For anyone who loves books and reading who is lucky enough to live in or plans to visit New Zealand, I have two recommendations for you.
If you stay in Wellington try the Booklovers Bed and Breakfast, a delightful welcoming place, run by Jane Toleston. It is centrally located in a lovely house with the original plans dated 1894. The house is within walking distance of Te Papa National Museum and the downtown district. It is also located right at a bus stop so you don’t have to walk far if you don’t want to. There are some excellent restaurants nearby. The owner, Jane, is the author of five books and has won a New Zealand book award. Most of her work is historical, based on oral histories. The walls of the B&B are lined with every type of book imaginable. She’s an interesting person to talk to and I enjoyed talking to her other guests as much as to the hostess. She offers free Internet access, yummy breakfasts and many more amenities.
In you stay in Dunedin you can visit a frequent guest at Booklovers B&B , Mike Hamblyn who, with his wife Cheryl, runs Read On! located in Gardens Mall. The second hand bookshop has to be the tidiest bookstore I have ever been in. Mike offered my wife and me tea. We had a far-ranging conversation involving everyone in the store about writing, publishing, selling books and the state of independent bookstores.
Mike and Cheryl accept only nearly perfect books for resale. He uses eucalyptus oil to clean and sanitize the book covers. He changes his window display weekly to attract customer and the mall brings foot traffic past his store. Even so he said he does not think there is a future for independent bookstores because of online competition and changes in the publishing world. He said he makes very little money on the store but absolutely loves what he does. With the cost of new books in New Zealand being so high there is a need for redistribution of used books and many customers become friends.
If you visit either place please give them my regards. I remember both places fondly.