Beyond the pages, meet Mandy of Bookety Book Books

Like many of us during the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020, Wānaka-based Mandy Myles had her head buried in book after book, and as she continued to reach for her next read, she noticed a gap in the market for a curated online bookstore.

After nearly a decade working in the fashion industry, Mandy decided to change direction completely and launched the online bookstore Bookety Book Books, which focuses on all of the special touches you get when visiting your local indie bookstore - from the comfort of your own home.

As book lovers ourselves, we were excited to speak with Mandy and hear about her favourite reads, where she looks for her next book and how the Bookety Book Books community has grown over the past three years. Our to-read list just got a whole lot bigger…



ONE | Tell us about what you’re reading right now.

I am currently reading Poor People with Money by Dominic Hoey which I picked up in a moment of ‘I’m not sure what to read next’ and have completely fallen into it due to the dark comedic, punch in the guts, completely absorbing writing. I also love books set in Aotearoa. I don’t want to give too much away as I have surprised myself by really enjoying themes I wouldn’t usually go for, so my advice would be to pick this up for something different and join in the wild ride.

TWO | TWO | Who is your favourite author, and what's your most-loved book?

I hate choosing as the list is long, but I would love to highlight Curtis Sittenfeld. Both Rodham and American Wife are epic novels and well worth your time.

THREE | So many of us come to you for recommendations, but who do you ask for book recs?

My book club. We meet monthly via zoom and it is a treasure trove for recommendations. I always run to the book rooms afterwards and grab everything that everyone has been raving about.

FOUR | Much of the success of Bookety Book Books has been down to your loyal and engaged community. Since launching during the first Covid-19 lockdown, how has this community evolved?

It has continued to grow, which has been wonderful, and with that comes a wider range of readers which has made expanding our catalog a real exploration of other people's tastes. It’s been wonderful.

FIVE | Since founding your independent bookstore, you’ve also journeyed into motherhood. Has reading played any part in how you navigated such a huge life transition?

Absolutely, in the early weeks and months as I floundered with this mind-boggling transition I read every Mumoir (Mum memoir, not sure if it’s an official term but it’s what I am calling them) while nap trapped or cluster feeding that I could get my hands on and it was amongst these pages I found my most comfort during this time. The Motherhood by Jamila Rizvi, After the Storm by Emma Janes Unsworth, and The Hungover Games by Sophie Heawood were strong favourites.

SIX | Like scent, books hold memories too. What are some of your most memorable books, and do they have a specific place in time connected to them?

I do most of my reading horizontally in bed but special memories and moods are attached to all good books I’ve read.
The Motherhood, with tears in my eyes, a baby in my arms, and raging 6 week postpartum hormones.
Double Act by Jacqueline Wilson in my childhood bedroom.
Pretending by Holly Bourne I finished the day I launched Bookety, I can still remember racing through the ending early in the morning in bed because I couldn't sleep with butterflies in my tummy.
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo, Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid, Lanny by Max Porter were all standout reads for me during the first lockdown in 2020 and take me right back to an uncomfortably nostalgic feeling of uncertainty.
The list could go on…. I always find looking over my bookshelf to be a walk down memory lane.

SEVEN | You run the business from your home in picturesque Wanaka - when visiting for a weekend, what are some must-dos in the area?

It is the perfect place to switch off so I would suggest simply grabbing a book, a glass of wine, and just sitting outside. Or my second favourite way to relax is to eat so I would recommend checking out FuDog, Scroggin, Arc, Kika, Paloma and the Maude Tasting Room.

EIGHT | Perhaps it’s lighting a candle or reading a few pages - what does your nightly wind-down routine look like?

Ha, I wish this was more glamorous but it’s usually just me dragging myself off to the bedroom, doing a bare minimum skincare routine if I can be bothered, and jumping into bed with my book. White noise on and eye mask at the ready.

NINE | You’ve established a strong business with fans countrywide - we’d love to know what's next for BBB?

We would love to establish a physical location that could be visited. How and what that looks like is still TBC….