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Powered by love: Indie bookstores rule

  • Opinion
  • June 17, 2016
  • Jenny Keown
Powered by love: Indie bookstores rule

I find it hard to go past a great indie bookstore – it always promises relaxation, good times, intriguing books and a step in to something of a timeless world.

For me, and my fellow book-dork friends, the experience of a book shop is almost as important as the books themselves.

So, all hail the indie bookstore. Boo to those voices of doom and gloom that said the physical book is dead, and destined for the museum.

 Booksellers New Zealand chief executive Lincoln Gould says the independent book store is in good health.

“There has actually been a growth in book sales since September 2014, new book shops are opening, and shops are being bought and sold.

Indie bookstores have become a valued part of the community, often holding book clubs, book launches and children’s events.

“This isn’t just happening in New Zealand, but in Australia and New Zealand.”

Sales of e-readers and ebooks are dropping, forcing a reassessment of whether the digital age will truly take over from the physical book.

The point is people still love flicking through a real book, they like to browse them, and they like chatting with the often eccentric and loveable characters you find behind the counter at these shops.

To celebrate indie bookshops around New Zealand,  I have compiled a list of some of the greatest indie stores (with the help of my friends).

  • The Dorothy Butler Children’s Bookshop, Ponsonby.

We all agree, this shop is a delight.  It has a stunning array of New Zealand children’s books, and the shop is set out in a magical way, with beautiful wooden gifts and creatures sprinked throughout the bookshelves. You just can’t go past the wrapping paper here either – it took me a full 10 minutes to choose some once.

  • Hard To Find Books, Onehunga.

All my book dork friends know this place. This shop is amazing just to visit for it’s a rambling mess, room upon rooms, and narrow passage ways.  They stock an incredible range of books, and the owner knows a lot about books and can point you in the right direction if you want to find anything.

  • Minerva, Wellington.

Minerva is a craft, fashion and quilter’s bookshop and it stocks beautiful magazines such as Kinfolk, Ceral and Drift. Customer Melissa Tran-Trung: “I enjoy the variety of craft and comic books, and the calm, light atmosphere of the shop.”

  • The Little Book Shop, Napier

The shop has an amazing range of second-hand books, which is very cheap, and the owner is good at locating books you are hunting for. They have the all important comfy chairs to sit in and read, and a resident cat.

  • Wardini’s, Havelock North.

The owners are very personable, and knowledgable about books and will try and get anything for you. They have regular book club nights, kids story telling evenings, and and are much-loved by the local community. They also run a cool Batthe of the Bookclub quiz night each year as a fundraiser for Canteen.

  • University Bookshop Auckland.

I haven’t been in to this shop, but my friend says it is “so much more than text books.” It supplies a great range of fiction and non fiction. And they have a great range of the Penquin Ladybird Guides to modern day problems – it’s got to be a cool shop right?

  • Unity Books, Auckland and Wellington.

Unity Books in Wellington has been fabulously independent for 45 years, and as they say, over the years have added unimaginable levels of RAM, permanent microphone for gigs and a lamentable section of vampire porn.

​ ​

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