Thursday, October 29, 2015

Newsworthy in Brazil

Erivan Gomes, director of Brazil's Cortez Editora, has sent through this item from the Estado do São Paulo newspaper talking about Brazilian publishers at the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Apparently the journalist was there at the time of my meeting with Erivan on 14 October to discuss rights exchanges for children's books - so I get a mention in the last paragraph marked as the 'editor da Nova Zelândia'. Nice!

The article reflects that despite international interest in Brazilians, there's a lack of translations. Unfortunately translation support from the Brazilian government has been patchy for many overseas publishers - we didn't get any backing for our 2014 edition of Snowy the Doganaut.

But we'll keep talking with Erivan and Cortez, who are producing some beautiful books.

Peter Dowling, Publisher

Monday, October 19, 2015

Frankfurt Book Fair 2015: Getting together and getting better

Smaller and better: that's my feeling after four days at the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair, the major event on the world publishing calendar.

The Frankfurter Buchmesse organisers condensed the layout of the fair this year, bringing English-language publishers from the distant and cavernous Hall 8 to reside across three levels in Hall 6. With the New Zealand stand well positioned on the ground floor, it was a lot easier to connect for meetings in the other halls and to feel part of this great global village of books.

Compliments again to Anne de Lautour and the Publishers Association of New Zealand for the very cool and visible design of the collective stand on which Oratia Media took its place alongside 14 other Kiwi publishers – and to our stand staff Christiane Arheilger and Heike Reifgens. There’s a supportive spirit of collegiality and fun all week (rated as the week’s best by many fair regulars).

With PANZ Director Anne de Lautour on the NZ stand
Meetings here are conducted at half-hour intervals, which on the busiest days this year meant over 15 official encounters with publishers, agents, distributors and service providers at our stands and theirs – before dinners and gatherings into the night. Along with reviewing current business relationships, presenting new books, seeking rights deals and pitching new series and book ideas, I started communicating our soon-to-be-public rebranding and development plans.
At the New Zealand party: Michael Duckworth (University of Hawaii Press) and Scott Beatty (Trajectory)
Smaller and better also describes how the book industry is looking now. Sure, bookstores have closed, publishers have pulled out of some markets and tightened their lists, and ebooks have generally not delivered on their promise. But a leaner publishing industry has got smarter and is seeing a consumer move back to print, and for independents there’s market share to be grabbed and easier international connections to be made.
For our authors, exposure to the international publishing community will hopefully lead to seeing their books overseas and in translation. With our Chinese agent Fanny Yu of CA-Link I toasted the sale of mainland Chinese rights to Dawn McMillan and Ross Kinnaird’s I Need a New Bum!, and I got a good response to their new book Mister Spears and his Hairy Ears. Our new international picture book series Indigenous Voices, which includes a great new story from Tim Tipene, is exciting a lot of interest also. And the September release of Hirini Moko Mead’s classic Te Toi Whakairo: The Art of Maori Carving is also promising good sales offshore.

With Fanny Yu of our Chinese agency CA-Link
I was also delighted to present some fine NZ books from outside our own programme, including Neil Coleman’s hard-hitting YA novel Roskill, David Bell’s YA fantasy novel The Dog Hunters (first in a very promising series), David Lupton and Leonel Alvarado’s beautiful The Divine Remains, and the sumptuous Coast, Country, Neighbourhood, City, which profiles the work of design studio Isthmus.

Our section of the NZ stand
So much of world publishing is dominated by big US, UK, French and German corporations. Alongside good meetings with colleagues from all those markets, this year Frankfurt brought me great exchanges with publishers from publishers as far flung as Belarus, Chile, El Salvador, Ireland ... Big is beautiful but so is small.

Peter Dowling is managing director of Oratia Media ( and publisher of its books division Libro International (, and is international councillor of the Publishers Association of New Zealand.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Mister Spears’ ear hair grows from today

Mister Spears and his Hairy Ears, the new picture book from bestselling author-illustrator duo Dawn McMillan and Ross Kinnaird, is published today.

This fun story tells of the affable Mister Spears and the problem he faces with his ear hair, which just won’t stop growing not even if he covers it with band aids or wears a motorcycle helmet!

Then a flash of inspiration brings the answer, one that leads to a rock’n’roll lifestyle for him and his cute cat, Tiger.

Dawn and Ross (and Tiger!) are appearing in Auckland at Whitcoulls Botany today at 11 a.m., and at the Dorothy Butler Children’s Bookshop in Ponsonby at 10.30 a.m. tomorrow.

Dawn will also be at Paper Plus Te Awamutu on 31 October, New Zealand Bookshop Day. 

Mister Spears and his Hairy Ears
ISBN: 978-1-877514-84-5
$19.99; 230 x 215 mm portrait, paperback, 32 pp, colour
Order from Publishers Distribution Limited, 09 828 2999 or

Friday, October 2, 2015

Mister Spears launches on 8 October with bookstore appearances

Mister Spears and his Hairy Ears, the new picture book from Dawn McMillan and Ross Kinnaird, will be published this Thursday 8 October.

Dawn and Ross will be appearing in Auckland at Whitcoulls Botany at 11 am on the 8th, and at the Dorothy Butler Children's Bookshop at 10.30 a.m. on Friday 9th.

This fun story meets the kind but sad Mister Spears as he tries to control his rampant ear hair:
I trim and I trim and still the hair grows
way past my knees, down to my toes …
Nothing he tries can stop his ear hair growing – not even wearing a motorcycle helmet! Then a flash of inspiration brings the answer, one that leads to a big change in life for him and his cute cat Tiger.

Take the kids along to Botany and Ponsonby and prepare for fun and laughs with the bestselling authors of I Need a New Bum! and Doctor Grundy's Undies

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Oratia Media - helping authors and organisations to publish

Oratia Media, which publishes Libro International books, is primarily a publishing services business that works with individuals and groups to produce a range of publications and text.

Booksellers New Zealand has just profiled Oratia Media in an interesting article on how major changes in the world of books over recent years have led to more self-publishing and contract services:

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Te Toi Whakairo is published today

Te Toi Whakairo
The Art of Maori Carving

Hirini Moko Mead

New edition published today

Te Toi Whakairo is among the most comprehensive and valuable books published on Maori woodcarving, and has been out of print  for many years – until today.

Distinguished author Sir Sidney (Hirini) Moko Mead explores carving from its mythical origins to modern art, from the styles of Northland through to those of the South Island, from an explanation of basic techniques to the most elaborate surface decorations – with the help of hundreds of photos and drawings.

The book returns with a new cover and author’s note; in the latter, the author writes:

Te Toi Whakairo lives on and is available to people who are interested in art in general, and especially in woodcarving that belongs to the traditions of this land.”

Sir Sidney (Hirini) Moko Mead is a leading authority on Maori art and culture. Born in 1927, he had a distinguished university career at Victoria University and internationally, has written numerous books, was a driving force behind the Te Maori exhibition, and has been a leader of his iwi, Ngati Awa. He was knighted in 2009 for services to Maori and education. Ta Hirini lives with his wife in Wellington.

Publication Date: 17 September 2015  |  ISBN: 978-1-877514-82-1  |  RRP $45
Paperback with flaps, 242 x 182 mm, 276 pages b&w

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Ron Crosby on Radio NZ National

Ron Crosby, distinguished lawyer and author of The Musket Wars (Libro International, 2012) featured on Radio New Zealand National's Saturday Morning show on 29 August.

Follow this link to hear Ron talking with Kim Hill about New Zealand conflicts of the nineteenth century, including the Musket Wars, in relation to his new book Kūpapa (PenguinRandomHouse, 2015)

See Ron's site for more on his books:

Saturday, August 29, 2015

RIP John Johnston

Photographer, artist and author John Johnston passed away last week at the age of 96.
John had a long and distinguished career as a photographer and artist - starting out as a street photographer in downtown Auckland using the first Leica camera, establishing Auckland's premiere photographic studio after the Second World War, later picking up paintbrushes to become a commercial artist, and at the end of his life still creating and experimenting with a digital camera and Photoshop.
John published two books: I Didn't Have a Choice (Reed, 2006), the illustrated account of his Second World War service in North Africa and Italy, and the privately published Notions (2011). His last work, 80 Years Behind the Lens: The life story of a professional New Zealand photographer, is now being prepared for publication by his long-term collaborator Martyn Thompson.
Loved by those who knew him, John was a true gentleman and a meticulous craftsman. Our thoughts are with his partner Susan, his friends and family. Rest in peace, John.