Book Review: After You, by JoJo Moyes

cv_after_youThis book is the sequel to Me before You. Not having read the previous book didn’t make any difference to my enjoyment of After You, but on saying that, there are a few gaps that I need to fill now!

Louisa Clark is not coping with her grief after losing her partner/employer Will Traynor. Louisa has moved out of her parent’s house in a small English village into her own flat in London. Her flat looks as though she is only visiting – devoid of all personal touches. Her wardrobe is full of quirky colourful clothes but she prefers to dress in drab shapeless clothing. She is working in a bar at the airport but in her down-time is drinking more than she should. Her excess drinking takes a turn for the worse when she has an accident that changes her life with her having to move back to her parent’s home.

When she is finally able to move back into her flat, Louisa joins a group called ‘Moving On’, made up of people that are all grieving for partners and their lost lives. In their own way, they all help each other move on.

This takes some time, with some of the characters wallowing in their grief for what seems like an inordinate amount of time. I did though feel some frustration with some of the characters, but if you’ve read the previous book, I’m sure you will find that this nicely concludes the story of Louisa Clark.

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

After You
by Jojo Moyes
Published by Michael Joseph Ltd
ISBN 9780718177010

Book Review: The Miniaturist, by Jessie Burton

Available in bookstores nationwide.

This is an interesting book. The setting and story are fascinating. This book is set in cv_the_miniaturist17th-century Amsterdam – a compact city that is dominated by canals, the constant threat of flooding, and a secretive society where everyone knows your business.

Jessie Burton’s book was inspired by Petronella Oortman’s real cabinet house in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. This ornate miniature house becomes a central character in this book. The inanimate objects that are created by the mysterious Miniaturist are central and ever present to the story that unfolds. The only other factual aspect to this story is the main character’s name. Petronella, or Nella as she describes herself, is a young bride arriving in Amsterdam from rural Holland. Her family have arrange for her to marry a man, more than twice her age, who leads a secretive life on the seas as a trader, and in Amsterdam as a privileged (and rich) merchant.

I struggled to get into this book at first, but eventually the mysterious characters, atmosphere, and building and suspenseful climax kept me going. Amsterdam at the time, and possibly even now, in the city where people live in close proximity, where neighbours find it easy to peer into front room windows. In fact, the front rooms are designed for such a purpose. In a world so open, people crave for privacy. And in this 17th-century Amsterdam, the teenage bride struggles to learn all of the secrets the city and the family she has joined hold dear. In fact, her fragmented experiences are reflected in the ever present but mostly absent Miniaturist.

This book takes the reader to an utterly believable world and you become immersed in that world. It’s a slightly unusual tale, but on reflection probably quite likely to have occurred in that time period. It is an original and atmospheric story (the book is set in the dark wet winter months, and at times you feel the dampness pervade your thoughts), with a fabulous mix of suspense, love and loss.

Reviewed by Gillian Torckler

The Miniaturist
by Jessie Burton
Published by Picador
ISBN 9781447250920

From Mills and Boons to Metadata: Nevena Nikolic takes on new role at Nielsen

pp_nevena_nikolicAs buyer for Time Out Books in Mt Eden, Nevena Nikolic (right) has put the best of the literary world in front of customers for the past eight years. In her new role as Sales & Marketing Manager for Nielsen Book Service she is doing the same – but now the bookstores are her customers.

Nevena took over the position at Nielsen in January 2014. Going from selling products to selling services has been a change of focus, but she is looking forward to a ‘full and fun year.’. Nevena says; “I really like all the client contact and the fact that I am the ’public‘ face of the company in New Zealand. I enjoy getting out and meeting as many clients as possible, helping to identify their needs and how we can better look after them.”

Book Lover from the beginning
Nevena became part of the fabled Time Out team of booksellers (below), after a career as a Book Publicist for various publishers – beginning at Hodder & Stoughton and their successors, then as a freelancer. Asked about her love of books, Nevena says: “I come from an immigrant background (Croatian) and English was my second-language until I went to school (it still is for my parents) so my love of reading and books is essentially self-taught. I joined the book club at Primary school and that was my main source of books until I could get to bookstores myself. I remember devouring the classics, Mills & Boons and mysteries in my teen years! Now I am squarely a literary reader with the odd interesting non-fiction and crime novel thrown in.”time out team

Nevena’s role is to support booksellers to make the most of Nielsen’s offerings. Since starting in January this year, she’s been out on the road to Wellington to visit clients – a focus for the year ahead. Nevena will be at the Booksellers NZ conference on 22 June, other key events she’s attending include the Paper Plus Trade Show, and LIANZA’s Library conference in October.

Nevena enjoys working with booksellers: “I have a particular affinity for the concerns of booksellers and their role in the life of a book – and I am an ardent fan of BookData Online (front page below). It was my go-to website when making buying decisions to get more information or different information to that provided by the reps.”nielsen_page


The Nielsen Bestsellers
Nielsen Book Services has three main strands of service to the book industry in New Zealand: BookScan, BookData Online and Record Supply Service. BookScan is about sales, Bookdata Online is about sourcing titles (with 20 million records), and the Record Supply Service contains the web metadata that allows booksellers to enrich their own websites with Book Data, jacket images and details on forthcoming titles.

One of the most well-read and anticipated bestsellersimagesections of The Read each week is of course the Nielsen Bestsellers list. Courtesy of Nielsen we are also able to publish the Indie Top 20 – reflecting the bestsellers for Independent bookstores. Comparisons between the bestseller lists are often revealing and can help bookstores pick up on what’s working for their colleagues – and competitors! – around the country.

How are the bestseller lists put together?
BookScan monitors sales from a panel of book retailers – enabling detailed and accurate sales information on which books are selling, and at what price for the book trade.

When creating the bestsellers list, Nielsen will ‘exclude certain titles likes those that are heavily discounted or sold as a class set that would skew the data.’ There is an art to the construction to the charts – it relies on the specialist staff who construct the charts reading into the data intelligently, and the discount does have to be over a certain threshold. The book retailer panel whose data is collected currently includes Poppies, Paper Plus and Take Note, The Warehouse, and a group of independent bookstores. If you are not included and would like to be, give Anna Hart a call as she is happy to discuss this.

RS2398_kobo_pixie_fanning_spread_allcolours_stepping-white_EN_UK_miniE-book sales
One of the questions floating around the book industry at the moment is ‘but what about  sales?’ As The Read had a captive audience, we asked Nevena when will the sale of ebooks be reported in the best seller charts?

“I know it is the missing picture as we currently report on print sales only. Tracking ebook sales are highly complex – not least of which is due to the number bought through offshore etailers. Nielsen has acquired PubTrack Digital (which we bought from Bowker). It is the Ebook tracking model based on sales from publishers and we hope this will be the model used in NZ. I can’t give you an exact timeline but rest assured, we are working on it.”

So they are coming folks, don’t panic!

Another new tool which is on its way for New Zealand clients is TitleEditor, which several other regions already have. This will allow self-publishers and smaller publishers to add and update their own titles on the Nielsen database, for free: an asset for the expanding self publishing market – did someone say, 50 Shades of Grey?

Must-haves for booksellersnielsen_logo
The Nielsen products are very handy to have within your range of bookselling tools, particularly in the purchasing of titles. Here are four important things that booksellers get out of Nielsen:

  1. BookData Online – a comprehensive search database that includes NZ price and availability
    ”This enables booksellers, publishers and libraries to search for and source book titles quickly and accurately – key features are intuitive functionality (you can share and print search results) and NZ price and availability for more than 20 million records (where the publisher has supplied the information.
  2. Contribution to the BookData panel (you need to be able to supply EPOS information) and in return get bestseller reports & market sales data. Contact Anna Hart on (09) 360 3294 for more information.
  3. Comprehensive title information that helps you sell books:
    BookScan monitors end-user consumer sales from a panel of book retailers – enabling detailed and accurate sales information on which books are selling, and at what price for the book trade. Retailers who contribute to the panel have access to data to enable them to monitor market share, spot trends and aid in stock management. Publishers use BookScan data to aid in decision-making and assessment for strategy and category analysis, forecasting and industry trends.
  4. Enriched metadata for your websites to help you sell more books online
    Record Supply Service enables clients to enrich their websites with Book Data and jacket images (including eBooks) with descriptions and details on forthcoming, in print and out of print titles from the English-speaking world. The metadata can be supplied and tailored according to your requirements.

If you want to get in touch with Nevena to learn any more about any of their products, email her on, or phone her on (09) 360 3294.

Article by Sarah Forster


Words of the Day: Monday, 11 November 2013



This is a digest of our Twitter feed that we email out most Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Sign up here for free if you’d like it emailed to you.

Book reviews
Booksellers NZ’s Preview of Reviews, Issue 2, Friday 8 November

Book Review: The Screaming Staircase, by Jonathan Stroud

ODT on Wake. Very nice.

Our review of The Devouring Dragon (Awa Press) talks about trad chinese medicine…

New Releases
Tragedy at Pike River Mine by Rebecca Macfie on sale today at all good bookstores and (if you don’t live near one) on Awa’s website

Peter McLeavey: The life and times of a New Zealand Art Dealer – listing & great book trailer

Dr Laurence Fearnley and Arno Gasteiger talk about their book 45 South

Author Interviews
An interview with Pip Adam. Booknotes Unbound ask her about her new novel VUP Books and what she’ll build next

If you are in the mood for a bit of Kiwi gothic, Beryl Fletcher’s Juno & Hannah is for you. Win a copy.

(Sarah) Did you see our contibution to the Maia & What Matters blog tour? It has a giveaway..

Our competitions: you have two hours to enter for the 100 People giveaway  But wait, there’s more…

New Zealand’s Lost Heritage, reviewed here is launching tomo eve @Auckland_Libs central. @NewHollandNZ

Book News
An official notification for our member stores from Penguin NZ

Two great pieces of news from Friday

Bookstores – check out our indiebound promo materials for Christmas. Sign up now!

Meet Maia Blog Tour: Story Bridge, an inter-generational storytelling project inspired by Maia and What Matters

Mega-bumper issue of @4thFloorJournal is live now. Check it out – HEAPS of great writers

Another young writer to watch out for: Claire Vaye Watkins wins the Dylan Thomas Prize

From around the internet
10 famous mean book reviews, edited for Buzzfeed Books’ new positive-only policy

A worthwhile read about online advertising

Nice to know it’s not just us…

What 20 years of best sellers say about what we read via @usatoday

Enjoy folks, and don’t forget if you are enjoy this blog post, to share it with your friends so they can enjoy it too…