Whitcoulls has announced that from May 31 they will no longer redeem Booksellers Tokens, prompting leading book blogger and former publisher Graham Beattie to declare "a plague on all [their] branches". Beattie, a former managing director and publisher at Penguin New Zealand, is protesting the move by refusing to review, feature or promote any titles that are sold exclusively through Whitcoulls.
"If you do these sorts of deals with Whitcoulls in future please do not send copies to me for review," he wrote. "This is another selfish and short-sighted action by Whitcoulls. When Whitcoulls announced last year that they would no longer contribute to trade sales figures I said on this blog that I would never darken any of their doors again and I have not done so. Previously I bought all my stationery there and quite a few books as well.
"This further mean-spirited move by them vindicates my earlier decision and I will from now on urge all book buyers to stay away from Whitcoulls. Instead I suggest they should find a good local indie bookstore, there are many of them, and give them their business."
Booksellers New Zealand Chief Executive Lincoln Gould says the Booksellers Tokens are, “heavily used by schools and other educational and corporate organisations as prizes and employee incentives."
“One of the most important aspects of Booksellers Tokens is that they are guaranteed – we retain a fund that covers all unredeemed tokens. Just yesterday a Wairarapa bookstore was presented with Booksellers Tokens that were 25 years old, which were still good to use because they came from a time before our Tokens had an expiry date,” says Gould.
There will still be more than 200 independent book stores and Paper Plus stores selling and redeeming Booksellers Tokens nationwide.
Here is a full list of stores that will still accept Booksellers Tokens.