Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Destination Book Store

When Sally Battson and Jenny Ainge launched Wanaka’s independent bookshop The Next Chapter little did they appreciate it would become just as much a tourist destination as a favourite local’s haunt. 

Almost four years ago the pair opened their store in its container style building next to Cinema Paradiso forming part of an appealing precinct and attracting overseas visitors along with avid readers from all over Central Otago.

Stocking over 12,000 books in its recently expanded premises The Next Chapter is taking advantage of increased interest from international travellers whether they are backpackers, hikers on the Te Ararora Trail or simply tourists who love to browse in bookshops.

“We have actually changed the way we stock some genres in response to this market,” says Sally. “Visitors largely want books which are culturally relevant to New Zealand. For children they like to buy books about kiwis or similar while New Zealand writers whose work reflects our way of life are sought after by adults.”

One of the store’s top sellers to overseas people, as well as New Zealanders, is The Bookseller at the End of the World – a compelling read about author Ruth Shaw’s life as a book store owner in Manapouri in Fiordland. Sally and Jenny consider much of The Next Chapter’s success lies in the wraparound experience it offers.

“Many visitors buy the book as a souvenir of New Zealand and it is consistently at the top of our best seller list. When you engage with an independent book store you become part of a community of similar shops as well as a community of readers. Because booksellers, like ourselves, are part of the local community people visiting the store get an entrée to the wider community, its life and culture.”

The store is actively working towards a wider integration with the arts because of the obvious synergy between writers and artists.

“We are collaborating with Wellington’s Bartley and Company Art and trialling a curated display of works of art which is an added attraction instore,” says Jenny. “We have also successfully hosted  Melbourne botanical artist Deborah Law as our first artist in residence and plan to offer similar residencies in the future.”

Scholarship Success

The Next Chapter’s Sarah Clark, who has been part of the team for three years, recently claimed a top national scholarship offered by Booksellers NZ which led to her attendance at the international BookPeople conference in Melbourne in June.

She also spent time as an intern in a leading Melbourne book store and undertook a tour of Universal Book Distributors, a division of Penguin Random House.

“The experience provided Sarah with a valuable insight into the Australian book industry and its writers,” says The Next Chapter co-owner Sally Battson.

Reading Recommendations from The Next Chapter

FICTION

The Heart in Winter    Kevin Barry

James                              Percival Everett

Blue Sisters                   Coco Mellors

Caledonian Road       Andrew O’Hagan

Long Island                    Colm Toibin

NON FICTION

Vulture Capitalism       Grace Blakely

Everest Inc                        Will Cockerell

The Architecture of Modern Europe    Arundhati Roy

Knife         Salman Rushdie