Booksellers NZ Reaches Out to Members After Earthquake

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Since the earthquake that shook New Zealand's South Island on September 3, Booksellers New Zealand, the organization representing the country’s independent bookshops as well as major retail chains, is finding ways to stay involved and reach out to its members.

The initial quake hit Christchurch, the country's second largest city, in the early morning with a magnitude of 7.0. On Tuesday, the region was still facing residual effects.

“There are still major aftershocks (5.1 and shallow) being felt in the city of Christchurch and the surrounding region of Canterbury,” said Lincoln Gould, CEO of Booksellers NZ, in an e-mail. “For bookshops, these shocks will continue to disrupt the clean-up and pose further risk. Some shops in the centre of Christchurch will not be able to open for some days.”

Booksellers NZ is sharing news updates via its website as the organization discovers the status of each member store. Additionally, Gould issued an open letter to all Canterbury members expressing concern and inquiring about the state of their businesses. In doing so, Booksellers NZ hopes to properly assess the damages and provide assistance as necessary.

“We are continuing to review the needs of the affected shops,” wrote Gould. “At the moment, publishers are holding deliveries of books and obviously trade terms are being reviewed on a case-by-case basis. There are also various plans being developed by the trade for author events in other centres to help raise funds to assist in the relief of the affected shops. There is also considerable support being given to everyone in the region by local authorities and the central government.”

New Zealand has an Earthquake Commission that provides an initial insurance cover for damage of up to NZ$100,000.

“While I have not checked absolutely, I would imagine that all our members will also have private insurance for their businesses, which will include loss of business as well as cover for damage,” said Gould. “The Government has just announced that they will also provide support for small businesses employing under 20 people to cover staff costs (wages, etc.) for companies that are unable to trade while they clean up. There are numerous support mechanisms in place.”


Watch for a report on ABA COO Len Vlahos' recent trip to the Booksellers NZ Conference in Auckland in an upcoming edition of Bookselling This Week.