Along with magazines, cards, stationery, and non-fiction books, the medium-sized Whitcoulls in the airport terminal has one decent-sized wall of fiction - divided into an "A to Z", "New", "Bestsellers", "Young Adult" and "Whitcoulls Top 100". There is also a NZ Fiction end, and another end highlighting some instore bestsellers.
There probably isn't really much room for a specific 'crime/thriller' section, but a large percentage of the books in the 'A to Z', 'New' and 'Bestsellers' are crime/thriller fiction. There was of course also a big table full of THE LOST SYMBOL, the latest thriller from Dan Brown.
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, in both the 'A to Z' section (spine-facing) and the 'New' section (front-facing) (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); and
- There were no copies of any Joan Druett, Vanda Symon, Paul Cleave, Neil Cross, Andrea Jutson, Lindy Kelly, Paddy Richardson or Michael Green title (all of whom have released at least one crime/thriller title in the past 12-18mths) (VERY POOR).
So overall, it was a pretty poor result (again) for Whitcoulls, especially considering the dominance of international crime/thriller titles in the 'New', 'Bestseller' and 'A to Z' sections. And I would have thought an airport would have been a perfect place to promote and sell NZ crime/thriller fiction (after all, many such books are referred to as 'airport thrillers' - enjoyable and great reads for people who are travelling places).
It's a shame that one of our largest bookstore chains is doing so poorly thusfar in supporting, publicising, and selling NZ crime/thriller fiction. The store at the airport, even taking into consideration its smaller size in a relative sense, was even more of a disappointment than the flagship store on Queen Street (which at least had Druett and Symon in stock as well).
So, overall, I give Whitcoulls Auckland Airport (Domestic Terminal) 1.75 out of 5. Could do a lot, lot better. Thoughts? Comments? Am I being fair? Or am I expecting too much from NZ bookstores, especially large chain stores?