Kāpiti Publisher Book Island goes international

Kāpiti Publisher Book Island is about to release first titles on the Dutch-speaking market. In two weeks’ time Greet Pauwelijn, creator of Book Island and publisher of the popular children’s books Sammy and the Skyscraper Sandwich, Bernie and Flora and Sir Mouse to the Rescue, is off to Belgium and the Netherlands to release three new children’s books, this time in Dutch translation.

After the successful November 2012 release of her first three English titles in the Southern Hemisphere, Pauwelijn is anticipating a similar response in her home country and the Netherlands.

D.E.S.I.G.N., the first Dutch title to be published, is a translation of the popular Polish children’s book on design, which was previously released in English by the Wellington-based publisher Gecko Press. ‘I’m particularly excited about publishing the Dutch version of D.E.S.I.G.N. because the Design Museum in Ghent, one of the most important centres for design in Northern Europe, will be setting up an exhibition based on the book. This is exactly what I want to be doing as a publisher: releasing great books that inspire both kids and adults, and organising activities based on them,’ says Pauwelijn. ‘This way we can turn reading into a multidimensional experience.’

After the exhibition opens in Belgium, Pauwelijn is heading to Italy for the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. There she will buy the rights to more titles that Book Island shall translate and publish here and in Australia later this year. The books selected are based on customer feedback received at the many fairs and festivals in which Book Island has taken part this summer. ‘We loved meeting our customers and talking about our titles,’ she explains. ‘We also had foreign books on display and noted which of these attracted the attention of our readers, young and old. Now we know which books to release in November.’ In Bologna Pauwelijn will also be talking with UK distributors. ‘Because our bestselling title, Sammy and the Skyscraper Sandwich, was written by Irish writer Lorraine Francis, I feel we shouldn’t wait to go and explore that market. New Zealand and Australia have already embraced our books; I’m confident England and Ireland will soon follow.’

Back in New Zealand Pauwelijn will be getting ready for the Storylines Festival in Wellington and Auckland, to be held in August, and the November release of (at least) two new Book Island titles in English.