Auckland

Auckland

19 High Street
Auckland 1010
Ph. 09 307 0731
shop@unitybooksauckland.co.nz


Opening hours:

Mon-Fri 8.30am – 7pm
Sat 9am – 6pm
Sun 10am – 6pm

*Public Holidays may differ – please call

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Unity’s sister shop could not have found a more perfect location in Auckland. On the 20th of February 1989 it fitted into High Street like a comma in Ulysses. The little street was full of surprising retail options with a pick and mix of shops selling everything in style and fashion to bowl lattēs and local wines. Auckland was lit and Unity offered the best guides to being in the world of books.

The shop's co-managers Nigel Cox and Jo McColl,were fresh from Wellington and ready for business. Nigel agitated for change in outdated importing laws and they went about stocking the shelves with the most covetable selection of hardbacks and paperbacks available. For a short time a ‘reading room’ with percolated coffee was created in the Bunker; an underground space below the shop accessed by steep and treacherous stairs. It wasn’t long before the shop established itself as a hub, a place to exchange ideas and debate the merits of different writers. Conversations carried over from the bar across the road, Nigel waved the flag of New Zealand literature and Jo McColl made sure cowboy novels got premium counter space.

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When Nigel Cox left the shop in 1993 to pursue a writing career, Carolyn Alexander was hired. If it had been anyone else this story might have ended here. Only Caro had the skills and knowledge to run a bookshop in the pre internet era with the same dedication and passion and drive that her predecessor had.

For years the minds of Jo and Caro were the harddrive to the shop’s inventory and the staff were trained to know just where a title might be found on its many shelves and tables. Books stacked on the floor waiting to be put away defied disorderliness. In 2018 the shop switched to an electronic method for cataloging stock. The following year the lease in the space next door became available and Unity expanded to create a dedicated children’s bookstore under the management of Children’s Buyer, Ange Travers. In 2020 Unity Books Auckland was crowned “Best Bookstore in the World’ at The London Book Fair, recognising this sanctuary of ideas nestled in the CBD.

Auckland was lit and Unity offered the best guides to being in the world of books.

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Following Auckland’s snap lockdown in 2021 Unity was only able to partially reopen and books were sold at arm's length. At a time when using a courier meant a delivery delay of weeks, staff used their own means of transport, pedalling books to hotels and driving across the city.

Jo McColl took ownership of the business in 2001. From shop girl to boss girl over the years she has hired dozens and fired none..Unity has overseen romances and lifelong friendships have flourished. In a city of constant change it is still a meeting place, a refuge, an oasis on a busy street where a chance encounter with a page can still change your life.

Auckland Unity Staff Picks

Auckland Unity Staff Picks

Discover a world of captivating reads handpicked by our knowledgeable staff.

Americanah
Americanah
Five Decembers
Five Decembers
If We Burn : The Mass Protest Decade and the Missing Revolution
If We Burn : The Mass Protest Decade and the Missing Revolution
Earthsea Quartet
Earthsea Quartet
On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous
All Fours
All Fours
Small Things Like These
Small Things Like These
Normal People
Normal People
Swimming in the Dark
Swimming in the Dark
Road
Road
Lonesome Dove
Lonesome Dove
Rebecca
Rebecca
Fine Balance
Fine Balance
Family Lexicon
Family Lexicon
And Then There Were None
And Then There Were None
Long Island
Long Island

Visit us

19 High Street

Auckland 1010

Mon - Fri8.30am - 7pm
Sat9am - 6pm
Sun10am - 6pm

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