Something curious happened on Sunday. I currently have a book with the unlikely title of Trains, Tunnels, Bridges sitting at No.3 in the New Zealand ‘Whitcoulls’ non-fiction best seller charts. And in one of their stores I found the chart…but no sign of the book.
Getting to that position is important these days. The New Zealand publishing and book-selling world is going through quite a shake-up just now. Sales of specific genres – among them history – are down sharply, and to be able to get one of them into the top few hundred – let alone the No. 3 spot – is a pleasant surprise by any measure.
I should explain that New Zealand has two best-seller book charts. There is the Whitcoulls chart, which reflects sales from the Whitcoulls chain. That makes up about a third of the total number of bookshops in New Zealand.
Then there is the Booksellers Association chart, which takes its figures from the other two thirds of the stores.
The twain never meet, though funnily enough, I have a title in the Booksellers list too, at the moment – my Bateman Illustrated History of New Zealand.
Both of them are history non-fiction, so maybe there’s life in the old dog yet. And if you’re interested, you can buy ‘em yourself, online – click on the book covers on the right hand column of this blog. Go on, you know you want to… (I had to say it …)
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2013