Read Local Buy Local information

NZSA advocates for Read Local, Buy Local and the New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi o Aotearoa (PEN NZ) is a foundation member of The Coalition for Books. The core work of the Coalition is to increase the visibility and discoverability of NZ writers and NZ books.

The Coalition for Books is kaitiaki (guardian) of Aotearoa New Zealand’s literary landscape overseeing wider engagement and access for readers with the diverse range of high-quality locally produced books.
The Coalition for Books breaks new ground uniting authors, publishers, booksellers, and festivals in the telling of Aotearoa New Zealand’s story. Together the members of this national organisation join forces to show the intrinsic value of reading Aotearoa New Zealand-made books.

Local books foster a sense of cultural identity and national pride. They define who we are as a nation.

In curricula, local content fosters engagement and educational achievement. Research shows students are more likely to engage when the content is relatable and reflects the world around them. This leads to improved literacy and academic outcomes.

The launch of the KETE website in 2020, by the Coalition is a NZ site that showcases only NZ books for buyers and readers. KETE commissions long-form reviews and works with a variety of partners to promote NZ books and content.

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The Coalition for Books partners with Booksellers NZ to produce seasonal reading guides and themed retail catalogues. The Coalition supports local book stalls at NZ cultural events that showcase local publishing, such as Te Matatini, Pasifika, and Diwali.

In 2023 the Coalition for Books received an MCH grant to improve the KETE site and enable sales of audio and ebook digital formats, alongside print books.

Cultural Cringe: In Australia over 40% of sales of fiction through bookshops are by Australian authors. In NZ that retail percentage is but 6% (2021, Nielsen). NZSA with its partners in the Coalition for Books works to increase that low local sales figure and to encourage Read Local. NZ writing is world-class but needs marketing support to stand out from the avalanche of international books, backed by international marketing budgets, that still dominate retail and our local mark

Discoverability:  In October 2023 NZSA, PANZ, and the Coalition for Books met with Overdrive, the American company that owns the LIBBY platforms used by public libraries for digital collections. Collections curated in the northern hemisphere do not recognise or tag NZ books. We are now engaged with Overdrive on systems to increase the visibility and discoverability of NZ books and local authors within their collections.

In 2023 PANZ, CLNZ and NZSA ‘mapped the sector’ and showed the inter-relationship and all parts of the book sector in Aotearoa New Zealand.#

CPY230031 – Book industry – The Book Eco-system

Arguments for BUY LOCAL

Offshore online purchasing:

Booksellers NZ launched their Book Hub in October 2023. This aims to replace offshore buying, and allows customers to choose local or national stores. It aims to keep revenue in Aotearoa that otherwise might go offshore to other online retailers. We recommend you support Book Hub and your local bookstores.

Treasury says  0.80 cents of every dollar spent locally, stays in Aotearoa. The book economy is fragile in this country, due to the small market size, that offer low sales volumes due to our small population. This makes economies of scale challenging.

Offshore Library Purchasing:

NZSA and the Coalition for Books advocate for NZ libraries to spend their purchasing budgets in Aotearoa. All large city public libraries currently have tenders for supply offshore with Australian library suppliers, thereby supporting the Australian book economy.

NZSA has delivered a letter to the incoming Minister of Local Government, to request a change in policy that libraries buy local.

To the Honorable Simeon Brown 24.11.23

Library purchasing budgets are circa $37 million. Buying Local increases returns to authors and publishers.

Offshore buying lowers writers’ incomes:  Sourcing NZ books from Australian distributors means NZ authors receive a lower export royalty for books being used in their home market. The difference in return to writers is that they receive only 30% of the royalty they would receive if the books were sourced locally.

Sustainability: Sending NZ books across the Tasman Sea to be processed and returned fails a green audit. Five kilograms of books generate 11 kilograms of carbon in that Trans-Tasman return journey, according to DHL.

Selection of Collections: NZSA does not believe Australian selectors have the cultural capability to buy for NZ readers. It perpetuates the dominance of international Northern Hemisphere publishing.