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Four leading book publishers combine forces in New Zealand

By September 27, 2018October 8th, 2018No Comments

HarperCollins today announced the formation of a New Zealand sales and marketing agency representing leading international publishers Hardie Grant, Simon & Schuster and Walker Books. The new agency, which is yet to be named, will start operations in January, selling April 2019 new releases. This exciting amalgamation is a vote of confidence in the New Zealand book industry. HarperCollins Entertainment Distribution Services already distributes all four publishers; ensuring the addition of sales and marketing will bring new efficiencies for all four publishers and for New Zealand book retailers alike, while also creating a stronger marketing platform from which to engage with readers.

The new look HarperCollins sales team will be led by Karen Ferns, currently agenting Simon & Schuster and previously MD of Random House New Zealand, who will have overall responsibility for the combined group as New Zealand Sales Manager. Karen will be supported by Matthew Simpson, following his desire to step into a new role, as Key Accounts Manager for the agency list. Sandra Noakes, Marketing Communications Manager, will have marketing and publicity responsibility for all four publishers. Karen and Sandra will both report directly to HarperCollins ANZ CEO, James Kellow, who said, ‘I am a huge admirer of the New Zealand book market. We are supremely fortunate to be supported by so many brilliant, passionate and engaged booksellers and I’m delighted to put in place a vibrant, new and dynamic team to better serve the NZ market, led by three of NZ’s most trusted and respected publishing executives. I am so pleased to welcome Karen to the HarperCollins team. Her reputation speaks for itself, and I couldn’t be more positive about the opportunities this new venture presents.’

Dan Ruffino, Managing Director of Simon & Schuster, commented: ‘We’re excited to further increase our presence in New Zealand via this new partnership. We’ve seen the enormous potential of the market through Karen Ferns’ fine stewardship of our sales over the last two years, and know that under the leadership of Karen and Matthew Simpson and Sandra Noakes we can take it to the next level.’

‘We are very pleased to be entering into this partnership with the new HarperCollins agency. Walker Books stands for quality children’s books, something we are very proud of. We look forward to building on our success in the NZ market with a like-minded team who share our passion for selling and marketing children’s books,’ said Angela Van Den Belt, President of Walker Books.

‘Since partnering with HarperCollins New Zealand in July, we have been thoroughly impressed by the team and their efforts. We are thrilled to be able to continue working with Matthew in this new venture, as he has been instrumental in our partnership’s success so far,’ reported Julia Kumschick, Group Sales Director for Hardie Grant.

Karen Ferns said, ‘It is exciting to be involved in a new agency, focused on better serving authors and booksellers in the NZ market. I look forward to working with Matthew and Sandra to create a highly effective team to look after the four publishers who have put their faith in us.’

For further information, please contact:

James Kellow, CEO, HarperCollins Publishers Australia and New Zealand,


Matthew Simpson, Sales Manager, HarperCollins Publishers New Zealand,