Friday, February 18, 2011
Press Release from Booksellers NZ on Whitcoulls situation
Voluntary Administration not reflective of any fundamental problems with NZ book industry
Booksellers NZ is concerned at the announcement that REDGroup Retail has gone into voluntary administration but is confident that this action does not reflect a fundamental problem with the book industry in New Zealand.
Chairman, Hamish Wright said the issue for REDGroup Retail appeared to relate to their specific funding structure.
“We are very hopeful that the Administration process will allow REDGroup Retail to restructure its financial position in order to strengthen successful stores and create better support systems within the group. Our hope is that all stores belonging to the Group will remain open in the long term,” Wright said.
REDGroup Retail has 79 bookshops in New Zealand under three brands of Whitcoulls, Borders and Bennetts. There are 350 bookshop members of Booksellers NZ, made up of groups and independently owned stores.
“On an international basis there is a high density of bookshops to population in New Zealand (1 bookshop to 12, 857 people), which provides a very comprehensive service to book lovers. This is also supported by a strong publishing sector. We are confident that the challenges facing REDGroup Retail will be met and that the industry as a whole will continue to serve readers of New Zealand as well as ever.
We are sure that the REDGroup Retail woes are not related to the growing use of e-readers and e-books. The group has led the way in this country with digitisation and thus we don’t see the new formats as being causing REDGroup’s problems,” said Wright.
Wright also reaffirmed the financial security of Booksellers NZ Book Tokens, which are redeemable at all 350 member bookshops nationwide, including Whitcoulls, Borders and Bennetts.
“REDGroup Retail have their own gift vouchers, but the Booksellers NZ Tokens are not be affected by REDGroup’s difficulties as they are guaranteed by Booksellers NZ.”
Booksellers NZ also do not see any detrimental effect to next month’s massive $20 million book promotion being staged as part of New Zealand Book Month, according to Chief Executive Lincoln Gould.
“An industry-wide promotion, New Zealand Book Month, will take place this March, and will see an unprecedented partnership between New Zealand publishers and booksellers. Four million $5 Book Vouchers will be distributed nationwide throughout the month of March. The New Zealand Book Month promotion is a bid to get both booklovers and lapsed readers, off the couch and in to their local bookshop to buy a book.” says Gould.
According to Nielsen Bookscan, in 2010 9.57 million books were sold in New Zealand for $243.6 million. This was a 1.2% increase in volume and slightly down in value (-0.1%)