana’ being the Maori transliteration of Chapman. That name was their first thought for the new imprint, but it was soon realised that having to constantly explain the name was unworkable.

Both principals liked Upstart Press as an alternative and the UP initials were used for create the cheeky cup-design logo. Kevin was also aware that the Moa sports book imprint had no legal restrictions, and recreated that as the company’s sports book imprint, albeit with a twist: Moa is now Mower and the icon is that every Kiwi home necessity – a lawnmower!

The New Invincibles: How the 2013 All Blacks Created History
by Ron Palenski was Upstart’s first publication, a large format with full colour pictures at an affordable cost for last year’s Christmas market.It should be noted at this point that Kevin initially had no plans for staying in publishing and was looking to transfer his corporate skills into other business areas. But a procession of authors looking for a new publisher knocked on his door and he changed his mind. One was Joy Cowley and though he was going to publish her Buzzy Bee books as a sideline project, this along with the other avenues opening up convinced him to stay in publishing.Next it was a huge effort to get premises organised. “I even got an office for Warren Adler though he hadn’t replied to my offer to join Upstart,” Kevin says. The multi office set up with central area and conference room meant the PANZ office could be housed as a tenant, and another business also works from their office suite.Very quickly the 2014 list grew to 14 titles – three children’s picture flats, two novels, eight non-fiction titles including five on sports, and one calendar.Upstart found Kiwi booksellers supportive says Kevin. “They told me they needed someone to do those big sports books the public loved and which they enjoyed selling.” He and Pat attended the Paper Plus conference in Taupo earlier this year and were really heartened by the positive response from booksellers on keeping their sort of books alive in the market.

“Do you know that Paper Plus Motueka actually hired a helicopter to fly in Robbie Deans for a special promotion?” says Pat. “It really brought home to me how appreciated our rugby books are in this country.”

Robbie Deans pictured above right with pilot from Tasman Helicopters Private Tours
“We have also been lucky to have Archetype as our sales team” says Kevin. “They are highly respected and hugely knowledgeable”.Start-ups (no pun intended) of businesses, especially new ones in the publishing field, are notoriously hard to get underway. Despite what many would regard as a successful first year, Upstart’s owners have been financially prudent to get the company on a firm footing.That has obviously been achieved, because there is a 22 title publishing program in place for 2015, and projects being generated for 2016. Next year’s list will have a few more children’s titles, another two novels, humour, biography and memoir.The workplace is fun – publisher Warren Adler has the ‘title’ of Chief Technology Officer because he is not especially technical. Designer Craig Violich (who freelances out of the Upstart offices) is Chief Proof Reader – because he’s dyslexic.Their newest employee is Ebony Sparrow who will take care of distribution and assist Pat with administration and customer service. She is starting with a ceo title – Customer Empowerment Officer.In all other respects, Upstart is highly professional. For instance, Upstart Press has its eyes on overseas markets. Post Frankfurt Book Fair last month, Kevin detoured to London to meet with publishers there, and followed up with American visits to Upstart’s representatives in that market, Trafalgar Square, and with colleague publishers Andrews McMeel.Golf clubs were involved in those travels – Kevin is known to have a set of clubs stashed in at least three golf destinations around the world – but there may be some gear for sale shortly, as his new sports interests are cycling and stand up paddle boarding.

Upstart is also having success with e-versions of their titles, distributed by Faber Factory.

They may not have a cookbook in their range, but you could rightly call Upstart Press New Zealand’s most iconic publisher: there’s no topping Buzzy Bee and rugby!

PS: PANZ News reporter was unwise to use the old fashioned term and asked for ‘mugshots’ of Pat and Kevin. We acknowledge their receipt:

Huia Publishers: multi lingual firm prominent in upcoming awards

By Featured Members

Huia HouseCLNZ Educational Publishing Awards have three Huia Publishers learning resources nominated this year, and three books which are finalists in Massey University’s Ngā Kupu Ora Aotearoa Māori Book Awards 2014. It is a good showing, but one which has come to be expected given Huia’s dominance in the Māori language publishing field and in books on Māori topics and issues.

After 20 years in the hands of founders Robyn and Brian Bargh, Huia Publishers had a seamless changeover of principals early this year when control was handed to incoming owners Brian Morris and Eboni Waitere. Brian Morris had been with Huia for 13 years and heads up their sizeable schools publishing program of around 40 projects a year, mostly as contractors for the Ministry of Education.

Eboni Waitere_smallEboni Waitere (left) has also been with Huia for the past four years, coming into the firm as the Chief Operating Officer and responsible for the trade list. She and Brian are now co-owners and executive directors of the publishing company.

Eboni found her new role was nevertheless ‘a big learning curve’ but one she is enjoying. “We have an exciting programme of work!” She felt she was ‘semi prepared’ but found it has a different workload from a different perspective to her previous role.

Brian and Robyn Bargh still contribute to Huia and its publications; they assist with the manuscript assessment and Robyn is still a Director on the board.

All up, Huia is a substantial publisher based in Wellington’s Thorndon with a full time staff of around 20, backed up by freelance authors and contributors as needed.

November is not only awards month for Huia, it is also the month of publication for some of their major titles. Another, Wira Gardiner’s Parekura Horomia: Kia Ora Chief! is a December release which will be launched first at Hauiti Marae 6 December with Parekura’s whānau, and a second time by Te Ururoa Flavell, Minister of Māori Development, in the Grand Hall of Parliament on December 9.

And don’t dismiss Huia as publishing in only two languages … First Readers in Samoan has just been released, ten stories in Samoan with English translations, alongside First Readers in Māori. The bilingual books are ideal for beginning learners of both Samoan and Māori, with simple language, stories and illustrations that support the text.

They also launch Whispers & Vanities: Samoan Indigenous Knowledge and Religion hosted by His Highness, the Head of State of Samoa, Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Ta’isi Efi at The Wharewaka Function Centre in Wellington on 18 November.

The book is a collection of essays and selected poetry that form a carefully woven critique of aspects of Samoa’s religious and cultural values from many Samoan authors. So will Huia be publishing more Samoan titles? “When it comes to Samoan titles, for us it’s about our relationship with the Samoan leadership,” says Eboni. “We are not experts in Samoan language or culture, so we are guided by their leadership and if they require our publishing support then we will continue to build that relationship and publish accordingly. If there comes a point when they no longer need our assistance then we would continue to work on Māori titles which is our particular area of expertise.”

Other new on the market titles for bookselling’s paramount Christmas sales season are Ngā Ki / Keys, two new picture books, one in English, one in Māori, written by Sacha Cotter, translated by Kawata Teepa and illustrated by Josh Morgan. Dad uses his keys to spin magic stories about what each key might unlock.

Brian MorrisBrian Morris (left) has also translated the international title Monkey Puzzle by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffer to a Māori version, Ke Hea Taku Mama, complete with original artwork. The picture books are December releases.
Huia have four titles currently up for Awards: both Living by the Moon – Te Maramataka o Te Whānau-ā-Apanui and Future Challenges for Māori: He Kōrero Anamata are nominated for both the CLNZ Education Awards and Ngā Kupu Ora Aotearoa Māori Book Awards. Fred Graham: Creator of Forms – Te Tohunga Auaha also features in the Ngā Kupu Ora Awards and Selwyn Katene’s Spirit of Māori Leadership is Huia’s other title in the CLNZ Awards.

“We are always pleased and enjoy the recognition that being nominated for an award brings,” says Brian.

But back to the trade publishing side of Huia: it is clearly thriving with around 12 – 15 titles lined up for publication next year. Plus they have a further 30 projects lined up says Eboni. “They include some commissioned titles, titles to be translated and unsolicited manuscripts which we think have potential.”
Brian Morris had a background in Māori education before joining Huia. His current team work on Māori language resources, mostly for the Ministry of Education where they are a member of a panel with five other publishers meeting the Ministry’s various educational and book supply requirements.

“The future for Huia in publishing Māori stories and aspirations, and in Māori language is exciting,” says Brian.