Name: Tony Murdoch from Cadsonbury Publications (a wholly owned subsidiary of Smith’s Bookshop)
Publications: Cadsonbury is a minor player in the publishing world. It specialises in publishing out-of-print NZ books and currently has 127 titles available.
Role: Co-owner with Alan Direen
Company: Chapter & Verse NZ Ltd.
Background: Alan and I took over Smiths in October 2019 so we are very much newcomers to book selling and book publishing. Smith’s is long standing Christchurch business specialising in new and used NZ books.
Cadsonbury Publications was founded by Robin Mitchell who sadly died. Barry Hancox, the previous owner of Smith’s took it over in the early 2000s. Many years ago we both taught in high schools, Alan in Central Otago and myself at Aranui High in Christchurch. A chance conversation at the pub led us to buying Smith’s at a time in our lives when retirement beckoned. Most days we pinch ourselves to make sure it’s not a dream.
I’m currently reading: John Pascoe’s wonderful Explorer Mr Douglas and dipping into Warren Feeney’s Canterbury Society of Arts 1880 -1996 which is a fascinating insight into Christchurch’s arty past.
My biggest career highlight in publishing has been: Early in the piece we decided to put some resource into promoting Cadsonbury Publications. While its still early days our sales have lifted and we have already added three more titles to our catalogue. One, The Cheviot Estate, was found in one of the 320 boxes of uncatalogued books we inherited. It was the Department of Lands official booklet published in 1893 to facilitate the selling of the Cheviot Estate and had a wonderful map showing the sub-divided estate. We checked in the published books on Cheviot and could not find any reference to it and so thought this would be worthy of reprinting. We then ran an advert in the North Canterbury News and our first, albeit modest, print run sold out!