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Bookshop adds winning edition

Millie Blackwell’s bookshop has won the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards Trust for their promotion of illustrated nonfiction. PHOTO/FRANCES CHIN

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A Greytown bookstore has beaten the best of Auckland and Wellington in the nation’s premier book awards.

Mrs Blackwell’s Village Bookshop in Greytown has been named “champion of champions” by the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards Trust for its book promotion campaign.

The bookseller – alongside five other shortlisted stores – was tasked with promoting four titles for the Booksellers Aotearoa Award for illustrated non-fiction.

Owner Millie Blackwell said she leapt at the chance to promote New Zealand books and authors.

“I was brand new to book-selling, and I was really keen to have the chance to do something good for the industry.”

Blackwell was hesitant at first, wondering how “a little regional bookshop” could compete against large bookstores in the big cities.

However, the competition wasn’t judged solely on sales.

“It was the whole campaign, and how much effort you put into it.”

Blackwell’s promotion involved author reviews, magazine articles, social media posts, and displays.

“We had a lot of fun thinking of creative ways to promote these books.

“Illustrated, hardcover books are a pleasure to own and they make fantastic gifts and because of that, they really benefit from a knowledgeable and enthusiastic sales team behind them.”

The entire operation was local – the printing was done by a Greytown printer and video was filmed in Featherston.

“It shows that regional businesses can compete nationally with the skills they have in their backyard.”

Mrs Blackwell’s Village Bookshop is also a nominee for best bookshop as part of Capital Magazine’s best of Wellington competition – the only bookshop in Wairarapa to be nominated.

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