57 Willis St, Wellington
When Alan Preston kicked off Unity Books in 1967, the shop was tiny and cerebral and only whimsically-commercial, a wedge within the OUP showrooms.
Expanding 5 years later into the 2nd of 4 eventual locations on Willis Street, Alan started the pattern of hiring hugely talented & charismatic bookselling staff (including many writers and musicians). Unity Books, always talkative anyway, also began to party. And to augment the exciting bursts of local publishing (and the non-stodgy titles from antipodean distributors) Unity Books began to direct import stock - books that nobody else had. So the shop stood out as something vigorous and radical, even though, as Nigel Cox said in his eulogy for Alan in 2004, Alan still wore his "trouser-coloured-trousers".
And so, due to the reliability of two kinds of daily traffic - the extraordinary mix of people, and the fabulously 'forward' selection of books - Unity Books became two exciting & reliable oases from the annoying sands of the mediocre. This was our foundation. And 42 years later this is always our intention. We lean on our good past but we look outwards towards the things that matter - the books, the people and the street.
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