Thursday, August 1, 2013

Green shoots in NZ publishing #2

A QUQ reader queried Hachette’s claim that a factor in their shutting up shop in NZ was how many of us buy books from Amazon and the Book Depository.  See the discussion in the comments on the blogpost here.

Today Lincoln Gould, CEO of Booksellers NZ, blogs:
most international publishers sell more to Amazon and Book Depository (now owned by Amazon) than they are ever likely to sell to all the bookshops in New Zealand put together. Thus, New Zealanders are never likely to see prices from their local bricks and mortar stores matching those that Amazon or Book Depository can command from publishers.
Because Amazon and Book Depository can sell such big quantities around the world, they pay less for their books than NZ distributors do.
Publishers shouldn’t therefore blame bookshops for not buying the quantities they used to, when the publishers sell to Amazon and the like, at prices which often, would not be close to what they offer to local bookshops. [. . . ]
New Zealand booksellers will not sit on their hands and cry.  The change in the publishing landscape does in fact create opportunities – but that’s another story.
Just one example: sports books. Many publishers have produced sports books over the years but Hachette was superb at it, building on the work of sports specialist Moa, which was absorbed into what became Hachette NZ (it was founded by John Blackwell,  whose son Geoff has been spectacularly successful worldwide while remaining Auckland-based). 

The other big publishers have done sports books well but not as consistently and not for as long. With all due respect, it’s hard to see Finlay Macdonald at HarperCollins or Nicola Legat at Random really getting enthusiastic about the genre. So there is a gap in the market. Readers will still pay for the books – but who will create them? That faint sound I hear is not chickens scratching, it is plans hatching.

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