Slammer Christmas trade for Unity Books Wellington

Press Release – Unity Books

Slammer Christmas trade for Unity Books Wellington

Book-lovers congregated wilfully at Unity Books this December and broke several sales records (everything except the record for most copies of one single book, which is still held by Eleanor Catton for her 2013 Man Booker prize The Luminaries). The scanners were smoking and the air conditioning collapsed.Staff gymnastics (and deodorant-use) reached new peaks as Unity Books cleaned up the whole of December last year during the trade of the 24th this year.

Many other booksellers across Wellington and NZ had similar heady results, and we are all thankful for the mix of stellar publishing and –at street level and online – the enthusiastic localism which created the dream run. But it was also a welcome break from the testing recent years of street trading for many other indie shops – and our neighbourhood suppliers Trade Aid and Wineseeker on Victoria Street also enjoyed brilliant Decembers.

It was a triumphant year for indie publishers. Bestselling books at Unity (coming in after the Culture Vulture voucher for Unity, Slow Boat Music and Aro Street Video) were this year’s Man Booker winner A Brief History of Seven Killings by James Marlon, published by Oneworld; and second place went to a bitter and hilarious parody of the Ladybird books called We Go to the Gallery by artist Miriam Elia, published by Distributed Arts Publications and imported direct from the UK.

Unity’s biggest-selling NZ title in December was a photography book, Eye in the Sky: A Drone Above NZ by Grant Sheehan, published by his own press, Phantom House.

Other Wellington publishers whose titles ran away in the December bestsellers included VUP, with The Stories of Bill Manhire, and David Coventry’s first novel Invisible Mile (longlisted for the Ockham NZ Book Awards to be announced in May next year); Gecko Press with Peter Goes’ book Timeline: A Visual History of Our World; Te Papa Press with Bronwyn Labrum’s Real Modern: Everyday NZ in the 1950s & 1960s; Awa Press with Matt Vance’s book Ocean Notorious; Bridget Williams Books with Max Rushbrook’s Wealth and NZ and Adrienne Jansen & Liz Grant’s Migrant Journeys NZ Taxi Drivers tell their Stories; Steele Roberts with Alastair Grant’s Wandering Wellington’s Waterfront, and Lloyd Geering’s long distance cycling memoir On Me Bike; and Makaro Press with Annabel Hawkins’ poetry This Must be the Place.

Wellington fiction authors Anna Smaill (The Chimes), Patricia Grace (Chappy), Kate de Goldi (From the Cutting Room of Barney Kettle) and Hamish Clayton (Pale North) enjoyed massive new readership.

Unity Books is closed 25th and 26th December and 1st and 2nd of January. Staff are whizzing back in from Gisborne, Auckland, Tauranga, Whanganui, the backblocks of Ohakune and a womancave at Paekakariki to resume trade on Sunday 27 December.


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