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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

You Can Visit This New Independent Bookstore From the Comfort of Your Couch

The new online platform launched just in time for lockdown with stacks of fresh reads. 
By Josie Steenhart
August 18, 2020
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By Josie Steenhart
August 18, 2020
  shares

Whoever said books were dead clearly didn't see a global pandemic on the horizon — sales are soaring both internationally and locally. Last year, 21.1 million books were sold in New Zealand, and according to the recent Nielsen report​, book sales have increased annually by six percent. 

Perfect timing then for Mandy Myles, founder of brand new independent online bookstore Bookety Book Books, which launched this month with a flourish of pretty tissue paper and stacks of fresh reads. Myles admits she "had a good few minutes of just smelling all the books," when her stock first started arriving. "It's always a thrill when you get a new book, and I got boxes and boxes of new books! It was like all my Christmases came at once," she says. "It was so tempting to just sit down and read them all."

Herself a serious bookworm, Myles noticed a gap in the market for a local online store that replicated as much as possible the classic bricks and mortar bookshop experience.

"Global online stores may have lower prices, but they can never replace a local bookshop with a book lover on hand to guide you, and that's what my online store is all about," says Myles. 

At Bookety, readers can browse curated titles, create digital wishlists, write reviews, tap into a loyalty program and of course shop for books, which are then delivered in custom-designed packaging. Each title is personally selected by Myles, whose book recommendations are already enjoyed by a host of dedicated fans via her ​Instagram account. 

"The best booksellers are not necessarily there to sell books, they are there to impart their knowledge and share titles to move, challenge or inspire," she says. "I truly believe there's nothing more enjoyable than a really good book, and I can't wait to share that enjoyment with others."

Of the book boom, Myles says "there's no doubt that lockdown has had a big impact on book sales. When COVID hit, much of the entertainment industry went into hibernation, so it gave other forms of entertainment a chance to get some of the limelight."

"In general, there has been a return to more 'wholesome' hobbies — case in point, sourdough. None of which is surprising, considering all the other distractions we usually indulge in were suddenly unavailable and a lot of people ended up realising they are okay without them," she says.

"Also there are all these amazing new titles being released. And many of them are being made into big budget TV series. Sally Rooney's Normal People is a phenomenal book and its TV series was hugely popular. I think that TV exposure reminds an audience there's some very relevant fiction out there and they should get back into reading.

Visitors to Bookety Book Books can expect new fiction titles and bestselling authors like Margaret Atwood, Zadie Smith and Marian Keyes, alongside nonfiction books of the times written to educate and challenge, from Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Renni Eddo Lodges and This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay to How Do We Know We're Doing It Right? by Pandora Sykes. 

With Bookety Book Books on a mission to ensure locals are reading locally too, New Zealand authors have a justifiably prized place. Myles flags the newly released Fake Baby by Amy McDaid, A Mistake by Carl Shuker and winner of the recent Ockham prize, Becky Manawatu's Auē as Kiwi must-reads.

And as New Zealand comes to terms with further changes of lockdown status, Myles also has plenty of recommendations from the last much longer (hopefully) stretch of self-iso.

"Highlights of my last lockdown reading include 10 Minutes, 38 Seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak, Girl Woman Other by Bernardine Evaristo and Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi. Each of these books are incredibly unique stories, beautifully written, with the ability to completely transport you to another place. The perfect kind of fiction for when in need of pure distraction."

For more information about Bookety Book Books and to get browsing, visit booketybookbooks.co.nz.

Published on August 18, 2020 by Josie Steenhart

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