Nielsen BookScan advises its subscribing clients and participating retailers that Whitcoulls will stop contributing sales data to the NZ BookScan panel from week 37.
Therefore this week’s chart, week 36 issued Thursday 15th September, is the final chart with Whitcoulls’ participation.
Industry reaction was swift and hostile: Publishers Association President Kevin Chapman described it as "industry vandalism". Book guru Graham Beattie said he would never buy another book at Whitcoulls again.
If Whitcoulls was only the same size as Dymocks now is, it wouldn't matter. But still having about 30% of the NZ book retail market, the Whitcoulls non-contribution makes a big difference to industry information.
In our 2 June post we said that the Whitcoulls head-hunting of Joan McKenzie from rival Paper Plus was an encouraging sign. But there has been no evidence of an improved range of titles in their stores since then. All we see in Wellington City is the disgraced Borders signage still prominent in Lambton Quay (the Borders stores were part of the purchase).
Are the new Whitcoulls owners intent on making their stores irrelevent in the book industry? It seems so.