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Treasure trove of NZ classics make up new ebook library

Treasure trove of New Zealand classics make up new ebook library


Changing Times contents on ipad web

Auckland University Press has produced a treasure trove of more than 240 classic New Zealand books, some long out of print, as ebooks in multiple formats for readers in New Zealand and around the world.

With the support of Creative New Zealand, Copyright Licensing New Zealand and the Vice-Chancellor’s Strategic Development Fund at the University of Auckland, the Press has mined fifty years of great publishing to bring back its classic books in these new formats.

Press director Sam Elworthy says, ‘It was a real thrill to be able to dive deep into the Auckland University Press backlist and resurrect a whole lot of great books that had been long out of print – books like Keith Sinclair’s Origins of the Maori Wars and M. P. K. Sorrenson’s three-volume, collected letters of Apirana Ngata and Sir Peter Buck, Heather Nicholson’s award-winning story of knitting The Loving Stitch, Ian Wedde’s Spells for Coming Out and Roger Horrocks’s superb biography of Len Lye.’

The Press’s commitment to getting the full range of its publishing into digital formats created enormous challenges.

‘Over a hundred of the titles were published long before PDFs, so we sent hard copies off to India for conversion and then checked them back in New Zealand. For many of the old books, our information on the author and the title was shaky. Finding covers, updating websites, contacting authors and their estates – all of this work allowed us to get to know again the amazing depth of the Auckland University Press list.’

All Auckland University Press electronic books are available in epub and mobi for e-readers and most are also in pdf for scholarly libraries. Through partnerships with Faber Factory and IPG Books, Press ebooks can be bought through all major retail channels (Amazon and Apple, Whitcoulls and PaperPlus, Google and Barnes & Noble, and lots more) and they are also available libraries.

‘Along with our US distributors IPG, we have been fortunate to partner with Faber Factory who handle our digital distribution outside North America. Rooted in one of the world’s great publishing houses, the Faber Factory team have developed innovative ways to make sure ebooks get out to multiple retailers in multiple formats around the world, to monitor availability, sales and pricing in real time, and to promote ebooks to readers.’

And the print book is not dying, he feels. From now on, the Press will be publishing almost all new titles that in electronic and print editions at the same time.

‘Most people who read ebooks also read in print and, at least in the medium term, we see ebooks representing about 20% of the market. But it’s great to let our readers get our content in multiple ways – in print and on e-readers, on University databases and in their local bookshops.’

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