TODAY |

New Zealand enjoys resurgence of the humble bookstore

Despite the rise of e-books and online shopping, the humble bookshop is thriving in New Zealand.

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New bookstores appear to be popping up every three months in New Zealand. Source: 1 NEWS

Booksellers NZ says a new bookstore on average is opening every three months.

Dan Slevin from Booksellers NZ says people are turning to bookshop ownership as a way out of the rat race.

“The people going into the book business tend to be older, they tend to be looking for a career change.”

Part of the appeal is due to the resurgence in books as a product, Slevin says.

“I think lots of people have gone off the idea of e-books, they realise they’re buying books online and they’re not exactly putting money back into the local economy.”

The rise in popularity of bookstores is evident in Greytown, with the first dedicated bookstore - Mrs Blackwell’s Village Bookstore - opening in 20 years.

A brave move in the middle of a pandemic, but Mrs Blackwell’s Village Bookstore owner Millie Blackwell believes she can make a living out of the store, having already run one business in the thriving small town.

"We have been really surprised with how the shop has performed since we opened.

"[But] if you talk to anybody in Greytown they'll say the thing that Greytown is missing is a bookshop, even visitors, so we just felt the time was right for books."

For towns like Featherston, its numerous bookstores are becoming a drawcard for visitors. 

With a population of 2500, there are seven bookshops – that’s one store for every 350 residents.

From a children’s bookstore to second-hand booksellers, the small town has books for everyone.