Chapter One

Kia ora. Welcome. I am Hayden Glass, and with a friend I have just bought a second-hand bookstore in Ponsonby.

One delight among 23,000

One delight among 23,000

The Open Book, we are calling it. Seven rooms, twenty three thousand books. Sci-fi/fantasy, literary fiction, poetry, biography, history, New Zealand books, new age, travel, one dollar bargain room, a lot of collectibles and curiosities. All kinds of delights.

Come say hello. We are at number 201 Ponsonby Road. Open every day from 10 until 5.

Why bother

As you might suspect, second-hand books are not exactly crazy money-spinners. In the last nine months of 2015 this store lost a total of about a thousand dollars. So, not a disaster, but not an amazing situation either.

Not obviously winning

Not obviously winning

This chart shows the number of book and newspaper retailers in Auckland over the past 15 years from Stats NZ business demography data. Not obviously a winning retail category.

Our goal in buying this is to turn it around, to restore it to financial sustainability and to go from being just a second-hand bookstore to being more of a community hub and providing a platform for other things. We will transform the big backyard into a place where folks can sit in the sun and we can hold events and shows. Maybe we will get a community garden. We will put in some more tables and chairs and start serving coffee. That kind of thing.

We have the news feed and social media for the customer side of things. This channel is for the business side. This is where we are documenting the story of the turnaround of this micro-business. Our goal is basically to double revenues. It will be interesting and perhaps instructive to see how we go.

So stick around. I plan to do an update once a month or so. We have lots of ideas but not much revenue, so we need to make relatively few changes and see what we can achieve.

All encouragement and reasoned feedback is welcomed. If you have ideas on what we should do or should not do, drop us a line. And if you have arms or legs or anything else that you want to lend to the effort, we'd love to hear from you.

Thanks. It is great to have you on the journey.