Booksellers NZ conference from the pen of Jenna Todd

Jenna Todd from Time Out Bookstore was presenting her findings about the Kobo Scholarship this year at conference, but that didn’t stop us asking her to keep a note of what else happened!

Nielsen Book Data Presentationnevena_nikolic
Nevena Nikolic from Nielsen (left, first on left) reviewed the latest consumer trends in New Zealand book buying. The total market is still in decline, but the figures are not as dire looking as last year. Children’s books has the smallest drop in sales.

The Luminaries provided a huge boost in sales for NZ fiction – it has sold 40,000 copies in NZ to date and it’s at the top of both the general and indie booksellers charts for the year to date. (Hopefully we will have another New Zealand win the Booker this year – any takers?!)

Nevena also said that according to their statistics, 10% of New Zealanders currently own an e-reader, and are purchasing about 1 e-book a month.

What are our future readers reading? with speaker Wayne Mills
pp_wayne_millsWayne Mills (left), the founder of the Kid’s Lit Quiz gave an insightful presentation what our future readers are reading. In 2012, all participants in the Kid’s Lit Quiz were given a simple survey: They were to give their favourite book, their favourite author and also what they were currently reading.

Over 1500 children voted, who mentioned over 7300 book titles. The clear favourite was (unsurprisingly) the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Almost all of the favourite individual titles were part of a series, was a movie or both, such as The Hunger Games, The Lord of the Rings and Percy Jackson.

The idea of the Kid’s Lit Quiz is to increase the awareness of children reading for pleasure and to combat the mis-match between what children want to read to what they are required to read for school. The results of this survey will be published in a paper for teachers. Mills also indicated further plans to survey more countries, as well as questioning New Zealand children again in 2020.

There is a definite period of change in the way we read, but there is growth in the teen market and events such as The Kid’s Lit Quiz really enrich the way our young people interact with literature.

The Future of New Zealand Publishing
Tony Moores headed this panel of excellent publishers and it was great to hear where they’re at and what their plans are for the future.pp_nicola_legat

Nicola Legat (right) spoke of the changes that Random House has made since the downturn in book sales since 2008. They have put in a huge amount of work into their new website, book app and making ebooks as well as reducing their list. While Nicola admits that publishing is about money in the end, Random House are completely committed to producing high quality New Zealand stories that create a cultural conversation. Each book they publish is released with a strategy and they are feeling more committed to booksellers more than ever.

Robbie Burton from Craig Potton Publishing spoke of their shrinking print runs, especially with the loss of the Red Group in New Zealand. However, the good news is, they grew 1% last year. He believes now is the time to emphasise localism.

Melanie from Allen & Unwin focused on the acquisition of Murdoch Books and what positive outcomes this will bring. They will still be focused on non-illustrated non-fiction, but not exclusively. They have plans to double their NZ publishing programme in the next 24 months.

by Jenna Todd 

We have a piece by Megan Dunn on our website about Michael Williams’ presentation. In The Read next week, we will provide Greg Randall’s full presentation, as well as a full write-up about it, and an article by him related to his presentation and further questions. 

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