Like a Pub Crawl for Books: the Book Wellington Map

Have you ever visited 18 bookstores in a day? The map is a Booklover’s guide to the capital and features an eclectic mix of 18 stores from Weta Cave in Miramar, to second hand specialists like Arty Bees, The Ferret Bookstore and Pegasus in the Cuba Quarter, right down to the small but perfectly formed Vic Books Pipitea. 

The stores on the first edition of Book Wellington Map are:  Weta Cave, Children’s Bookshop Kilbirnie, Book Haven Newtown, Moore Wilson’s Books for Cooks, Te Papa Store, Arty Bees Books, Graphic Comic Shop, The Ferret Bookshop, Pegasus Books, Minerva, Pinnacle Books, Unity Books, Wellington Central Library, Paper Plus Lambton Square, Vic Books Pipitea, Millwood Gallery, Vic Books Kelburn and Marsden Books.
 
The Read took to the road to get the full story on the Book Wellington map, starting with the committee that put it together and getting a little book-drunk along the way….
 
Behind the Scenes

A map of Wellington bookstores is an idea that’s been “out there in the ether for some time." Don Hollander (right) from Book Haven in Newtown originally scoped the concept with other local stores. But it wasn’t until a series of industry meetings in Wellington mid-last year that the idea gained further traction and – importantly – manpower.
 
Tammy Ruffell of HarperCollins said:“A small splinter group was tasked with coming up with ways we could celebrate the range of bookshops we have in the Capital and to promote the experience of buying books in an actual bookshop as opposed to clicking online.”
 
Tammy is one of the members of the six-strong committee that oversaw the production, design and distribution of the map, along with Paul Greenberg from Greene Phoenix Marketing, Anna Applin from Archetype Agents, Niki Ward from Vic Books, Jessica Tait from Arty Bees, and Megan Dunn from Booksellers NZ. The book reps, Tammy, Anna and Paul, signed up 18 local stores and 13 publishers to support the Book Wellington map. At Booksellers NZ, Megan helped devise the budget and project plan. The committee agreed that any map of local bookstores needed a visual edge to capture Wellington’s literary scene. 
 

Paul worked his influence to secure the involvement of FitzBeck Creative “…who have a proven record of being able to capture the unique zaniness of Wellington which in its own way is reflected in Wellington’s range of bookshops.” 
 
It took approximately five months of behind the scenes planning for the committee to get the project from the “light bulb stage” to the fresh and distinctive printed map that arrived in stores in mid-December 2014. Several drafts of the map were checked off with booksellers and publishers alike to make sure all the stores and Wellington landmarks ended up in the right place. The cover is even adorned with a booky interpretation of one of the capital’s signature buildings: the beehive. 
 
“Our goal was to unite fun and functionality, combining a quirky, illustrative style with plenty of detailed information about the great bookshops we have in Wellington,” Mike Fitzsimons of FitzBeck Creative said. “It's attracted plenty of attention and it reinforces the fact that we have a vibrant book selling industry here in Wellington.” (image below: some vibrant booksellers, Mark and Jacqui, at Weta Cave.) 
The map is in its first edition with further distribution plans to come; 30,000 copies have been printed so far and are available to pick up from all the stores on the map, including Wellington Central Library and many of the regional library branches and the popular tourist hub, i-SITE, located in Civic Square. 
 
A new marketing committee is now devising plans for a Friday night launch event and a mini book festival on Saturday. Tammy says; “The Map is phase one, the next step is to have a Book Wellington Facebook Page which all our bookshops and publishers can use to promote events and signing sessions. The idea is for people to check in with the page to find out what is happening on any given day in the Wellington region…and to plan their visit accordingly!”
 
The Booklover’s pub crawl 
The Read’s tiki tour of the stores on the map began at Weta Cave in Miramar. Every book and item of merchandise for the hobbit or elf in your life is available there, and the Book Wellington Map has gone down well with visitors to “Middle Earth.”

From there we went to Kilbirnie, where we were treated to some great coffee and conversation at The Children’s Bookshop, then onward to Book Haven in Newtown, where Barbie was pretty stoked with her copy of Book Wellington. 
Don Hollander of Book Haven said, “I’ve been delighted to see people using it for their own adventures.” 
 
In early January this year Don met a young man dressed in coat, tie and argyle sweater at Book Haven who was accompanied by his father - the book-loving pair were attempting to visit all the shops on the map in one day! They left Book Haven for Moore Wilson’s Books for Cooks mini-store, located upstairs in the Variety department. The Read know father and son at least made it over to Willis Street, where they met Laurel Chiles at Pinnacle Books. 

The Read found the Book Wellington map keeping some pretty interesting company in the sales bin outside Pinnacle Books, a mind body and specialist bookstore. 

Inspired by this dynamic father and son duo, The Read pressed on to the Cuba Quarter: a great hub for booklovers on the map trail. Arty Bees offers plenty of buzz for every kind of reader from the sci-fi lover to the New Zealand history buff.
 
“We think of the map as like a pub crawl but for books,” said Matt at Arty Bees. Indeed. Hic. Next up, The Read found TinTin orbiting the map on the counter of Graphic Comics.
 
Leo and Shane said Graphic Comics have had lots of people from the boats coming in with the maps, often with X’s marked on the places that have already been to. “It’s definitely working.” 

The Read then poked our noses in to The Ferret Bookshop and flew around the corner to Pegasus on Leftbank where the Book map was assuming some interesting positions. 
 
Tipsy on the book lover’s trail we headed up Cuba Street to the lovely Minerva, a craft, fashion, textile and quilter's bookshop that, just quietly, has some of the best cards in Wellington. 
 
Across the road from Booksellers NZ offices on Willis Street, Unity Books has had a flood… of interest!… and already restocked the map twice this year. Tilly Lloyd said: “The maps are funkily designed and informative, factors which are not always mutually inclusive when it comes to maps. People unanimously love the maps. We often draw cups on them so visitors can easily find the best café nearby.”
 
Drunk on Books 
Hic. At some point The Read swung into the library to see how many copies of the map had been issued so far. The Te Papa store was so busy the maps had all gone from the shop floor, but we managed to catch this rare squid sighting. 

Over on Tinakori Road the stylish map adds to Millwood Gallery’s artistic chic. Meanwhile students at Vic Books on the Kelburn campus have been known to snack on chocolate to maintain their stamina whilst on the Book Map trail. 

Out in Karori, the map has been a hit with the locals at Marsden Books who are very hungry for great literature. 
Last but not least, The Read pressed on to see the map in situ at Vic Books Pipitea.

Both stores tell us the map has proved popular with customers and when we swung by Midland Park Katherine Mansfield herself was kind enough to recommend the map to us. “I’ve seen the little picture of me,” she said, softly. 

The Book Wellington map also features six of the capital’s great literary landmarks including the Katherine Mansfield Sculpture, the Katherine Mansfield Birthplace and the Wellington Writer’s Walk. 
 
Now, time to sober up. Or perhaps just drink in more great bookstores?
 
By Megan Dunn, Projects Manager, Booksellers NZ
 
View our pictorial tour of bookstores on flickr.
 
Thanks to all the publishers who supported the Book Wellington Map: Gecko Press, Awa Press, Te Papa Press, Steele Roberts Publishers, Hachette, Victoria University Press, Huia, Phantom House, Bridget Williams Books, Penguin Random House, HarperCollins Publishers, Archetype Book Agents, and Allen and Unwin.