Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wednesday's walk in: Whitcoulls

The news of Borders demise over the last few weeks has hit little old New Zealand hard. The country’s number one bookshop, Whitcoulls, is part of the Borders family and as such is suffering the same fate.

There isn’t anything special about Whitcoulls... apart from the fact that it’s always been there. Much like a trusted old friend, Whitcoulls can be counted on to stock all the bestsellers, the classics, the must-reads, and the old favourites. It has travel books, children’s books, short stories and poetry. Its magazine stands are always overflowing, its range of birthday, thank you and wedding anniversary cards will always ensure you find the right message, its the place you go to buy next year’s diary, wrapping paper for the birthday party you’re running late too, and a DVD to add to your favourites collection.

But the best part about Whitcoulls is that it has its own reading challenge. Every few years it comes out with the Whitcoulls top 100 – the top 100 books to be read by everyone, as voted by Whitcoulls customers themselves. From The Time Traveller’s Wife to The Life of Pi, Harry Potter to Jamie Oliver’s cookbooks, the top 100 includes must-reads by Jodi Picoult and Marian Keyes, Dan Brown and Bryce Courtenay as well as those old faithfuls Clan of the Cave Bear, Gone with the Wind, and The PoisonWood Bible.

If you’re looking for inspiration check out Whitcoulls Top 100. There’s also a top 50 for kids as well.

The chain’s catch phrase is “A little bit wonderful every day”. As cheesy as it may sound, I hope somebody comes to the rescue of New Zealand’s Whitcoulls stores, because books do make life that little bit wonderful.

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