Great news that Auckland’s Unity Books won the Bookstore of the Year award at the London Book Fair.

Book nuts like me rarely frequent new bookshops, rather our haunts are second-hand bookstores. However, Unity is an exception and when in Auckland I always pop in on my way to Jason’s Used Books in the Law Society Building.

First I spend a minute or so gazing at their always fascinating window display. There’s a knack to that which they do better than any bookshop I have ever seen.

Unity’s major problem is its popularity as it’s always fairly crowded. Why then is it so successful?

The trick lies in purchasing, that is selecting from the thousands of new titles published each week. Invariably I find something of interest. Whoever buys for Unity really has this mastered.

Last year I spent probably a month full-time in bookshops, mostly in Britain, and with the exception of London’s renown and spacious Daunts bookstore and Auckland’s Unity, all in second-hand bookshops which abound in Britain. Daunts has the unique practise of presenting its fiction with the author’s nationality.  In other words, a section on say Cambodia will include histories, commentaries, travel guides and Cambodian fiction. I rather like that.

That said, I’m a regular buyer of new books after reading reviews. I could have a secretary buy them from Amazon cheaper but never do. Instead I bang of an email to Carolyn at Unity in Auckland who has it to me in double quick time. And why? Simply as a gesture of support for a fabulous bookshop which absolutely deserves the tribute paid to it in London.





The University Bookshop in Dunedin is similar – I have never walked out without at least one good book. For second hand bookshops, Slightly Foxed and Adventure Books in Oamaru’s historic precinct have a wonderful selection.

Volume Bookshop in Nelson is a jewel – and it has a great free weekly newsletter worth signing up for with original reviews, new books… a great resource.

I’ve never actually been to Unity Books in Auckland, only the Wellington branch. I must remedy this at some point.

I also like Scorpio Books in Christchurch. They offer an excellent service which I use from Auckland. Why do I not use Unity in Auckland? I have only just heard about it!

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