Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bookstore Review: Paper Plus, Richmond Mall in Nelson

In the fourth of an irregular series on this blog, I take a look at how well (or not) the Paper Plus store in the Richmond Mall in Nelson (the largest mall in the top of the South Island) displays, publicises and otherwise supports New Zealand crime and thriller writing instore.

The Paper Plus store (which was formerly an NZ Post-associated Books'n'More store until Paper Plus bought that chain a couple of years ago) is one of two books-related nationwide chainstores in the Richmond Mall (along with a Whitcoulls). Neither bookstore is particularly large in size.

Along with magazines, cards, stationery, and post supplies, the Paper Plus has one wall of fiction - divided into an "A to Z", a small NZ fiction section, a small NZ non-fiction section, and a small "Nelson" section. They seem to have a good selection of books overall, especially given the space constraints. There isn't really any room for a specific 'crime/thriller' section, but a large percentage of the books in the A to Z are crime/thriller fiction.

Here are my findings in relation to NZ crime/mystery/thriller fiction:

  • There were a couple of copies of the latest New Zealand crime title, Alix Bosco's CUT & RUN, spine-facing in the A to Z section (GOOD);
  • There were also a couple of copies of Michael Green's BLOOD BOND in the A to Z section, the first time I have seen this book in any bookstore yet (GOOD/GREAT);
  • There were a few copies of Dorothy Fowler's WHAT REMAINS BEHIND in the New Zealand fiction section, with a nice front facing (GOOD/GREAT);
  • There were a few copies of Lindy Kelly's BOLD BLOOD in the New Zealand fiction section, with a nice front facing - the first time I have seen copies of this #1 NZ Adult fiction bestseller (from March) still (re)stocked in any bookstore in the past few weeks (GOOD/GREAT);
  • There were no copies of any Joan Druett, Vanda Symon, Paul Cleave, Neil Cross, or Andrea Jutson title, although I have seen copies of Symon's THE RINGMASTER in the A to Z section of that same store earlier this year (POOR); and
  • There were also front-facings of two Loren Teague books in the NZ fiction section - Teague categorises herself as a romance novelist, but her latest TRUE DECEPTION (one of the books that was available in the Paper Plus) centres on a policeman, and has a lot of crime/thriller elements - she calls it a "romantic thriller", and it seems equivalent to early Sandra Brown or Tami Hoag, when they were making the shift from romance to crime. However you categorise the latest Teague book (ie whether you think it comes within the fringes of the crime/thriller/suspense category, or falls just outside), it is good to see this Paper Plus store supporting NZ popular fiction by stocking it (GOOD/GREAT).

So overall, it was a pretty good result for Paper Plus, especially considering the size of the store (it wasn't really a large 'flagship' store which you would expect to have all titles). This store stocked four of the latest NZ crime/thriller titles (and was the only store thusfar to stock BLOOD BOND and BOLD BLOOD), as well as a recent romance suspense title. They've also previously stocked Vanda Symon as well.
One point however - although Alix Bosco's CUT & RUN is listed as one of celebrity reviewer Kerre Woodham's 'Recommended Reads', it wasn't one of the books displayed as such (in the special colourful cardboard end boxes) in this store, although international crime/thriller fiction titles were.
If the stores were all equivalent sizes with equivalent resources, i would probably mark this Paper Plus store a little bit above Whitcoulls Queen Street, but falling far short of Borders Queen Street (given the lack of Druett, Cleave, Jutson and Symon).

However, I should take into account the size and location of the store somewhat (and the fact they stocked 2-3 recent crime/thriller/suspense titles thusfar unseen elsewhere), so I give Paper Plus Richmond Mall 3.25 out of 5. Good work overall, and could be even better with a few extra touches (and titles).

Thoughts? Comments? Am I being fair?

1 comment:

  1. Fair? I think you are lucky - to have bookstores that store books!

    Good review; I like this feature :)