05-26-18 – Blog Queen - Sarah Raplee

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Romance Reading Kiwi Style

Waving from New Zealand! Us kiwi's as we are known by, are ferocious readers, even though our country is very small!

New Zealand is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses ‒ that of the North and South Islands ‒ and numerous smaller islands – we are so original here!

NZ is pronounced Aotearoa in Maori, which means Land of The Long White Cloud. It's always
cloudy across NZ as we have a mountain range running through the middle of both islands.

New Zealander’s are about 2nd or 3rd in the world, in terms of books bought per head of population. However, romance is still seen as the ‘holiday’ only read. If you go into bookstores there is usually only a tiny romance bookshelf hidden at the back of the store.

However, recently this trend is changing. Book sellers are beginning to understand that romance sells. Mostly, the NZ bookstores sell romance books on their websites and don’t bring in paperback copies except for the NY Times best sellers.

None of my books are available in-store in NZ. My publisher didn’t think the market here was big enough (only 4 million people in NZ) to distribute here. However, they are all available online in NZ’s only book store chain – Whitcoulls (who bought Borders NZ).

Whitcoulls partners with Kobo in order to do this. So as long as my books are on Kobo, Whitcoulls customers can by them – paper back and eBook.

Thank goodness for eBooks is what NZ romance readers say. Fabulous for when we are on holiday at the beach. 

Prior to that, the biggest NZ book store was because it offered FREE world-wide delivery and prices were cheaper than buying from within NZ due to taxes and shipping. Apparently, NZ and Australia were their biggest markets, mainly because we have limited selection here. I would not have read half the authors I have found if not for Book Depository and eBooks.

My latest book to load on Whitcoulls NZ is my first contemporary romance (I usually write historical romances), The Reluctant Wife.

Abby Taylor walked out on her irresistible husband three years ago. Now she has no choice but to
return to Italy to ask him for a favor. To pay for her grandmother’s heart operation she needs his money, but it comes with strings attached.
Conte Dante Lombardi has it all—an Italian villa, a successful family business, and a noble title. But he needs a child to carry on his legacy and time is running out. He also hopes to satisfy the desire Abby rouses in him.

As Abby uncovers why he’s in such a hurry for a child, she falls in love with him again … just as she realizes it might be impossible to keep her end of the deal.

No doubt, those of you in USA, Canada or Europe have far greater access to romance books then we do in NZ but the eBook revolution is changing that and is probably why NZ has one of the highest uptakes of eBook readers per head of population too.

Either way, I've always managed to find a way to get hold of my favorite books. That’s the true sign of an avid romance reader!


Denise Covey said...

Hi Bronwen! One of the stats I read is that Aussies read more per capita than any other nation, and looks like our friends across the ditch are just as voracious! Wouldn't we be awesome if only we had more people!
No matter where I walk in Brisbane, people have their noses in books or in their Kindle. The romance market is picking up in Oz, and I've just discovered Kobe. What a neat little package and great authors there too. I will look forward to picking yours up.

Thanks for the little nostalgic trip to NZ. I lived there for 2 years (in Windy Wellington) and have travelled back a few times. Lovely, lovely country.


Judith Ashley said...

Hi Bron,

I've got three of your books downloaded on my Kobo. Looking forward to reading your historicals and because your books are on Kobo I can easily get your first contemporary also.

Thanks for the Kiwi update on books and reading. I'm sure having great romance authors like you makes a difference in romance being on the uptake in NZ.

Sarah Raplee said...

I really enjoyed your interesting post, Bron. A trip to New Zealand has been on my wish list for years.

Your new book sounds like an interesting and original contemporary romance. Well done!

Bronwen Evans said...

Hi Denise

I live in Windy Wellington and you'd be surprised how little wind we have had this summer. It's been the best summer in over 70 years - no wind and hot, hot weather.

Oh gosh, thank you, Sarah and Judith, how lovely to hear you have bought some of my books. Kobo is awesome isn't it.

We have to meet up for coffee if you ever do get to NZ!