Nelson bookshop NZ's best for a third time

Last updated 15:00 25/06/2014
Peter Rigg
MARTIN DE RUYTER/Fairfax NZ

Peter Rigg and Susi Blackmore outside their shop Page & Blackmore in Trafalgar St.

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Nelson independent bookshop Page & Blackmore Booksellers is tops again, winning the 2014 Nielsen Award for New Zealand Bookshop of the Year.

It is the third time the store has received the national award. It has also been judged best bookshop in the South Island for a fourth time. 

The Trafalgar St bookshop was founded in 1998 by the merger of two stores owned by couples Susi and Tim Blackmore and Peter and Ann Rigg, and has gained a loyal following. 

Peter Rigg said he had hoped it would win the South Island award, so he prepared a speech which he delivered at the awards night in Auckland. He was returning to his seat when he heard the store's name read again as winner of the national award, and returned to the stage. "I didn't have anything prepared."

He said he was amazed by Page & Blackmore's success.

"It's funny - years ago, Susi said, 'I want to win best bookshop', and I said, 'Don't be silly'."

He believed that being part of the Nelson community made a difference. ''It was an inspired choice hiring Stella [Chrysostomou] to get out there and do events. 

"I also think people in Nelson and Tasman have supported their bookshop.  We cannot always match the internet but people are prepared to give us a go."

At the book industry conference this week, publishers were keen to offer to bring authors to Nelson, knowing they would be supported, he said.

Page & Blackmore's owners decided in March to sell the business. Rigg said they had a potential buyer doing due diligence and another three or four interested. "People have been joking that the price for the business has just gone up."

Nelson-based Craig Potton Publishing celebrated with them at the awards after winning the Nielsen award for New Zealand publishing.

"Nelson has done quite well in the publishing scene," Rigg said.

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- The Nelson Mail

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