Kiwi book publishers are struggling to regroup after seeing sales obliterated in April.
The Publishers Association of New Zealand/Te Rau o Tākupu (PANZ) says members are reporting zero or minimal sales for the month of the Level 4 lockdown.
The risk to the book industry is at its greatest since the Global Financial Crisis.
“Publishers, along with our authors, illustrators and booksellers, are caught up in a negative spiral,” says Julia Marshall, PANZ President.
Unlike in most countries, in New Zealand books were not classed as essential items during Level 4.
“Online sales of books made a massive difference to sustaining publishers in many markets, including Australia,” Marshall says.
“While New Zealand publishers have remained at work remotely, preparing books for 2020 and 2021, they couldn’t sell print books until Level 3 permitted online and click & collect sales.”
Despite some short-term rescheduling due to the lockdown, Marshall says that PANZ members are on track to produce many fine books this year.
Publishers have also stepped up to make content available digitally to schools and families, recognising the vital role of books in home-based learning and personal wellbeing.
Educational publishers entrusted design files for many textbooks to the Ministry of Education so it could print and despatch books to schools, ensuring students could go on studying.
Others have given free licence to libraries, booksellers and schools across the country to provide readings and content from New Zealand books during the lockdown period.
Now that it’s ok to shop for books, Marshall encouraged New Zealanders to support the Kiwi booksellers and authors who like all of us are facing major challenges with the Covid-19 epidemic .
“This is the year to buy New Zealand books, if you want to be sure our books are still around in the future.