Youtube VideoNZ Book month is an annual celebration with a simple intent: to promote books, reading and literacy amongst all Kiwis, young or old, beginner or pro. It was established six years ago to address the fact that, year after year, the number of books sold in New Zealand decreases. And this creates a serious cultural issue: Kiwi authors struggle to maintain a career and our country's stories go untold.
In March this year, the organisers attempted something huge and, as part of the Books Change Lives campaign, aimed to put a book in the hands of every New Zealander by distributing more than four million $5 vouchers. It was an immense undertaking and, to do it, buy in was needed from the country's publishers and retailers so point of sale advertising could be shown in stores and vouchers could be redeemed for any book.
Benchmarks were difficult to set, as the campaign was a world-first, but its objectives were all well and truly surpassed. It aimed to get 50 percent of booksellers on board and felt a one percent redemption rate would make it a success. Amazingly, the organisers managed to persuade 85 percent of the retailers and 95 percent of the publishers to join the scheme (in theory, a $20 million commitment) and the redemption rate was 2.25 percent.
In January and February, New Zealand book sales were down eight percent. In March, as a direct result of the campaign, they were up 12.5 percent year on year and sales continued to increase in April, with increases across all categories, particularly non-fiction and children's.
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CATEGORY COMMENT: "There’s a lot of pressure in the not for profit sector at the moment, especially after Christchurch. It’s meant that financial support is harder to get. And so what we’re seeing is a combo of both a tactical response, like what is it we can do in the short term just to keep the money flowing in. Also a strategic rethink of long term and how can we deal with the way we raise money. Something different, something that hasn’t traditionally been done."
THE PEOPLE: Donella Parker.
THE PARTNERS: Rapport Advertising and Marketing
Unicef NZ Say No To Naff
Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind Red (& Black) Puppy Appeal