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New Online Store Focuses On Kiwi Children’s Books

An online bookstore, Kiwi Kids Read Kiwi Books, has been launched to link New Zealand authors and illustrators creating books for children and teens with book buyers and young readers around the country.

The brainchild of Wanaka author Kate Gordon, the bookstore went live mid-November with eight founding authors who have written an array of picture books, early readers, chapter books, fiction novels and graphic novels for 0-15 year olds.

Ms Gordon independently published her first middle grade novel last year entitled Lily and the Unicorn King, a fantasy featuring brave friends, ponies and unicorns, and she was looking for ways to more easily reach potential readers when she came up with the idea for the website.

“I love being an indie author and part of an ever-growing community of indie authors in New Zealand and around the world,” says Ms Gordon. “Our books are available on the big global online retailers which is great for reaching overseas readers, but shipping costs make it expensive for Kiwis to buy our paperbacks via these outlets and have them delivered in New Zealand.”

What if, Ms Gordon asked herself, Kiwi authors could sell directly to book buyers and send out their own books to the readers, eliminating storage costs? What if Kiwi authors could earn more of the sale price of each book because the online bookstore focussed on creating a great, collaborative, inclusive community of Kiwi writers and readers, rather than profits?

Ms Gordon discussed the concept with several authors and received only positive feedback about the opportunity to reach New Zealand book buyers. She opted to focus on books for children and teens as being a niche she was familiar with and a market where physical books, rather than eBooks, were still popular.

With the assistance of local web and graphic designers, Ms Gordon created the Kiwi Kids Read Kiwi Books website to offer New Zealand authors writing for the 0-15 age groups a new channel via which they could sell their books.

“I don’t want to take away from the fantastic work done by mainstream and independent bookstores around the country, many of whom offer significant support to New Zealand authors. But they have only limited shelf space and a whole world of books to choose from,” Ms Gordon adds.

“New Zealanders love backing other New Zealanders – even more so in these COVID-impacted times – so Kiwi Kids Read Kiwi Books is very much about offering Kiwis the chance to find books for written by talented Kiwis. We’re delighted to have books which include Te Reo and New Zealand Sign Language available, as well as many books set in New Zealand which help our children read their ‘own stories’.”

Since the site’s launch with a core group of handpicked authors, Ms Gordon has received dozens of enquiries from prospective authors and, with the help of a selection panel, is adding more authors and books to the site every day.

“It’s exciting and humbling to have so much support from the authors involved with Kiwi Kids Read Kiwi Books,” she says. “Sometimes it still feels like such a simple idea, but that’s often good, isn’t it? To know your core focus and run with it.”

Solid work has been implemented to create a multi-vendor online shopping platform. “I’m rapt that the website offers book buyers a familiar, seamless and secure experience.”

Ms Gordon says that since the site was launched on 13 November, sales are being made, books are being dispatched by their authors and people are subscribing to the Kiwi Kids Books newsletter.

“The first couple of weeks have been really encouraging to see this level of support already as our followers on social media are growing by the day. Now we’re gearing up for our first book giveaway in the first week of December as a special pre-Christmas promotion.”

The Kiwi Kids Read Kiwi Books online store web address is https://kiwikidsreadkiwibooks.nz/. It can also be found on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/KiwiKidsReadKiwiBooks/ and Instagram https://www.instagram.com/kiwikidsreadkiwibooks/.

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