The New Zealand Book industry has fallen by over 15% in the last six months as major publishers abandon the print sector. Several international publishers have pulled out or scaled down operations in recent months. Hachette said in July it would close its New Zealand publishing unit, following the lead of Pearson Education. While the traditional bookselling industry is plummeting, eBooks are continuing to grow.
Sam Elworthy, of the Publishers Association of NZ, said “We can’t document eBook sales easily. The New Zealand market has grown from nothing 12 months ago to now the same proportion as the US.”
Hachette boss Kevin Chapman whose new company, Upstart Press, is starting to take off in New Zealand. He knows the market has tons of potential and is still in its infancy. He says what was happening here was the same as had happened in the US and Britain five years ago. An initial drop in physical sales levelled out. “I think we’ll see a bounce in print sales.”
Part of the reason New Zealand is seeing a decline in book sales is due to paltry amount that are printed locally. It is estimated that only 5% of books being sold right now are printed and published in NZ.