Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Staying afloat during the COVID-19 lockdown

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended our accustomed way of living and working, and caused death and suffering in many countries. 

In February we were in close contact with our agent, printers and colleagues in China as the first wave of the coronavirus spread there. Happily everyone has made it through well and normal life is resuming.
Flying the Italian Tricolore in Oratia
Now we are feeling saddened and worried for our family and friends in Italy, and extend our amore and solidarietà to all, especially in Alessandra’s home areas of Emilia-Romagna, Lombardia and Veneto, who have been hit so hard by the virus. Il nostro cuore è con voi!

Our most sincere condolences to Paola della Valle, author of the Oratia book From Silence to Voice, who has lost of her mother to the epidemic in Turin. Our heart goes out to you, Paola. 

The spread of the disease to other parts of Europe and North America is gravely concerning, and we wish our family, friends and business partners there all the best for this challenging period. 

We applaud the New Zealand government’s move to a Level 4 alert here, which is confining New Zealanders to their homes for four weeks minimum and closing all but essential work and services. 
The latest title in The NZ Series will now publish on 8 May
Oratia is lucky to be a home-based business so there was no need for a transition to remote work. We feel for our publishing colleagues and bookstores who had to reconfigure rapidly as the lockdown closed in on us. 

We are all having to adapt to not being able to sell or ship physical books while these are considered non-essential services.

The first consequence is rescheduling our next two books. Rush to Riches: Kauri and Gold moves from April to an 8 May publication date — the books are printed and ready now, but we have no way to distribute them.

Harry Sangl’s beautiful painting collection Te Kuia Moko: The Last Tattooed Maori Women, which is printing in New Zealand, will now publish on 9 June. 
Te Kuia Moko will now be available in June
The Oratia Books 2020 Catalogue will be out later this week, as planned. All the books are on schedule for completion this year, and we’ll just have to adapt timing and print options depending on how the fight against COVID-19 proceeds. 

Our New Zealand booksellers are the key to keeping New Zealand authors are print, so while shops are closed we recommend readers to bide their time and then get back to their local bookseller (be it bricks-and-mortar or online) once it's safe to do so.
The 2020 catalogue is ready
In the interim now we’re looking into expanding our Ebook range, to ensure more of our books continue to be available to readers. 

Among the industry initiatives underway — virtual launches, online reading and sharing of favourite reads – some of our authors are taking the lead also. Click here for Tim Tipene’s reading oMāui – Sun Catcher

Meanwhile useful advice from the Publishers Association of New Zealand, some of which is of general interest, is available here.

We wish everyone a safe and healthy period at home, and we’ll keep in contact. 

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