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By February 1, 2010April 7th, 2010No Comments

Long-time and highly respected book trade figure Gerard Reid was honoured last Tuesday 26 January at a function organised by PANZ to celebrate his significant contribution to the world of books.

PANZ thanks Graham Beattie for allowing us to reproduce these notes so we can share them more widely. Originally posted  by Bookman Beattie at

A look at the following brief extract from Gerard’s CV gives some idea of his career in the book world over the past 35 years:
Work History
Jan 2007-2009, – Pindar NZ, Managing Director
June 1991-Dec 2006, – Egan-Reid Ltd, Joint proprietor and Chief Executive
May 1979-May 1991, -Book Publishers Association of New Zealand Inc., Executive Director
Jan 1975-Apr 1979, – All Things Catholic (bookseller), Proprietor

Positions held
Councillor, Book Publishers Association of New Zealand Inc. (2 years)
Chairman (founder), New Zealand Copyright Council, (4 years)
Executive Director (founder), Copyright Licensing Ltd, (4 years)
Councillor, Book Marketing Council, (10 years)
Deputy Chairman (cofounder), Publishers’ Promotional Fund, (2 years)
NZ delegate, International Publishers Association, (13 years)
NZ delegate, International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations, (13 years)
Alternate Chairman, Education Department/Publishers Liaison Committee, (12 years)
Chairman, Point Chevalier School Board of Trustees, (5 years)
Councillor, NZ Market Research Society, (3 years)
Councillor, Sales & Marketing Executives, (2 years)

The large crowd that gathered in the most attractive Pearson-Penguin offices on Auckland’s North Shore included many PANZ past presidents and former board members.
After being welcomed by the current President, and Pearson NZ CEO, Adrian Keane, tributes were then paid to Gerard by four former PANZ presidents – Rosemary Stagg, Bob Ross, Elizabeth Caffin, and Graham Beattie followed by senior publisher (Penguin) Geoff Walker.

Rosemary Stagg said in part:
Gerard made himself into an expert on copyright, especially as it pertained to the educational world, and he believed passionately – as I am sure he still does – in the importance of intellectual property, and that the work of authors and publishers should not be unfairly exploited, and nor should its integrity should be compromised by others. We did some brave – and expensive – things in those years, such as suing Carrington polytech, now Unitec, when we discovered a substantial booklet for students of technical drawing at that institutions consisted entirely of whole pages copied from a variety of textbooks published by established educational publishers. Even though we were asking, if my memory serves me correctly, for a declaratory judgement rather than damages, we were still taking on the full might of the Department of Education. I can still remember my terror when the case was listed as Longman (and others) vs Carrington polytech, as I was very afraid that we might be blacklisted by these institutions.

On the other hand, Gerard was a realist, and as he followed international trends he came to see, and to convince the rest of us, that licensing schools and other educational institutions to use appropriate amounts of copyright material in the course of instruction was the way to go. He never lost heart in the many years it took us to actually achieve that goal and was able to convince the members of Publishers Association, year after year, that it should continue to support CLL and that we would ultimately prevail, as indeed we did.

While Bob Ross spoke of interviewing Gerard that day in 1979 part of the panel that interviewed applicants for the position at the Publishers Association. He was of course the successful applicant and he held the job from 1979 to 1991.
Bob said that Gerard has contributed more to BPANZ than any other person ever.
And that it was Gerard who brought the association up to date and in line with the rest of the world.
Through his research and initiative he created a publishers Association that was active in many new areas.
Among the matters Bob gave Gerard credit for initiating:
· founder of CLL
· Chair of NZ copyright Council
· NZ rep on International Publishing Association
· Introduced publishing statistics
· Set up NZ at Frankfurt =- initiative
· Lobbied government on a number of political issues
· Gave personal counselling to individual publishers
· Helped organise the South Africa book trade into one organisation from a number of fragmented

When Elizabeth Caffin spoke she said, among other things, that she would particularly like to mention the way Gerard was never afraid of having ideas or taking initiatives. He wasn’t one of those people who just did the job – he always took it further. I remember with pleasure his annual visits to BPANZ members, listening to our concerns, noting our suggestions.

As a businessman at Egan Reid and later Pindar, along with Mary, he has always had big plans, large ambitions – and carried them off too, by hard work, determination and persistence. He twice tried to pinch one of my staff members – he may not have given up yet – but of course I am now very happy to forgive him. He embraced the new technology fearlessly and fruitfully, sharing his knowledge generously.

Gerard is committed to quality. Every job you sent to him and Mary was impeccably done in every respect. I never hesitated in sending aspiring self-publishers or organizations keen to publish their histories straight to Egan Reid for a result that could be totally relied on.

Gerard, the publishing world owes you are huge debt of gratitude and affection. I know I speak for many in expressing this and in saying that our warmest thoughts are with you.

Graham Beattie said that for his sins he was President of the BPANZ for three years whereas traditionally the post was held for two years. My longer term came about because while he was President of the Association Brian Phillips left the NZ publishing scene to take up a position in London. As I was Vice President I took over as President to cover Brian’s second year and then later did the normal two year stint.
I found it an interesting and at times demanding job that I could really only carry out A because I was MD of Penguin Books NZ and therefore had resources available to me and B and especially because Gerard Reid was the Executive Director. This was a post Gerard filled with great distinction from May 1979 until May 1991 and I shall ever be grateful for the friendship, colleagueship, the wise counsel and sage advice he always generously extended to me over the three years that I was in the Chair. I might add that our friendship has continued ever since.

Gerard and I both came to the book publishing industry via bookselling and it is interesting that both of us have gone on into other aspects of the industry – myself into book reviewing and book blogging and Gerard into book design and other publishing-related services while in short time making himself one of the most knowledgeable people in the industry on the subject of the electronic future of the book.

I could talk all night about Gerard’s achievements and interests in the book world, of the literary nature of his young years living at home with his father Professor John Reid the noted scholar of Victorian literature, his 5 years as a bookseller, especially of his work in the area of copyright having been the founding chair of the Copyright Council, the founding executive director of Copyright Licensing Ltd, and of course the business, Pindar NZ, that he and his wife Mary have grown together into a worldwide leader in the field, but actually you know I’d rather go and have a drink and a chat with him so I’ll leave it at that.
Bravo, I salute you Gerard.

The publishing director at Penguin Books NZ, Geoff Walker, talked warmly of Gerard’s days at Egan-Reid which has become Pindar NZ and of his leadership in the book design world in this electronic age and of the enormous value he was to Penguin Books and other publishing companies around the world.

The evening concluded with Gerard thanking everyone for attending, for the kind words that had been spoken, he said he felt honoured and humbled.
Gerard was supported by his wife Mary and their two daughters, Sophia and Anna, all of whom work at Pindar NZ.

Gerard is suffering from a terminal illness and in a nice move PANZ decided that he should be honoured in this way while he was still alive rather than it being left to obituaries to record his huge contribution to our industry.
A wonderful evening which provided the opportunity for many retired publishers to meet up with Gerard and each other. It was a nostalgia-filled occasion.