The hunt is on for New Zealand's favourite books of the decade - and the shortlist shows some love for our award-winning novelists, as well as our classic kids' storybooks.

Booksellers NZ is running a competition - 'Bestseller of the Decade' - to find the country's favourite book in the lead up to NZ Bookshop Day on Saturday 27 October.

Staffers at bookstores over New Zealand have helped compile a list of the 20 NZ titles they love to sell the most, through a voting process.

These have formed a shortlist for New Zealand's favourite bestselling NZ title - from which Kiwis have been asked to vote for the crème de la crème.


Seven Kiwi novels, 8 children's and young adult books and 5 non-fiction titles make up the Top 20 Bestsellers list.

New Zealander Eleanor Catton topped the bookstores' shortlist with her novel The Luminaries - which also won her a Man Booker Prize back in 2013.

Meanwhile, children's favourite Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy took out second place on the list - more than 30 years after its original publication in 1983.

Paper Plus' group book manager Jenni Keestra says the shortlist is a strong representation of all types of New Zealand literature - from kids' books to award-winning novels.

Her pick for the book that would take out the people's choice, was Catton's The Luminaries.

"I think New Zealanders were so enormously proud when she won the Booker prize - certainly what we saw from our side, that boosted a whole new level of interest in reading."

On the rest of the list, Keestra said the list proved we had our own publishing that stood up to international classics like The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

New Zealand novelist Eleanor Catton. Her novel, The Luminaries, won the Man Booker Prize. Photo / file.
New Zealand novelist Eleanor Catton. Her novel, The Luminaries, won the Man Booker Prize. Photo / file.

"We've got titles that are going to stay in people's households forever, just like those ones," she said.


Keestra noted the nature of the list, which was based on booksellers' opinions rather than sale numbers, meant some popular books would likely have been left off the list.

"I was thinking about why, as a sports loving nation we don't have any books, and I guess this is a reflection of the books booksellers love to sell to people."

"The sports books tend to sell themselves."

The same could be said, Keestra said, for cookbooks.

All books on the list are written by New Zealand authors bar children's book Bad Jelly the Witch.

Bad Jelly is penned by Brit Spike Milligan, but published in New Zealand by Penguin Group.

Voting for the competition, which was celebrating a decade of Nielsen Bestsellers, was launching on Monday in various Bookseller stores as well as on the Booksellers website.

Neilsen began recording book sales in New Zealand around a decade ago - helping show booksellers where Kiwis' interest lay.

Participating stores would hold events related to those titles and prizes would be up for grabs for public votes in-store.

The competition also launched online today, giving book enthusiasts an opportunity to vote here.

Top 20 New Zealand books of the decade

1. The Luminaries, by Eleanor Catton
2. Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy, by Lynley Dodd
3. The 10pm Question, by Kate De Goldi
4. Mister Pip, by Lloyd Jones
5. The Little Yellow Digger, by Betty Gilderdale
6. Chappy, by Patricia Grace
7. Wish Child, by Catherine Chidgey
8. Edmonds Cookery Book, by Goodman Fielder
9. Herbert: The Brave Sea Dog, by Robyn Belton
10. Wonky Donkey, by Craig Smith & Katz Cowley
11. The Hut Builder, by Laurence Fearnley
12. Badjelly the Witch, by Spike Milligan
13. All Blacks Don't Cry, by John Kirwan
14. As the Earth Turns Silver, by Alison Wong
15. The Conductor, by Sarah Quigley
16. Moo and Moo and the Little Calf Too, by Deborah Hinde & Jane Millton
17. Grandma Joins the All Blacks, by Helen McKinlay
18. New Zealand Landscapes, by Andris Apse
19. Eat, by Chelsea Winter
20. Annabel Langbein: The Free Range Cook, by Annabel Langbein