Friday, September 25, 2009

Bookstore Review: Whitcoulls, Auckland Domestic Airport

In the fifth of a regular series on this blog, I take a look at how well (or not) the Whitcoulls store in the Auckland Airport domestic terminal displays, publicises and otherwise supports New Zealand crime and thriller writing instore.

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:

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?

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