Auckland bookseller moves business to Dunedin

Hard to Find (But Worth the Effort) Quality Secondhand Bookshop owner Warwick Jordan is excited...
Hard to Find (But Worth the Effort) Quality Secondhand Bookshop owner Warwick Jordan is excited about establishing New Zealand's largest single book store here in Dunedin, where some of his literary ''superheroes'' like James K. Baxter lived. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
Dunedin is welcoming new business from those sick of the Auckland rat race.

Hard to Find (But Worth the Effort) Quality Secondhand Bookshop owner Warwick Jordan has relocated his book store and online catalogue to Dunedin from Auckland.

He said Dunedin was the perfect place to expand his business and enjoy a better lifestyle with his family.

''I love Dunedin: the people, the architecture and the climate. I'm able to get a central-city location, the kind of space that would cost me $1 million in Auckland. It's just not viable in Auckland.''

Mr Jordan moved 250,000 books the length of the country to Dowling St, and is sorting them inside his 1000sq m leased shop.

It opened last week and was the largest single book store in New Zealand, Mr Jordan said.

''Most have about 15,000 books. We've already got 57,000 online and 250,000 to unpack and sort. There is no single shop with anywhere near as many books as we have,'' he said.

Mr Jordan started the business at Onehunga in 1984 and at one stage had nine stores in five cities nationwide.

''I had nine landlords and about 50 staff, and just became this business guy that wasn't really me. I'm a book collector. I love buying and selling books.''

He retained the Onehunga store and has kept it open with about 90,000 books.

But there was no space to expand in Auckland, so in May he moved to Dunedin with his wife Karolina and their two young children.

''Dunedin is a city with a centre and a soul. This place has character and lots of characters, and I feel like I fit in here,'' he said.

Dunedin's literary history was another drawcard.

Mr Jordan was thrilled to be able to send his children to Arthur Street School, in the footsteps of his poetic ''superheroes'' such as James K. Baxter and Janet Frame.

And he looked forward to reuniting with fellow handcraft printing enthusiasts he met in Dunedin decades ago.

Mr Jordan said he planned to re-establish Hard Echo Press, through which he published the early works of some Dunedin authors and Robert Burns fellows, including James Norcliffe, Mike Johnson, Rosie Scott, Stephanie Johnson and Iain Sharp.

The letterpress printing business had been in hiatus since 1991 and Mr Jordan had a machine from ''about 1900'' being delivered to his Dunedin store.

He had already received about 150 applications for three jobs at the shop and said the business would expand over the next six months.

rosie.manins@odt.co.nz

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