I wrote a column for The Irish Times that touched on some of the issues mentioned. This really is interesting throughout and a must for anyone who wants to understand small market publishing:
Varnham struggles to secure writers. Who can afford to take months off to research and write a book for a $3000 advance? More government support – for writers and publishers – would help.
And, she says, ebooks are not the answer. They’re a fabulous way to get books out worldwide but sales are minimal and the return to the publisher is tiny.
“I think the answer for us is to persuade New Zealanders to buy more New Zealand books.”
She credits Awa’s survival to bookshops such as Wellington’s Unity, which stacks front windows with Kiwi stories.
“I always say I need valium before I go into the average bookstore in New Zealand. It’s so distressing if you don’t see your own books properly displayed and you just walk through a towering mountain of Dan Brown and The Hunger Games. Not to mention Fifty Shades of Grey.”
The only way bookshops will survive, says Booksellers chief executive Lincoln Gould, is if they work together with publishers to find new sales models.
In his less gloomy moments, Walker sees opportunity for small independents or writer co-operatives such as those emerging in the United States.