Local retailer signs on to sell largest collection of NZ ebooks

New Zealand retailer Wheelers will sell Great NZ ebooks, the largest collection of digital New Zealand books.

New Zealand retailer Wheelers will sell Great NZ ebooks, the largest collection of digital New Zealand books.

The conversion of about 400 titles, including books by Margaret Mahy, Bill Manhire and Owen Marshall, to digital format and their availability online was an initiative by Digital Publishing New Zealand (DPNZ), which is managed by Copyright Licensing.

Copyright Licensing matched funding from Creative NZ of $50,000 to establish a $100,000 conversion fund for DPNZ.

DPNZ provided a storage and distribution service for www.greatnzebooks.co.nz and retailers included Kobo and a local retailer, Copyright Licensing chief executive Paula Browning had previously told NBR.

And the local retailer was Wheelers, Great NZ Ebooks said.

The agreement signed this week would enable New Zealanders and others to purchase from the first collection of New Zealand ebooks through a New Zealand retailer, it said.

Wheeler’s was New Zealand’s largest online new book supplier to schools and libraries and had invested in an ebook delivery platform equivalent to those operated by some international ebook retailers, it said.

Ms Browning said Copyright Licensing was thrilled to have partnered with a reputable New Zealand supplier.

“We know that New Zealanders like to “buy New Zealand made” and the Wheelers system will ensure that the retail market for ebooks generates a return to a New Zealand company as well as to New Zealand authors and publishers.

Ms Browning said some publishers had chosen to provide free samples of portions of their ebooks but she was not aware of any giving whole titles away.

Great NZ ebooks was continuing discussions with Google and Apple, she said.

Wheelers managing director Paul du Temple said it was a delight to be a reseller of Great NZ Ebooks, which was a good collection of New Zealand classic content.

He said as far as he was aware the collection would be available on all smart devices, tablets and ereaders except Kindle, which had a separate format.

Mr du Temple said it was difficult to get New Zealand content in ebook format.

“It’s all very very new, so there’s a lot of publishers who are only just starting to digitise their titles…to have a really strong diverse collection like this become available in one go is exciting.”

He said he thought the response to the collection’s availability would be a staged process as there was only so many of the population who read ebooks and had devices that could load them.

“We expect over time that there will be a good response but we’re not expecting a huge instant response.”

The collection had previously been planned for a pre-Christmas launch, but Ms Browning said there were circumstances which could affect this, with more details to come.

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