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Great Richness and Diversity in This Year’s Finalists in the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults

By Media Releases, News

NZ Book Awards ChildrensPirates, orcas and penguins leap from the pages of the 22 books picked as finalists in the 2015 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

In the 25th year of these venerable awards, New Zealand authors have once again produced beautifully written and illustrated books that are wonderful to hold and read, showing that publishing for New Zealand children is in very good heart.

One hundred and forty-nine books were submitted for the Awards. A panel of three judges (judging convenor and children’s book reviewer and literary consultant Bob Docherty; author and children’s bookshop owner, Annemarie Florian; and teacher-librarian Fiona Mackie), with the assistance of Te Reo Māori language adviser, freelance Māori writer and editor Stephanie Pohe-Tibble, have spent months reading, analysing and enjoying all entries.

The finalists in the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults are selected across four categories: Picture Book, Non-Fiction, Junior Fiction and Young Adult Fiction, and there is an additional award for books written in Māori, for which there are finalists for the first time.

Judging panel convenor Bob Docherty says the judges were very pleased with the high quality of this year’s writing. “We likened the process to a vintner looking forward to tasting this year’s vintage. Having tasted, we all were delighted with this year’s production of titles – not only in terms of the actual writing, but also the fantastic quality and style of the illustrations and the actual presentation of the books. It’s heartening to see that book production in New Zealand is getting better and better. We’re pleased that publishers continue to put as much emphasis on the look and feel – literally – of a book as well as its content.

“The Picture Book category gave the judges the most difficulty – in the best possible way. With a whopping 75 entries, there was fierce competition to pare these down to five finalists. This indicates that New Zealand is producing its fair share of wonderfully strong visual stories – stories with simple integrity yet with expressive characters, where both author and illustrator work together to capture our interest on every page,” says Bob.

“All books submitted in the Non-Fiction category were particularly impressive – almost in defiance of the trend for some libraries to dispense with their non-fiction collections in favour of online sources. The judging panel believed all the Non-Fiction entries contained material that was far superior to any online source, and all entries deserved to be finalists, says Bob.

There were 35 entries in Junior Fiction category. “All these books were a delight to read. This year’s finalists have combined comic book illustrations with the traditional novel format, and four of the five books have an historical connection. Fantasy and adventure also figure, and there is a strong anti-bullying link within the finalists’ titles in this category.

The judges agreed that all 21 entries in the Young Adult Fiction category were stunning. The high standard of writing reflects the calibre of New Zealand’s world-class writers. The human condition and teenage relationships were intimately discussed, and dialogue was a strong feature of all of these novels.

Two finalists for the Māori language award

Seven books were submitted in the Māori language award, with two selected as finalists. Te Reo Māori language adviser, Stephanie Pohe-Tibble, says that all of this year’s entries had something for every reader – from beginning speakers of Māori to children and whānau involved in kōhanga reo and kura kaupapa Māori. The two finalists both stood out with their innovative approach to translation, wonderful text and illustrations, and creativity of storylines. Stephanie says, “I hope that all parents wishing to enrich their children’s lives with the Māori language will get to spend some special time with their children reading and enjoying these books.”

New Children’s Choice finalists’ list now decided by children

Children’s choices rule in the newly revamped Children’s Choice Awards in 2015. This year, more than 6,500 children and young adults from 106 schools from throughout the country have selected their own finalists from the 149 books submitted for the Awards. In previous years, the Children’s Choice was made from the judges’ finalist list, rather than from the full number of submitted books.

Nicola Legat, chair of the New Zealand Book Awards Trust, says, ”We wanted to hand this section over to the children – for them to decide which books they engaged with and which books they loved, rather than making their choices based on the criteria the judges used to make their decisions. Of the 20 books chosen as Children’s Choice finalists, seven match those on the judges’ list, so we’re very much looking forward to seeing the results of round two of the children’s vote over the next seven weeks.”

Voting for the Children’s Choice opens on Tuesday, 9 June and closes on Friday, 31 July. This year there will be a winner in each category.

Prince George to receive Picture Book finalists

For the second year, the five Picture Book finalists books are about to be sent to Prince George of Cambridge and his newborn sister Princess Charlotte. Each of the five books has a personal message from its author to both children.

“Each year the New Zealand Book Awards Trust is sending Prince George, and now his little sister, specially signed books from the authors of the Picture Book finalists. As they grow older the Cambridge family will receive the Non-Fiction finalists, then the Junior Fiction. When George is 13, we’ll send the autographed Young Adult Fiction books. By the time the Cambridge children have grown up, they’ll have a wonderful collection of New Zealand children’s and young adult literature – all personally inscribed,” says Nicola Legat.

The finalists for the 2015 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults are:

Picture Books

Construction, Sally Sutton and Brian Lovelock, Walker Books Australia

I Am Not a Worm, Scott Tulloch, Scholastic New Zealand

Jim’s Letters, Glyn Harper and Jenny Cooper, Penguin Random House

Keys, Sasha Cotter and Joshua Morgan, Huia Publishers

Little Red Riding Hood . . . Not Quite, Yvonne Morrison and Donovan Bixley, Scholastic New Zealand


Ghoulish Get-Ups: How to Create Your Own Freaky Costumes, Fifi Colston, Scholastic New Zealand

Māori Art for Kids, Julie Noanoa and Norm Heke, Craig Potton Publishing

Mōtītī Blue and the Oil Spill, Debbie McCauley and Sarah Elworthy, Mauao Publishing

The Book of Hat, Harriet Rowland, Makaro Press/Submarine

Under the Ocean: explore & discover New Zealand’s sea life, Gillian Chandler and Ned Barraud, Craig Potton Publishing

Junior Fiction

Conrad Cooper’s Last Stand, Leonie Agnew, Penguin Random House/Puffin

Dragon Knight: Fire!, Kyle Mewburn and Donovan Bixley, Scholastic New Zealand

Monkey Boy, Donovan Bixley, Scholastic New Zealand

The Island of Lost Horses, Stacy Gregg, HarperCollins

The Pirates and the Nightmaker, James Norcliffe, Penguin Random House/Longacre Child

Young Adults

I Am Rebecca, Fleur Beale, Penguin Random House

Night Vision, Ella West, Allen & Unwin

Recon Team Angel: Vengeance, Brian Falkner, Walker Books Australia

Singing Home the Whale, Mandy Hager, Penguin Random House

While We Run, Karen Healey, Allen & Unwin

Māori Language Award

Hoiho Paku, Stephanie Thatcher and Ngaere Roberts, Scholastic New Zealand

Nga Ki, Sasha Cotter and Joshua Morgan, Huia Publishers (translation of Keys, a finalist in the Picture Book category)

A Finalist Authors’ Tour will run from 3-7 August nationwide, with authors appearing in bookshops, libraries and schools.

The New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults is organised by the New Zealand Book Awards Trust, and administered by Booksellers NZ. The Awards are sponsored by Creative NZ, Book Tokens Ltd, Copyright Licensing Limited New Zealand and Nielsen Book Services. Publishers have also supported the awards this year.

The winners will be announced on the evening of Thursday, 13 August at Government House in Wellington.


For more information, please contact:

Adrienne Olsen                T    04 496 5513

Adroite Communications, Wellington     M 029 296 3650

Media Advisors, 2015 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults E



PANZ International Summit 2015: a world wide perspective

By News

Sam at Conference_croppedJosé Borghino, Will Atkinson and Henry Rosenbloom brought their European, UK and Australian perspectives to the PANZ summit and left their audience, of more than 65 publish with a wider understanding of those markets and current trends in books and publishing. It was a cracker of a conference, challenging, thought provoking and a chance to see opportunities as well as pitfalls in the world marketplace

Sam Elworthy, PANZ President, welcomed publishers outlining milestones that have seen this country become more visible on the international stage – Guest of Honour at Frankfurt Book Fair in 2012, Eleanor Catton’s Booker Prize winning The Luminaries and Guest of Honour at the Taipei International  Book Exhibition earlier this year. He also noted one area of vulnerability: our educational publishing is dependent on government policy decisions in both local and international markets.

IPA’s Borghino on the Freetard Jihad

Jose Borghino_croppedJosé Borghino, policy director for the International Publishers Association based in Geneva, did have a cautionary tale of government educational policy interference… Hungary nationalised the whole of their educational publishing and only one publisher in the field remains.

Calling his address From Simple Numbers to the Freetard Jihad, (the latter a term borrowed from commentator John Birmingham) José looked at the size of various creative endeavours today: Books and publishing are worth $250 billion, movies and entertainment $181b, magazines $185b, video games $84b and music $68b – all translated to $NZ. “We need to feel important – publishing is much larger than the other sectors. And none of them are giving up their copyright – why should we feel pressured to do so?”
He likens “creative commons” to fishing in Mauritius. “Fishermen found it easier to put gelignite in their reefs and blow the fish out of the water – but that destroyed their fishing industry.”

The good news: there are still growing print markets; the bad news: industrialised countries’ print sales by volume are stable or steadily declining. Causing concern: the EU is promoting Open Educational Resources, but without knowing whether this is sustainable.

“We need to tell our own story better,” José says. He believes the public and policy makers don‘t see publishing as a digital industry, but as a leftover 19th century business limping behind.One proactive move by the IPA is strengthening their Educational Publishers Forum and extending this in Asia-Pacific areas.

“The public don‘t see our passion and expertise. They don‘t see what they will be missing if their government policies don‘t contribute to a flourishing local publishing industry.

“Copyright is not outmoded in a digital world.”

Kiwi author Paul Cleave: One Writer, Many Markets

Mel and Paul Cleave_2 croppedCrime writer Paul Cleave () is not highly feted in his own country for his noir thrillers, but he is a huge hit on the German market. His editors in Germany loved his books and pushed for wide exposure – with the result that some titles have sold at one to two thousand copies a day in that country!

Crime writer Paul Cleave (The Cleaner) is not highly feted in his own country for his noir thrillers, but he is a huge hit on the German market. His editors in Germany loved his books and pushed for wide exposure – with the result that some titles have sold at one to two thousand copies a day in that country!

Since selling world rights to Random House (with one exception for a title his UK publishers would not release) Cleave’s books are now sold in 15-20 countries.
Nowadays, he told interviewer Melanie Laville-Moore “One of the books has always got something happening in different markets.” And much of his time is spent answering questions from translators about how to render Kiwi idioms for their country! There is also a different time frame. He was used to the fast pace of editors here – usually four weeks for each MS – but now waits six months for US editors to get back to him.

The author is the last to get paid, he said, and the last to get a print copy of the book! One regret is that he is ‘not well reviewed’ in New Zealand. “It is easy to write an amusing bad review.”

On another note: 90 percent of Cleave’s US sales are digital. In France, his sales are 90 percent print.

The state of Global Markets now… and 10 years from now

Trade Session

Global Markets panel_croppedjpgPeter Dowling chaired the trade publisher panel of Will Atkinson, Atlantic Books UK, Julia Marshall of Gecko Press, Kevin Chapman of Upstart Books and Dreamboat Books’ Mark Sommerset .

Peter Dowling chaired the trade publisher panel of Will Atkinson, Atlantic Books UK, Julia Marshall of Gecko Press, Kevin Chapman of Upstart Books and Dreamboat Books’ Mark Sommerset .

Will outlined the Atlantic Books operation – imprints are Atlantic, Corvus, and Allen & Unwin UK. Julia, Kevin and Mark in turn outlined their business and the international outreach of their rights and co-production deals.

Kevin noted that Upstart Press is selling rights three ways; 1) agent 2) rights 3) co-editions and that publishers are accessing China via Taipei which is seen as ‘entry level China’.  However, in UK and US our small market makes us ‘salmon going up the waterfalls’.

Dreamboat Books  has sold 22 co-editions. Mark quips “More publishers should write”.  He and his wife – illustrator Rowan Sommerset – write, design and create their own books.

Will told the audience that Germany is important – there is growth of reading in English, not only in Germany but also other areas of the continent including Scandinavia and Holland.  He said that rights are volatile; they are a lesser financial return than exporting.

He also noted that ebooks and digital are slower than expected in following the sales patterns of physical books. But now they are going straight to mobiles – “e” is a device driven market.

Julia Marshall commented that picture books are resistant to ebooks, and they are only two percent of sales for this market. But if in the years to come there was a new device created that captured picture books in the same way as the physical book….

The state of Global Markets now… and 10 years from now
Education Session

The Education panel session  featured Dame Wendy Pye (left), José Borghino, Richard Allan, Matt Comeskey and was chaired by David Glover.

The Education panel session Global markets now… and 10 years from now featured Dame Wendy Pye (left), José Borghino, Richard Allan, Matt Comeskey and was chaired by David Glover.

José said the big issue was Government involvement in education –  which was at times interference – and that educational publishers had to project the values and benefits of what their input brought to education.

Matt spoke of his experience of the US and UK markets where digital had meant territories were now communities of interest and that the shift was to preparing digital first rather than digitising print books.

Using numerous examples, Dame Wendy spoke about the importance she placed in teaching kids around the world to read, especially those in developing countries. She said she used gut feeling at times when making decisions and accepted that mistakes were sometimes made.

Richard outlined how Biozone had focused in Biology resources in the UK, Australia and for 10 years in the US. He described how curriculum changes were both threats and opportunities for publishers in those markets.

Breakfast with Networking for Educational Publishers

paula_browning_newCoping with Auckland traffic and the 8am start did not put 16 educational publishers and others – including José Borghino from the International Publishers Association – attending the networking breakfast chaired by PANZ Councillor Mark Sayes.

Copyright Licensing NZ’s Paula Browning (left) made two presentations. The first was a Horizon teacher survey which covered 500 teachers in both primary and secondary schools on their use and implementation of BYO Devices in schools (53% uptake by end 2015), plus the awareness and use of Pond – the Network for Learning Portal – (33% awareness of which 40% used Pond) and teacher material, content delivery and sources of teaching materials. The survey showed that paper hand-outs were the most preferred content delivery overall, followed by electronic downloads.

Paula also spoke about the CLNZ Educational Publishing Awards, the survey CLNZ had conducted with relevant groups, and the resulting changes to the awards which will be made before calls for entries in July.

Mark updated the meeting on the use of workbooks in schools following an opinion released by the Ombudsman in 2014 and the impact of BYOD in schools. There was discussion around recent Back to School workbook sales.

Up Close and Personal with the Digital World

Will AtkinsonWill Atkinson drew mostly on his experience as Sales and Marketing Director of Faber UK for this session on consumer engagement in the digital world.

“Publishers need to be on their game, and reaching out directly to readers,” he asserts.

“In the old and present world, the descending line is: author / publisher / retailer / consumer. In the new world, we have to link with consumers at each level via digital media and the internet. We are mixing and merging media opportunities.”

He noted that at Allen & Unwin Australia, there is an hour long meeting each morning to assess how their books are rating on BookScan – Will says there are ways to improve ratings, and publishers should be making use of these.

What works in the new world: “Getting the basics right: metadata, covers, author bios, descriptions, reviews. Ebooks go out naked to the world – give them some dressing.”

Search engine optimisation should be another goal, Will says. “Good SEO has relevance around the book or topic, and it has authority when linked to quality sites.

“Getting the basics right can cost time, but not money. Use structure – repeat key words or phrases, and repeat the communication on other relevant platforms.” Those platforms are many – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, the company website (archive everything you do is Will’s advice), YouTube and Good Reads. “You want email from customers,” he says. “Build relationships, tailor content, engage your consumers – don’t just broadcast to them – be transparent and honest. Listen to, survey and reward readers – and build your database.

“Good social media management needs to be planned and prioritised, author or publisher led, but with team structure and responsibilities. Use online management and MailChimp.”

Ishiguro’s latest novel, published 10 years after his previous book, showed both author and Will as publisher the stark difference in the ways communicating with the public had evolved. “A different world!” Ishiguro marvelled.


Nielsen Research on Consumer Behaviour

NevenaNielsen analysis of the markets is always interesting and insightful, even if it is not the good news we want to hear…

Reviewing key Nielsen research useful for publishers, Nevena Nikolic said “Becoming digital has given us more choice, we have more ways to connect and more to connect to, including digital versions and easily accessible international content,” she said. “We have never had so much information and entertainment at our fingertips.”

The ups and downs of global book sales year to date in the ten BookScan territories: NZ/AUS/US share same top title: American Sniper. Brazil/SA/NZ are all showing significant growth in volume, with the US and Spain also up. The UK/Ireland/Italy have just over 1% declines in volume on 2014.

“There is a lot of commonality across the four key BookScan markets, with the Top 10s predominantly fiction titles. American Sniper leads followed by The Girl on the Train No 2 or 3 in each market, and the latest Wimpy Kid: The Long Haulfeaturing across the four key markets.

“NZ continues our love affair with cookbooks as three titles make it into the Top 10. Volume and value are both up on 2014, though value not as much due to continuing downward pressure on Average Selling Price which is -6.8%.

“Breaking the total NZ market into three main categories: nonfiction and children’s sectors continue to drive the market growth, but fiction continuing its downward market share with volume and value both now at 23%.

“There is a downward drive on the ASP not just for the total market but across all three main categories with fiction, nonfiction and children’s titles all at six year lows.”

Digital Platforms and Updates

Wouldn’t you know it? Some of the speakers’ presentations were bedeviled by lack of synchronicity between their digital devices and the venue’s staging systems!
Pixelhouse presentation image_smallNoeline Anderson of Pixelhouse was the worst affected and we only got visual flashes of some of her presentation. Her concepts of effective visual strategy include art aesthetics, energy, and use of space. She noted the importance of the collaboration between teacher and the technical collaborator: one should not dominate the other, it should be an equal partnership to get the best results.

Pixelbooks’ Stephen Clarke talked about technology now shaping and changing industries – but always with the same message of excitement and innovation.

Kim Dovey of Book Design said that there are now solutions within InDesign that ‘future proof’ projects currently being worked on.

InfoGrid Pacific’s Andrew Crisp wryly noted that no two publishers have the same expectations. XHTML5 was their format of choice, which he said was ‘future proof in the foreseeable future’. InfoGrid now has a roadmap for titles enroute to digital, one which meets all the challenges of BYO Devices.

The irrepressible Henry Rosenbloom …

legendary Melbourne publisher tackles the international book trade from Australia 

Henry RosenbloomHenry Rosenbloom was once ‘a gentleman publisher in the country’ – his description – outside of Melbourne. That followed his involvement in the family printing firm which he steered in the direction of book production, but meant he only had time to publish one book a year. So it was back to Melbourne to set up Scribe Publications in 1996.

Scribe got underway slowly at first then rapidly as the list built. Today it is a highly successful publisher, with Henry a known character and vital part of Aussie publishing. Now he is taking Scribe to the international scene… but we will pick up on that later.

Scribe Publications became newsworthy when in 1999 he bought Shantaram, bank robber and heroin addict Gregory David Roberts’ tale of prison escape in Australia and subsequent life in the slums of Mumbai and took it to local and international best seller status.

Henry grew the company ‘3 – 6 – 12 – 20 titles a year’ from that point. Scribe now publishes around 60 titles each year, and is perhaps unusual that half the list features books added to the list from overseas publisher via rights deals.

But that wasn’t good enough for the feisty Henry. He has waged a decade long campaign to break the aggregation of UK and Commonwealth rights as one deal, going as far as to tell UK publishers they should not be entitled to Commonwealth rights and that they are “Starving the former Empire of resources so they can feed off it.”

“I’ve been fighting battles for five or so years; you can win the odd battle but never the war.” Anyone else may have been satisfied with the limited gains, but not Henry. Two years ago he opened a Scribe Publications office in London and employed former Granta editor Philip Gwyn Jones and two others to grow their international rights list.

Henry is still identifying international authors of newsmaking publications in health, popular science, neuroscience and parenting and buying world English speaking rights (if he can ‘pick up for almost nothing’.) One of the latest to catch his attention is a recent German title which translates as ‘Charming Gut.’ It is all about the digestive system and sold more than a million copies in Germany. (yes, gut= human digestive system.)

Henry sums up his strategy in approaching the London publishing scene as ‘defensive and offensive’. “But intellectually and experientially you have to go through London.” A war you feel that will be waged until Henry wins.

cnz-standard-logo-gold-200wPANZ would like to extend its thanks to Creative New Zealand for supporting Will Atkinson and Henry Rosenbloom to attend the PANZ International Summit through the Te Manu Ka Tau / Flying Friends international visitors programme.

Luminary publishing company heads are PANZ International Summit speakers

By News

PANZ logoThe PANZ International Summit 2015 in Auckland on Thursday 14 May is only a month away, so act now to take part the one day conference with publishing supremos Jose Borghino, Will Atkinson and Henry Rosenbloom.

Past International Summits have been inspiring and challenging and brought a wider perspective to our local industry, so they’ve become not-to-be-missed events. Don’t miss this opportunity which also has networking breakfast events held separately for trade and for education publishers.

Here in New Zealand we are now part of the international book world as exporters of books and other publishing endeavours, so this is an opportunity to find new avenues and increase sales to other countries.

Register here for this invaluable opportunity. It is held immediately prior to the Auckland Writers Festival so it is better timed than a usual stand alone event.

Earlybird rates are $250 + GST for PANZ members to receive the early bird rate register by 17 April. (The later rate is $295 + GST).

Non member rates are slightly higher at $350 + GST for Earlybird, $395 + GST.

Gain insights into the current international publishing trends and improve your company’s ability to compete on the world market without leaving the country!

PANZ International Summit 2015 International Presenters

Jose BorghinoJosé Borghino was appointed to the newly created position of IPA Policy Director in March 2013. His current responsibilities include policy development, organizing the IPA’s Freedom to Publish Prize, managing the IPA’s activities in the Educational Publishing sector, overseeing the ‘What Works?’ conference and administering the Educational Publishers Forum. José came to the IPA from the Australian Publishers Association (APA), where, as Manager of Industry Representation, he was in charge of policy development, public affairs and government lobbying. His previous professional roles include being executive director of the Australian Society of Authors, lecturer in journalism and creative industries at the University of Sydney, editor of the online news magazine, and senior positions at the Literature Board of the Australia Council. He was the founding editor of EDITIONS Review.

Henry RosenbloomHenry Rosenbloom is the founder and publisher of Scribe. A son of Holocaust survivors, he was born in Paris, France, in 1947, was educated at the University of Melbourne, where he became the first full-time editor of the student newspaper, Farrago, and later worked in the Whitlam Labour government for Dr Moss Cass. The author of Politics and the Media (1976), he has been a book printer, freelance journalist, book reviewer, and occasional newspaper op-ed and feature writer. In 2010 he was presented with a George Robertson award for service to the publishing industry.

Scribe has grown from a one-man band publishing ‘serious non-fiction’ to a multi-award-winning company with over a dozen staff members in two locations — Melbourne, Australia and London, England — and a scout  in New York.

Scribe publishes around 65 non-fiction and fiction titles annually in Australia and about 40 in the United Kingdom.

Will AtkinsonWill Atkinson was appointed managing director and publisher of Atlantic Books in the U.K last October. Prior to this, Will spent two decades at Faber, most recently as sales and marketing director, and was the brains behind a number of highly significant initiatives for them.

Will was also instrumental in the establishment of the Independent Alliance which is a global alliance of independent UK publishers and their international partners who share a common vision of editorial excellence, original, diverse publishing, and innovation in marketing and commercial success.

Atlantic Books is an independent British publishing house. It was founded in February 2000 and published its first book in May 2001. It has since developed a list that has a world-wide reputation for quality, originality and breadth, and includes fiction, history, politics, memoir and current affairs. It won ‘Imprint and Editor of the Year’ at the British Books Awards in 2005 and 2009, and was ‘Independent Publisher of the Year’ in 2009.

In 2009 Atlantic Books entered a partnership with Australia’s largest independent publisher Allen & Unwin. Atlantic Books are proud to represent key Allen & Unwin titles from their adult list in the UK.

For more information about the PANZ International Summit contact Ka Meechan on

Iconic warehouse sends last dispatches

By News
Random house warehouse staff

Warehouse staff around part of the April new title release: Back, left to right: Masami Ichikawa, Doug Hollinger, Ria Brown, Angela Paterson, Jayden Connolly (warehouse manager) Chris Sorenson. Front left to right: Nadine Hurley, Judith Carr, Mieko Ichikawa, Analyn Hollinger, Dawn Napper, Ron Edlin, Ray Hurley

Freezing in winter, scorching in summer, who would want to work in a cavernous aircraft-hangar-size book warehouse? Yet many of Random House New Zealand’s excellent, experienced warehouse team have worked either at Random House or other publishers’ warehouses for 20 years or more.

Distribution manager Jill Ewing has 15 years in her role – one which comes to an end, officially, on 31 March. Sales, management, publicity and other staff have already left the building for Penguin Random House offices in Albany, so one floor has that Marie Celeste feeling already, but the warehouse is still surprisingly well stocked and bustling. There’s still the April releases to go out – they’ll be packed in advance but billed and dispatched early in April.

Random’s reputation for their dispatch services has been legendary in the trade – when the Nielsen Awards for best dispatch were handed out, Random was almost always on the receiving end. The warehouse also was the distributor for nine other publishers of varying sizes.

One of the ‘nearly finished’ closing down jobs has been gathering and sending stock to those publishers’ new warehouses. It is fair to say none would have moved if there had been a choice. “What a great job they did,” says Neil Hyndman at Hyndman Publishing. And that is from someone who knows – Neil previously did his own distribution, but moved to Random House two and a half years ago.

VUP’s Craig Gamble joked that “We went from Random House sobbing – they were marvelous, and all the booksellers liked them!”

Bookseller David Hedley said RH’s warehouse service had been “Incredible, amazing – the trade will miss them and their overnight service. It is a sad moment, but another stepping stone of change. When I was first a bookseller it was all indent from England for stock,” he quips. “Now it is from Australia!”

Gecko Press’ Julia Marshall also credits lessons learned from Jill Ewing as important to her business. “Jill taught me a lot about stock turn, and trained me to keep good levels of inventory!”

“Te Papa Press enjoyed almost a decade of superb support from Random House New Zealand and remain immensely proud of the partnership. Experts at every level from leadership to sales to accounts to warehousing, Random were consistent bookselling award-winners for a reason, and to watch their team in action was impressive, right down to the very last pallet relocation,” said Te Papa Press publisher Claire Murdoch. “We extend our aroha, thanks and good wishes to all their expert staff, past and present.”

JillCroppedJill (pictured left) says that warehousing and distribution had its own calendar rhythm through the year. The former sales rep and customer service manager for HarperCollins NZ supervised a regular two releases each month, the main one in the first week and a second smaller dispatch in week three.

But Random House dispatch was also famous for its speedy turnaround of customer orders. Warehouse staff shared the buzz and rose to the challenge of promptly dispatching major best sellers – The Da Vinci Code being one, and more recently the Fifty Shades of Grey titles.

They were also known to receive bestsellers in the morning and dispatch stock the same day – a feat few book local warehouses could match, especially at those volumes.

Jayden Connolly, the Warehouse Manager, and other key warehouse staff Doug Hollinger, Ray Hurley, Chris Sorenson and Raewyn Wynyard have all been 20 plus years on the Random warehouse team.

There will be a dinner for warehouse staff as part of the wind down, and probably a morning tea or two for suppliers and colleagues, but meanwhile there is work to be done, so the warehouse has the same purposeful bustle as ever.

Asked what the hardest part of her distribution manager role has been, Jill says “The most challenging thing is what we are doing now. The publishers we distribute for have had all their stock go in many directions, and one is yet to move.”

Making a splash in Taipei

By News, TIBE


Taiwanese children sit enthralled by the performance of Ngā Kete Tuku Iho.

Crowds thronging the pavilion, strong turnouts for author events, publishers tied up in meeting after meeting: the Taipei International Book Exhibition is proving a busy experience for the New Zealand contingent.

The large Guest of Honour pavilion has been standing room for a number of cultural performances, with hundreds showing up for performances by Ngā Kete Tuku Iho’s performance group and its wood carvers also drawing many onlookers.



The author programme at the pavilion have been well attended by a broad cross-section of Taiwanese readers and students, with local hosts and translators conveying New Zealand books and writing to the audiences. Sessions on Friday began in the morning and carried on well into the evening. Words and Pictures session with (l-r) Sarah Wilkins, Mark Sommerset, Jenny Bornholdt, Gavin Bishop and moderator, Taiwanese children’s author Candy Yen.

Exhibitors on the stand are reporting good interest from their Taiwanese and other regional counterparts, with both education and trade publishers sourcing some encouraging prospects for rights and direct distribution.

TIBE continues into its busiest period over this weekend, and visitor numbers look to be up over previous years – helped by some unseasonably fine winter weather and, we hope, by the Kiwi drawcard.

New Zealand makes spectacular Taipei debut

By News, TIBE
Stand small

The New Zealand Guest of Honour Pavilion

New Zealand’s landmark Guest of Honour participation at the Taipei International Book Exhibition is underway.

Muriwai Ihakara, Creative New Zealand’s Senior Manager Māori Engagement, blessed the national stand in the Taipei World Trade Center on Wednesday morning with a large delegation of New Zealand and Taiwanese publishers, authors, illustrators and officials in attendance.


Ngā Kete Tuku Iho carver Arekatera Maihi

After the official opening, Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou spent time on the New Zealand stand with his large entourage – taking time to peruse the book displays and the live exhibition of Māori carving by Ngā Kete Tuku Iho carvers Arekatera Maihi and James Teepa.

Taiwan’s Minister of Culture Hung Meng-chi had represented the government the previous evening at the Gala Welcome Dinner hosted by the New Zealand Commerce and Industry Office (NZCIO) Taipei, in the city’s Grand Hyatt Hotel.

In a speech to the more than 200 guests, Minister Hung praised the cordial relations between New Zealand and Taiwan, and expressed his hope that the Guest of Honour programme would deepen our exchange of cultural relations.

Gala dinner

Ngā Kete Tuku Iho performers at the Gala Welcome Dinner

NZCIO Director Si’alei Van Toor, Publishers Association of New Zealand President Sam Elworthy, distinguished author Witi Ihimaera, Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and Creative New Zealand Chief Executive Stephen Wainwright also addressed the gathering.

The fair’s first day is seeing a busy flow of visitors to the New Zealand stand, with well-attended author sessions and publishers engaged in meetings with Taiwanese and other Asian counterparts.

Rounding out the day was a networking reception for education publishers, showcasing fine New Zealand wines.

Saturday night in Taipei and the cool kids are at the bookstore

By News, TIBE

Michael Forsythe reports in the New York Times:

It is late night on a Saturday and the floor is packed. On one side, two female fashion models huddle together, whispering. Across the room, a group of men cast furtive glances at other patrons from a raised platform.

Quiet, please. This is no dance club. That is so Hong Kong. So New York.
In Taipei, Taiwan, the cool people are at the Esilite Bookstore on Dunhua South Road, open 24 hours a day.

Lena Lin, 28, is one of the models. She is sitting on the floor, reading a translation of Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In.” Next to her is her friend Esther Yang, 27, skimming through a Chinese version of “Notes on Directing” by Frank Hauser and Russell Reich. The bookstore has a longstanding policy: Stay as long as you like, read as much as you want, just don’t spill coffee on the books. Catnaps are fine. No purchase necessary.

But purchase they do. At a time when many bookstores in the United States are struggling in the face of an onslaught from the online retailer Amazon, Eslite is thriving. It has 43 stores in Taiwan and one in Hong Kong. The company has plans to open two branches in mainland China this year, in Shanghai and Suzhou. Sales rose more than 15 percent in 2013 in its listed arm, and profits are rising as well.

One secret to Eslite’s success is that it is far more than a bookstore. While the Borders chain, now defunct, in the United States featured coffee shops, Eslite stores are more like self-contained shopping malls. About 60 percent of sales come from books. The rest comes from items like food, kitchenware, music, wine, jewelry, watches, movies, toys — sold in shops interspersed throughout the bookstores. One branch in Taipei has a movie theater.

Another reason for its success is the character of the city where the company was founded in 1989. As in many Asian cities, people work late into the night, and a company survey in 1999 suggested that many people would frequent a 24-hour bookstore. The busiest time for the bookstore is between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., according to Timothy Wang, a company spokesman.

“People really wanted to come and read books late at night,” Mr. Wang said in a telephone interview.

At 11 p.m., the checkout line was about 20 people deep. By that time, Ms. Lin and Ms. Yang had already been at Eslite for four hours. They started with dinner in the bookstore’s food court, bought a calendar, then went upstairs to read.

“People in Taiwan, particularly in Taipei, are really calm. They really like to read books,” Ms. Yang said. “This is entertainment for us.”


By Media Releases, News


Open hearts, Open minds, Open books
發現紐西蘭 樂讀新世界
Ngākau aotea, Ngākau māhorahora, Pukapuka wherawhera.

New Zealand is to be the Guest of Honour at the 2015 Taipei International Book Exhibition (TIBE 15), and is taking advantage of the opportunity to promote the country in as many ways as possible. The Guest of Honour Programme, managed by the Publishers Association of New Zealand, will have a Visiting Author programme, a Cultural Programme, a substantial publisher presence (both trade and educational publishers selling rights to NZ material) and other yet-to-be announced elements.

The initial selection for the Visiting Author Programme for TIBE 2015 (which is held in February) is highlighted by Booker Prize winner Eleanor Catton and Dame Joy Cowley. Joining them are Gavin Bishop, Jenny Bornholdt, Paul Cleave, Joan Druett, Witi Ihimaera, Heather McAllister, Mark Sommerset, Judith White and Sarah Wilkins. Other writers and/or illustrators will be added to the programme. The programme is funded by Creative New Zealand and is in partnership with the Taipei Book Fair Foundation.

The criteria for the initial invitation is that an author must have a book available in the Taiwanese market at the time of TIBE 2015 and a Taiwanese publisher must support the author’s visit with co-operative events. The authors will be involved in a series events at the NZ Pavilion in the fair exhibition hall and in other venues in conjunction with their Taiwanese publishers.

The Cultural Programme is headed by the popular Te Puia kapa haka group from Te Puia in Rotorua. They will perform daily at the TIBE and other venues, while a traditional Māori carver, with help from members of the group, will carve from a large log of Taiwanese wood.

Kevin Chapman, Project Director for NZ Guest of Honour says: “The Visiting Author Programme and the Cultural Programme are the cornerstone of the Guest of Honour project. We are pleased to have such a diverse group of successful and talented authors and performers to showcase New Zealand at TIBE 2015.”

Paoping Huang, Director of TBFF says: “We look forward to welcoming the New Zealand writers, illustrators and performers to TIBE 2015.  The Visiting Author Programme will introduce new writers to Taiwanese readers, and welcome back some old friends.”

TIBE opens on Wednesday 11 February 2015 and closes on Monday 16 February. TIBE 2014 attracted almost half a million visitors and 648 publisher exhibitors from around the world. TBFF will offer free entry for students for the 2015 event.

The Guest of Honour Programme at TIBE 2015 is supported by Creative NZ, Education NZ, The Publishers Association of NZ, NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the NZ Ministry for Culture and Heritage. The Author Programme is overseen by a Reference Group that includes representatives of funding agencies, the NZ Society of Authors, and other specialist advisors.

For more information contact Karen McKenzie, kmacPR,  027 693 9044

Frankfurt Book Fair 2014: Challenging, quieter, but still new business opportunities to be found

By News


Frankfurt Stand 2014_croppedAs Frankfurt drew to a close last weekend, PANZ News emailed the publishers on the New Zealand stand as asked for feedback. Here are their candid, mostly brief, reports:

Julia Marshall, Gecko Press:

Julia-MarshallWe are now on the last day of the fair and I am kind of exhausted which is as it should be. It has been good! Solid and steady is the report from the rights agents I meet and my own rights agent says the same.

My most fun meeting was bumping into one of the German illustrators we publish on the train on the way home at 1.30 in the morning (after being at the Frankfurter Hof with Sam Elworthy and he had some news that will change the line-up for our next year’s books!

Tracy Strudley, Global Education Systems:

Frankfurt 2014_Tracy Strudley_croppedFrankfurt still proves to be the leading book fair where new business opportunities are started. GES managed in excess of 20 solid appointments, with new business opportunities presenting themselves in Chile and Brazil.

We confirmed new product with existing distributors and partners and increased focus and interest in Marie Clay’s Professional Development titles.

The New Zealand stand continues to look smart and professional with its current design and branding. Sarah Ropata and her husband Ropes did a fine job! All the NZ publishers really appreciate their focus and passion for our country brand and our content.

Linda Cassells, Calico Publishing:

Linda cassells_cropped

Without a doubt the highlight for me was being presented with the German edition of our book Dealing Daily with Dementia. I met the publisher through a chance recommendation at last year’s fair and one year later the book is in my hand. You cannot match the thrill and satisfaction of that moment. The German publishers are delighted with the exceptional endorsements for the book they have received before publication in their market.

Frankfurt is also about making new contacts, so I was also pleased to be invited to the Russian publishers party held at the Frankfurter Hof, a beautiful nineteenth century hotel in the heart of the city. The lavish hospitality and networking was just amazing.

New to me was the emergence of Google Analytics in a publisher’s assessment process for a project or an author, especially among the Americans. They want authors with established online platforms. But I was struck by the number of new business models that are emerging in the current environment. The models have probably always been there, but there’s a greater openness to trying new things and being creative about how to work cooperatively together.

The channels to market have definitely become more challenging, but quality books will always find their readers.

Kevin Chapman, Upstart Press:

Kevin Chapman_NEW

I think I had a very good fair. The hall was slightly quiet but the appointments were high quality, and while it takes a fair time to know how many leads will eventuate, it feels very good at the moment.



Karen McKenzie, Little Green Frog Publishing:

Karen McKenzieAuthor Dr Libby met with 30 publishers from around the world on the company’s very first visit to Frankfurt. They now have significant interest from publishers in the US, Canada, UK, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland, Iceland and Taiwan.

In most cases there is interest from multiple publishers in these various markets, so I will be following up from now on to determine the best fit for Dr Libby in each market. Dr Libby was thrilled with the positive response.

Rachel Scott, Otago University Press:

Rachel Scott otago042589This was my first Frankfurt and I was very apprehensive. I found the first day or so completely overwhelming but eventually I found my way and started enjoying myself. Some very useful meetings, chance encounters, and even a handful of good prospects. At the beginning I wanted to run away; by the end I was sad it was over!

Fantastic support for this newbie from all the veterans on the NZ stand. Sore feet, but!


 Sam Elworthy, Auckland University Press:

Sam Elworthy

I thought Frankfurt 2014 was enormously energising. A little shrinkage in Hall 8 and all of us will be off to Hall 6 next year, closer to the French and Italians which is a good thing. The Finns were country of honour (Finland. Cool) but many said that New Zealand was cooler. Actually, only one person said that, to the media, it was me, diplomatic incident.* Lively stand, one of my busiest fairs with a handshake sale for our anthology of Maori poetry Puna Wai Korero; a bidding fight lining up for Helen Sword’s Writers Diet and Birds of the Pacific, and lots more.

*Interviewed by Publishing Perspectives at the Fair and published in their daily bulletin here.

Peter Dowling, Oratia Media:

Peter Dowling_cropped

The fair kept me pretty busy, but the aisles were noticeably less busy than in previous years. Which gave me a bit more time than usual to talk with people and do follow-ups. We celebrated the launch of our co-edition of Christopher Pugsley’s revised Gallipoli with Frontline Books, and a promising start to our North American distribution with International Publishers Marketing.

‘Difficult’ is the most commonly used adjective for book markets everywhere; you need to be playing the long game.

Sarah Ropata, NZ stand manager:


The stand was well attended this year, and our people all reported good solid meetings. The floor seemed quieter in terms of foot-flow but that said, the walk up traffic seemed more focused and serious. New Zealand is still enjoying excellent PR off the back of Guest of Honour year, with a great centre page piece all about our presence setting a bench mark in one of the Fair Dailies. The big talk in Hall 8 was of the impending move to Hall 6 next year – which is being greeted with support from most. We will report back on that as the plans become clearer to us.

Guest of Honour successes acknowledged

By News

gw-1212-buchmesse-02Being FBF’s featured market provides exposure but it is a sizeable investment was the tag line on Roger Tagholm’s story for The Bookseller daily at Frankfurt. The journalist interviewed Kevin Chapman and Iceland’s Halldor Gudmundsson about their countries’ respective Guest of Honour campaigns.

“When New Zealand swept into the Frankfurt Book Fair as Guest of Honour in 2012 with its haka, its musicians, its dancers, some 50 publishers, 80 authors and a pavilion whose dark, magical, starlight-and-water installation took people’s breath away, the excitement and sense of discovery was palpable.

This was FBF’s Guest of Honour programme at its very best…” wrote Tagholm.
Interviewing Kevin Chapman, he asked about anything tangible in a business sense that was achieved.

Chapman listed the positives: smashing the target to get 100 titles translated into German, cultural programme acts being invited back to Europe, Food and Wine set targets they achieved and a change in the way Germans saw New Zealand culture and a subsequent rise in tourism.  Read the full article here.

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