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By News

A new report from the Publishers Association of New Zealand (PANZ) has revealed Kiwis still vastly prefer print books, with sales of physical books growing while demand for ebooks has shrunk.

Despite significant investment by publishers in digital formats, ebooks make up just 7.2% of total trade and education sales in New Zealand.

The New Zealand Publishing Market Size Report 2019, completed by Nielsen Book Research for PANZ, shows that in the trade market (books for the general consumer) print book sales increased by +7.1% in 2019, while digital books declined by -4.5%.

“The report confirms that New Zealanders continue to prefer the experience that a physical book has to offer,” says PANZ president Julia Marshall.

The report provides a snapshot of an industry that was in good heart at the end of 2019, experiencing a +6% increase in total revenue on the previous year. An impressive 21.1 million books were sold in the country that year.

But the closure of physical and online bookshops in Level Four lockdown from late March 2020 caused a -20% decline in domestic book sales to the end of May 2020.

Consumers clearly missed access to books: Nielsen reports that in the second week of Level 2, domestic revenue through bookstores was up +22% compared to the same week in 2019, although sales overall are still down year-on-year.

The book trade is an important contributor to New Zealand’s economy, generating $292.2 million in total revenue last year with content exported around the world.

Last year New Zealand publishers issued 2662 new books, accounting for 23% of all domestic sales. That figure was up +11% on 2018.

The report also shows a renewed interest in books written in te Reo Māori (either directly or in translation), with these titles seeing +61% growth in unit sales over 2018.

“In the post Covid-19 world, we hope to consolidate the gains made as many consumers rediscovered the pleasure of reading, at a time when they needed it most,” Marshall says.

“The publishing industry is determined to encourage new readers and serve existing ones — providing them with the education, entertainment, reflection and challenge that good books offer.”


Book publishers struggling to keep Kiwi stories alive through Covid-19

By Media Releases, News

Kiwi book publishers are struggling to regroup after seeing sales obliterated in April.

The Publishers Association of New Zealand/Te Rau o Tākupu (PANZ) says members are reporting zero or minimal sales for the month of the Level 4 lockdown.

The risk to the book industry is at its greatest since the Global Financial Crisis.

“Publishers, along with our authors, illustrators and booksellers, are caught up in a negative spiral,” says Julia Marshall, PANZ President.

Unlike in most countries, in New Zealand books were not classed as essential items during Level 4.

“Online sales of books made a massive difference to sustaining publishers in many markets, including Australia,” Marshall says.

“While New Zealand publishers have remained at work remotely, preparing books for 2020 and 2021, they couldn’t sell print books until Level 3 permitted online and click & collect sales.”

Despite some short-term rescheduling due to the lockdown, Marshall says that PANZ members are on track to produce many fine books this year.

Publishers have also stepped up to make content available digitally to schools and families, recognising the vital role of books in home-based learning and personal wellbeing.

Educational publishers entrusted design files for many textbooks to the Ministry of Education so it could print and despatch books to schools, ensuring students could go on studying.

Others have given free licence to libraries, booksellers and schools across the country to provide readings and content from New Zealand books during the lockdown period.

Now that it’s ok to shop for books, Marshall encouraged New Zealanders to support the Kiwi booksellers and authors who like all of us are facing major challenges with the Covid-19 epidemic .

“This is the year to buy New Zealand books, if you want to be sure our books are still around in the future.”



About the Publishers Association of New Zealand

PANZ represents educational, scholarly and trade publishers in New Zealand, from large international publishers to local independent presses. The book publishing industry produces over 2,000 New Zealand titles a year, contributing almost $400 million to GDP.

For any queries please contact:

Craig Gamble, Councillor

Email:   Tel: 021 402 977

Catapult Sustainability Leadership Programme scholarship recipient announced

By News

Photo credit: Tom Donald

We are delighted to announce that Alex Hedley, Publisher at Harper Collins has been awarded a scholarship from PANZ to participate in the recently advertised Sustainability Leadership Programme run by Catapult. Alex will be supported by a small group of publishers focused on environmental sustainability and mentored by a member of PANZ Council.

Alex said, ‘I’m so pleased to be awarded this sustainability leadership programme scholarship. It will be a huge privilege to help map the strengths and weaknesses of our industry at this critical time. I believe we can make quick progress, and I feel confident we can put in place guidelines to ensure the environmental sustainability of the work we do, for the futures of our authors, our booksellers and our readers. I’m so pleased PANZ has taken this initiative, and I can’t wait to get stuck in!’

We wish Alex all the very best with the course and look forward to working with him on this vital issue.


Catapult designs and delivers the Sustainability Leadership Programme on behalf of the Sustainable Business Council (SBC). The SBC is a member organisation made up of organisations committed to making significant progress on environmental, social, and economic sustainability issues.  More details on the programme can be found here.

PANZ Workshops round-up

By News

It was a full house at the PANZ Promotional Writing and Non-Fiction Editing workshops held in Auckland last month.  With around 50 industry professionals attending both the morning and afternoon workshops the wide range of subjects up for discussion were enthusiastically received by all of our participants.

The morning session featured a frank and open panel discussion, led by Becky Innes, Publicity and Marketing Manager at Penguin Random House, looking at book publicity and how to get your book noticed. Joining Becky on the panel were freelance publicist Rebecca Simpson, Tania Mackenzie-Cooke, Publicity Manager at Hachette New Zealand and Spinoff Books Editor Catherine Woulfe.

It turns out that the fancy wrapped book and box of chocolates might not be the best way to get publicity for your book.  Doing your research and targeting the right person, and at the right time (before the meagre books budget has been spent) is key according to Catherine Woulfe.

Michelle Hurley, Publisher, Allen & Unwin and previously editor of Canvas Magazine, Weekend and Spy then gave her insights on how to make a killer pitch and draft press releases that really work.

The morning sessions concluded with an engaging and interactive workshop from master blurb writer Madeleine Collinge.  Participants were encouraged to bring along a copy of a book with ‘good’ and one with a ‘bad’ blurb and then had the opportunity to rewrite the ‘bad’ copy using the tips and tricks from Madeline’s tutorial.

Following lunch, we headed straight into the Non-Fiction Editing Workshop, which began with a lively panel exploring trends in NZ non-fiction publishing. The discussion was expertly chaired by Claire Murdoch, Head of Publishing at Penguin Random House who was joined by Jenny Hellen, Director NZ Publishing Allen & Unwin, Alex Hedley, Publisher at Harper Collins and Ashleigh Young, Editor at Victoria University Press. The panel generously shared their insights into what’s hot in non-fiction right now and shared some of their publishing highlights of recent times.

Then Stuart Lipshaw, Managing Editor at Penguin Random House NZ led an insightful and fascinating discussion on some of the nitty gritty aspects of behind the scenes publishing. He was joined by Leanne McGregor, Editor at Allen & Unwin and Anna Bowbyes, Managing Editor at Massey University Press.

The formal part of the workshop concluded with an interactive workshop on copy-editing and rewriting, where participants were given support and advice on honing their skills from Leanne McGregor, Stuart Lipshaw and Jenny Hellen.

Finally, the day was wrapped up with a glass of wine and nibbles as participants took the opportunity to mingle and chat informally before braving the Auckland traffic.

We’d like to thank everybody who attended and our wonderful presenters who made the day such a success. We hope to run run a similar workshop in Wellington later in the year, so watch this space for further details.

Publisher reports from Guadalajara International Book Fair 2019

By News

The full team starting the day at Feria Internacional del Libro de Guadalajara, Mexico. Brian Morris, Executive Director, Huia Publishers, Charlotte Gibbs, Publisher, Toitoi Media, Peter Dowling, Publisher, Oratia Media, with stand assistants Max Zecchini Dowling and Alejandra Elena Delgadillo Aceves

Charlotte Gibbs, Publisher, Toitoi Media reports: 

On Saturday, I returned from the Guadalajara Book Fair – la Feria Internacionál del Libro de Guadalajara – which was held at the Expo Guadalajara Centre from 30 November to 8 December. Organised by the University of Guadalajara, it is the second largest book fair in the world and the largest in Latin America. It was an incredible experience – not only was it my first-ever book fair, it was also my first visit to Mexico. I was lucky enough to be guided by veteran publishers – Peter Dowling and Alessandra Zecchini from Oratia Media and Brian Morris from Huia Publishers. As an added bonus, Peter and Alessandra’s son Max assisted on the New Zealand stand, along with Guadalajara-native and recent publishing graduate Alejandra Elena Delgadillo Aceves.

Before arriving in Guadalajara, we spent a few days in Mexico City. At the invitation of the New Zealand Embassy, we met with people from the Mexican Ministry of Education and Ministry of Culture to talk about the New Zealand experience of revitalising an indigenous language. There are 68 indigenous languages in Mexico and over 30 are under immediate threat of extinction. The current government – only one year into a six year term – has made saving them a priority. Brian shared his insights into the Māori experience and initiatives to ensure the survival of te reo Māori. There was a real sense of comradeship and connection, and the exchange of ideas and challenges was heartfelt. It was a privilege to have been there.

We then headed to Guadalajara for the fair. The first few days were overwhelming and, while Peter introduced Brian to publishers, agents and old friends, I tried to get my head around it all. Toitoi has just published a Latin American Special Issue, translated into Spanish and Portuguese and it was well received. Brian presented some of Huia’s beautiful publications, including national award winners The Bomb and Legacy. As well as showcasing his own books, Peter also represented some incredible work from other New Zealand publishers. His long experience of Latin America and this fair, and fluency in Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese, was such an asset to the NZ stand and everyone who came by was made very welcome.

It is lovely to have an opportunity to reflect on my time in Mexico – the colour of the cities, the kindness of its people and the intensity of the fair made it very exciting. Everyone said that it is the very best book fair on the publishing calendar, governed by the warmth and friendliness of the Mexican people and their culture. More than anything, I am grateful for the opportunity to get to know my Kiwi colleagues better and for the chance to zoom out and consider my business from new perspectives. It was professional development at its very best. Every conversation sparked ideas, analysis and a realisation of the enormous opportunities out in the world for New Zealand publishers. It would be fantastic to have an even bigger presence there next year!

2019 Publishers Picks

By News


2019 has been a year of exceptional publishing in NZ and to celebrate we asked our members to pick the book they were most thrilled to publish. We also flipped the coin and asked which other publisher’s title they wished they’d commissioned.  There are a few commonalities with books embracing the diversity of New Zealand’s history among the favourites.

Don Long, Publisher, Lift Education E Tū

Lift Education was thrilled to publish Te Tiriti o Waitangi | The Treaty of Waitangi in 2019.

New Zealand’s first non-fiction reorua (dual-language) graphic novel about our founding treaty — a collaboration between Toby Morris (Pākekā), Ross Calman (Māori), Mark Derby (Pākehā), and Piripi Walker (Māori) that demonstrates just how far we’ve come as a society since Witi Ihimaera and I put together Into the World of Light: An Anthology of Māori Writing back in 1982. What a difference four decades can make. Now, it’s almost unthinkable that such an important part of our history could be tackled solely in English.

The Herald says Te Tiriti o Waitangi | The Treaty of Waitangi is destined to become a classic. Ako calls it “exceptional”. Magpies says it’s “equally subversive, engaging, and exciting.”  The Project and Booksellers New Zealand say, “It should be in every home.”

The book I would most like to see published in the future is a reorua edition of Mona Tracy’s historical novel Rifle and Tomahawk; a novel for young adults that was so far ahead of its time first published by Whitcombe and Tombs in 1927.

Mona Tracy was an extraordinary New Zealand writer and journalist. She and her brother went to Paeroa School and graduated fluent in te reo Māori. As a journalist, she wrote for newspapers such as the Auckland Weekly News, the Weekly Press, and the Sun. She was the secretary of a refugee committee in Christchurch that helped people who were escaping fascism.

In her novel, she takes us into the midst of a vicious guerrilla war being fought in the North Island — the war that featured Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Tūruki and the Pai Mārire forces fighting elements of Ngāti Porou and colonial troops. Her teenage protagonists are both Pākehā and Māori. We aren’t always sure which side we’re on. Right and wrong quickly become blurred.

As we move into an era of finally teaching our history honestly to every child in our schools, we are going to need many more bilingual writers such as Mona Tracy — and will they need to be equally brave when they tell our stories. But will they brave enough to be ahead of their time, too?

Mophead cover imageSam Elworthy, Director, Auckland University Press

The book most thrilled to publish, Mophead: How Your Difference Makes A Difference by Selina Tusitala Marsh. One of those great voyages of discovery for author and publisher as Selina found her hand, her line, her voice to tell her own story in words and pictures.

What would most like to have published: Chris McDowell, We Are Here. I love maps and Chris is a wild genius, so I love this book’s inventive approach to understanding Aotearoa visually.

Jenny Hellen, Publishing Director, Allen & Unwin NZ

It’s so hard to choose just one book – it’s been a year of riches for us: Magnolia Kitchen, The Book of Knowing, A Note Through the Wire, Someone’s Wife, Jacinda Ardern and many others. But the book that most has my heart this year is The Adventures of Tupaia – it’s a crucial yet overlooked story for Aotearoa. Mat Tait’s artwork is phenomenal, Courtney Sina Meredith’s text sings, and our collaboration with Auckland Museum was terrific – we all feel so proud of this book, which was created with much aroha and care.

The book I’d have liked to have published is Selina Tusitala Marsh’s Mophead. What a cool approach to a memoir and that is my favourite cover of the year.

Peter Dowling, Publisher, Oratia Books

Possibly because it’s the last of our 2019 books, and certainly for sentimental reasons, I was thrilled to publish Shipwrecked: New Zealand maritime disasters this year. We were working on the project with Gavin McLean when he passed away in April, and it was truly a labour of love by Ky Gentry to pick up the reins and complete a book that we know that old bibliophile Gavin would have been proud to have in hand. Including superb colour prints by the now 96-year-old artist Eric Heath adds to my feeling that this is the final word on wrecks and sinkings around our coasts.

And it’s definitely because I’m an atlas nut that among a fine field this year, the book I’d really like to have published is We Are Here: An Atlas of Aotearoa by Chris McDowall and Tim Denee (Massey University Press). So great to see that printed maps and imaginative renderings of data are still possible in this digitally mapped-out age, and it’s done beautifully!

Lynette Evans, Publisher, Scholastic NZ

Scholastic is delighted to extend the legacy of New Zealand’s all-time favourite digger by reinvigorating the much-loved and bestselling Little Yellow Digger series by Betty and Alan Gilderdale, first published in 1993. Now, for the next generation of readers, a new fleet of Little Yellow Digger adventures has begun with Betty and Alan’s son Peter having taken up the storytelling baton with a brand-new picture book in the series.

The Little Yellow Digger ABC is written with the same, perfectly attuned rhyme and rhythm of his mother’s classics. Working with a selection of his father’s original art, Peter has cleverly composed a playful Little Yellow Digger alphabet adventure, enhanced by his own hand-drawn
calligraphy alphabet that children can lift the flaps to find. Scholastic couldn’t be prouder to publish this handsome and sturdy new addition to the iconic LYD range.

Regarding what we wish we’d published, let’s be honest and say anything written by David Walliams or Jeff Kinney! Haha.

Alison Shucksmith, Publishing Manager, Hachette NZ

The book we are most thrilled to have published this year is the Edmonds My First Cookbook. With over 600 illustrations, it has been a labour of love for the entire team. The feedback from kids and grown-ups has made all that work well worth it.

As for the book we wished we had published, that is so hard. There are so many wonderful books out there that we can’t pick.

Craig Gamble, Publishing Manager, Victoria University Press

Our favourite book this year from VUP was The Absolute Book by Elizabeth Knox, and our favourite non VUP book was We Are Here: An Atlas of Aotearoa by Massey University Press.

Alex Hedley, New Zealand Publisher, HarperCollins Publishers NZ

I am so pleased to have published Perform Under Pressure by Ceri Evans this year. We all deal with pressure in our own way, but Ceri’s method is a proven formula for success for those crunchy ‘make-or-break’ moments we all have from time to time. And if it’s good enough for Richie McCaw, it’s good enough for me!

What do I envy… the first book that comes to mind when I think about other publishing this year is All of This is For You by Ruby Jones (Penguin Random House). It’s a gorgeous package and feels like the perfect response to a year that has, at times, been very distressing.

David Brash, Country Manager, New Holland Publisher (NZ)

Although we had quite a number of strong titles this year, Trevor Bentley’s “Pakeha Slaves, Maori Masters” garnered discussions not generally discussed in open forums.  Contentious. Encouraged debate and lively discussion (and was a huge seller for us).  Fourteen publishers initially rejected the manuscript (so Trevor advises).

Adrian Kinnaird, Senior Editor, Bateman

It was really hard to narrow this down to just one title, but in terms of ‘thrill’ factor, it would be Monty Souter’s Whitiki! Whiti! Whiti! E!: Maori In the First World War. It’s a colossal achievement that was years in the making for Monty and the dedicated team of editors and designers that assembled it. It’s an important chapter in our national history told on a grand scale – almost 600 pages, highlighted by rare war photography that has been colourised by Peter Jackson’s Wingnut Films. A true taonga for any bookshelf.

The book we would have most liked to have published? Bill Bryson’s The Body. Our publisher recently picked this up to read on a long-haul flight to the US, and the rest of the editorial team is keen to read it over the summer break. History, science, domestic life, Shakespeare, and now the human body – is there any subject this author can’t make a must-read?

Christine Dale, OneTree House

The book we were most thrilled to have published this year:

Hindsight: Pivotal Moments in New Zealand’s History – Mandy Hager

Because it contributes to New Zealand’s history and because the first printing sold out in under 60 days.

We would liked to have published: Mophead by Selina Tusitala Marsh.

We are wishing for: more female lead characters at ANY level but especially Junior Fiction.

Three Festivals

By News

Vanda Symon has the time of her life at UK crime festivals
by Vanda Symon

First published in the NZ Author which is the magazine for NZSA members. The New Zealand Society of Authors (PEN NZ Inc) Te Puni Kaituhi O Aotearoa  is the principal representative for the professional interests of writers. Reprinted with permission.

Old Swan Hotel, Harrogate

I couldn’t believe my luck when I received the invitation to be a guest at the Newcastle Noir Crime Festival. An invitation to an overseas festival! Me?! My publisher amped up the excitement levels even more by saying Crimefest was in Bristol the weekend after Newcastle Noir in May, how about we see if we can get you involved in that too, and we can do some events in London in the week between.

She didn’t have to ask twice.

For me, being invited to the festivals in Britain was a huge thing. It signalled a rebirth of my writing career which had been on hold while I completed my PhD in science communication. I found the intensity of research and writing for academia meant I had nothing left in the tank for creative writing so I had produced no new work in the five years that it took to become Dr Vanda. But I was in the incredibly fortunate position of having found a UK publisher for my Detective Sam Shephard novels, so they had gained a second life at the best possible time. Overkill was published in the UK in September last year, and The Ringmaster in April this year – in time to coincide with the festivals.

Then to top off an amazing year, via a very excited email from my publisher, Karen Sullivan, I was invited to The Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival at Harrogate in July. As she put it, “No one gets invited to Harrogate, Vanda!” I had heard fabulous things about Harrogate over the years, and here I was, about to experience it. Well, if I could afford it.

So, let’s talk turkey. It is all well and good being invited to overseas festivals – but as anyone who has tried to organise an overseas holiday is aware – travel is expensive. There was no way I was in a financial position to be able to get to these festivals if I was completely paying my own way. The festival organisers were not in a position to pay my airfares, and my publisher, Orenda Books, was not in a position to pay my airfares either. Fortunately there is funding available. PANZ, in association with Creative New Zealand, administer the International Promotional Fund for Literature. This fund is to assist New Zealand writers to attend international literary festivals to promote their books and awareness of New Zealand Literature. I feel extremely grateful and fortunate that I applied for and received funding for both trips. Thank you!

One of the fabulous things about having three festivals in quick succession was being able to see and appreciate the different flavour each festival had.

Newcastle Noir was a lovely, intimate festival held at the City Library in Newcastle. Its programme was a single stream line-up, with a wonderful range of topics and authors. I liked being able to attend every session I wanted. The panel I was on was “Do you come from a land down under?” – the sessions were all named after song titles – and we took the very casual antipodean approach, with spot quizzes and dishing out Toffee Pops to the crowd. As well as the fabulous panel line-up, some of the side events were great fun. I got to experience my first ever silent disco. Wasn’t going to attend that, but went along for a look – then lo and behold someone slapped some headphones on my ears, and what do you know? I boogied the night away.

CrimeFest in Bristol was a different kind of a festival – a convention where there were two to three sessions running at once, so there was a lot of choice. I had the pleasure of being on a session called “A Question of Guilt: How clear-cut is crime?”, and moderating a session on “Worldwide Police Procedurals: differences and similarities”. The convention was held in The Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel, which had a multitude of rooms and ballrooms and spaces for the huge number of participants.

Antipodean Noir panellists L-R: Vanda Symon, Stella Duffy, Jane Harper,Christian White, Craig Sisterson

Harrogate was another scale up again, but incredibly managed to feel intimate and very friendly. It was held at The Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate, famous for being the place Agatha Christie disappeared to in 1926. This grand old hotel was set up beautifully with the ballroom accommodating the single stream sessions. As well as spaces within the hotel, there were marquees and tents on the lawn set up as bars, bookshops and breakout venues. The session I was involved in – “Antipodean Noir” was packed out, with close to a thousand people there. As well as attending sessions with crime writers of great renown, a highlight was boogying away to the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers – a band consisting of crime-writing stars Val McDermid, Mark Billingham, Doug Johnston, Chris Brookmyre, Stuart Neville and Luca Veste. (Although their catch phrase is “Murdering songs for fun”, they are damn good and were invited to play Glastonbury this year.)

The personal value I got from attending these festivals was immense. Writing is so much about output, so it was wonderful being able to wallow in the festivals and experience all of this fabulous input. The writers were inspirational, thought-provoking, entertaining and occasionally alarming! I got to meet and chat with fellow authors, publishers, readers, bloggers and reviewers. I was able to step out of my life and my day job, and be Vanda the writer. My batteries were recharged.

The festivals also came at a pivotal time in my life when I was questioning what I wanted to be. It reinforced in my mind, that yes, writing is what I wanted to do, what I needed to do.

If you get the opportunity to travel to international festivals, do so. And do remember there are funding opportunities available to support this if you have been invited. Newcastle Noir, Crimefest and Harrogate were life-changing events for me – it’s been a special year.

Details of the International Promotional Fund for Literature can be found here.

Vale Bert Hingley

By News

Bert Hingley

Tributes have flooded in following the announcement of the passing of publishing great, Bert Hingley on 3 September. Friends and colleagues remember the Hodder & Stoughton publisher as a champion of New Zealand publishing, legendary for his author lunches.

Joan Rosier-Jones said “The news of the death of Bert Hingley will be a shock to many. In the 1980s Bert was editor at Hodder & Stoughton, Auckland, and he began the renaissance of fiction in the New Zealand market.

He was an important part of many authors’ lives, not just as their publisher, but as a friend and bon vivant. It was therefore a blow to many, who included writers such as those mentioned above and Maurice Shadbolt, Michael King, Philip Temple and Lloyd Jones, when Bert decided to accept a position with Hodder & Stoughton, Australia.

Most of his New Zealand authors made a point of visiting Bert and his wife, Cheryl, when visiting Sydney. They were both always hospitable and eager for news of the New Zealand literary scene. Bert Hingley will be sadly missed on both sides of the Tasman. Our condolences go out to Cheryl and their sons, Benjamin and Gabriel and family.”

NZSA CEO Jenny Nagle says she was fortunate to work with Bert: “I worked with Bert Hingley at Hodder & Stoughton NZ from 1982-1987 and again at H & S Australia from 1989-1994. At the latter, I was lucky enough to have the office beside his. I remember the joke at the time Bert crossed the ditch that several small NZ vineyards would go bust when he left the country. In the NZ years, I was so proud to champion his NZ fiction and children’s publishing list to the educational market. I remember uplifting launches for Sue McCauley, Joan Rosier-Jones, Maurice Shadbolt, Marilyn Duckworth, and Russell Hayly and the moving celebration we had for Keri Hulme, MC’ed by Michael King when she won the Booker for The Bone People. Michael presented Keri with a greenstone taonga that he had been given, saying it had now come home – it was a spine-tingling moment. Bert’s NZ fiction list won many NZ awards.”

“Bert will be remembered for his role in the New Zealand Book Trade. He participated in several trade organisations influencing the development and promotion of New Zealand books. His “publishers’ lunches” were legendary – a meeting place for discussion as well as eating and drinking together. Bert’s most significant influence on New Zealand publishing was his development of New Zealand fiction where he produced a range in a way that had not been seen before.
Bert was intellectually challenging and will be fondly remembered for his warm sociability, communication and humour.”
Bob Ross

Geoff Walker said “I mainly remember Bert Hingley playing a key role in the exciting explosion of New Zealand fiction publishing that took place in the 1980s. As the publisher at Hodder & Stoughton, as it then was, Bert helped to spearhead some very exciting new fiction. One that comes to mind was A Breed of Women by Fiona Kidman, that established Fiona as a major New Zealand writer. Sue McCauley’s Other Halves was another. We look back at this time as a turning point in our fiction publishing. He also published Michael King for some time, notably Michael’s trailblazing Being Pakeha.

Bert was a classy publisher of the old school who loved working with authors because he was one himself. He was a published poet and was very comfortable in the literary world. For some time he wrote a weekly publishing news column in the Listener (yes, there was such a time).

Bert also fervently believed in such vital publishing practices as the long editorial lunch. It is said that after one particularly generous and lengthy lunch he poured his author into a cab to go home. ‘Thank you,’ the author is alleged to have said. ‘But actually, I’d rather have had the money.’ Bert’s response isn’t recorded.”

David Elworthy wrote: Bert was a clever and perceptive publisher. Selfishly I just wish that he’d stayed on this side of the ditch, so that we could have continued to enjoy his warm wit, his effervescent good humour, and his prodigious talent for hilarious book trade gossip.

Charles Goulding worked with Bert Hingley at Hodder from 1981 to 1988.
“Bert published books. It was my job to sell them.

There are moments that stand out. Sue McCauley’s ground-breaking novel Other Halves, for example. Radical at the time – a novel based on life. A Pakeha woman in her ’30s and her relationship with a Māori man half her age. It was deservedly a critical and commercial success.  Bert’s decision to publish in trade paperback, rather than hardback, was also radical. Bert explained to me that he was borrowing from the French tradition of publishing first editions in paperback. I know it seems bizarre now but I spent as much time explaining the format to booksellers as I did the novel. Bert’s bold approach to fiction publishing and his experimentation with format coincided with the genesis of a renaissance in New Zealand fiction. Did Bert lead the market or was he lucky with his timing? We may never know but whatever happened continues still.

Bert had hits and he had misses. And when they missed, they really missed. At times I would remonstrate with him about some of his publishing decisions. I offered to help with market advice. He said, ‘Anybody can fill a warehouse with books that don’t sell because they were trying to make a bestseller. If I am going to fill a warehouse with books that don’t sell, then I want to be satisfied that every one of them is a good book’. If more publishers took that approach, there would be significantly fewer books published and that would not be a bad thing.

When it comes to hits, The Bone People stands out. Keri Hulme’s novel was initially published by Spiral, a feminist collective. In the current parlance, it ‘blew up’ on publication. Bert, a man in the publishing establishment, successfully persuaded Spiral and Keri Hulme to enter into a co-publishing arrangement with Hodder. In the ’80s that was not easy to do. What is not known but is a story that deserves to be told is Bert’s contribution to the novel winning the Booker. Keri Hulme won the Booker because she wrote an extraordinary novel. However, to win any contest you have to be entered. The rules required that the novel had to be published in the UK within a calendar window. At that time, it was the London office’s view that Auckland was there to sell the books London published and not to bother them with the books we published. It was only Bert’s determined advocacy and sheer bloody mindedness that bludgeoned Hodder London into publishing before the deadline and submitting The Bone People. And the rest is history …”

Changes to the Copyright Act What NZ authors and publishers need to know

By News

The New Zealand government has amended Section 69 of the Copyright Act in order to implement a World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) agreement, known as the Marrakesh Treaty. The aim of the Treaty is to increase access to published materials for people who have a print disability.

It is important that New Zealand authors and publishers are aware of these changes and the rights and obligations that you have as copyright owners. You may be contacted by organisations that intend to make copies of your books that will then be provided to people with a print disability in New Zealand and in other countries that have signed up to the Marrakesh Treaty.

In anticipation of the amendment’s implementation later this year, PANZ, CLNZ & NZSA have prepared an outline to these changes and what they mean for New Zealand publishers and authors. This includes guidance on the steps to follow when dealing with an accessible format enquiry, including an email template to use for your correspondence. You can download this outline and email template here. 

Importantly, we are strongly encouraging all members to copy your correspondence on accessible format copies to an email address setup by CLNZ: Doing this will allow CLNZ, on behalf of PANZ and NZSA, to collate the notifications you receive and this will be immensely valuable to our ongoing advocacy with government. Information provided to CLNZ will be treated in confidence and will be anonymised and/or aggregated prior to being shared with any external agency.

Please contact Tom Rennie ( with any queries regarding the Marrakesh Treaty or PANZ’s ongoing work with the Copyright Review.

2020 Creative New Zealand National Publishing Internships applications open

By News

We are now calling for applications for the Creative New Zealand National Publishing Internships Initiative 2020 which offers a Whitireia graduate the opportunity to work in a publishing company for six months. There will be three internships available which will run from February to July 2020. This a terrific  opportunity to have a new graduate assisting you with your business. The programme has produced some impressive results in past years with many publishers choosing to offer the interns full-time positions at the end of the programme and a number of interns now hold senior positions in publishing companies.   Last year’s successful applicants were Lift Education, Te Papa Press and Victoria University Press.

Craig Gamble, Publishing Manager at Victoria University Press said of the 2019 programme “It’s probably only a slight exaggeration to say we’d be lost without the mentoring programme. It is the perfect vehicle through which young publishing staff can learn the ropes, and it hugely benefits us though the injection of new ideas and skills as well as the sheer amount of work they invariably get through. The befits are enormous.”

Applications are open to trade publishers and also to educational publishers who produce a broad range of titles including picture books, early readers and junior fiction and/or books in te reo as well as Pasifika and Asian languages.

Applications close Friday 20th September and publishers will be advised whether or not they have been successful by the 9th October to help with staff planning for the year ahead.

For details on how to apply click here.

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