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Posted November 26, 2013 in
Australians are buying as many books as they ever were, and up to half of them are Australian books.
This is a good time to start a small publishing company.
E-book sales are plateauing.
Small publishers love their work; believe in what they do and are willing to help others engaged in the business of making books.
This is some of what threekookaburras heard at the recent Small Press Underground Networking Community Conference (SPUNC) at the Wheeler Centre.
SPUNC keynote speaker Michael Webster, senior lecturer in publishing at RMIT and principal consultant at Nielsen BookScan gave the results of a 10 year study into the Australian book industry based on BookScan data.
The news was encouraging. Total book sales in Australia are growing, if you include online sales. In the US and the UK, independent booksellers are struggling or going broke, but in Australia, the sector has grown from 29 per cent to 31 per cent of the market.
Amazon does not have a warehouse in this country (as it does in Britain and the US), which may account for the anomaly.
In non-fiction, 50 per cent of the value comes from Australian titles; in fiction it is 31 per cent and in children’s and young adult it is 45 per cent.
Mr Webster’s figures also showed that the overall growth in e-book sales is slowing down.
At a session on business models, Martin Hughes, the publishing director at the Melbourne-based Affirm Press, said he believed the growth of the internet and new technologies made this a great time to become a publisher. “Just one idea can start a publishing company,” he said. He speaks from experience, having started Affirm in 2007 with a single title.
All of that was good to hear.
Some background: We have spent most of our working lives in the newspaper industry, working for metropolitan dailies. We became journalists because we loved to read and write. We have decided to take our passion and our skills and turn them into an independent publishing business.
We want threekookaburras to support writers. Writing is difficult and often under-valued. Writers need encouragement and new outlets for their work. Our aim is to treat writers fairly and with respect. Life can be particularly tough for new and emerging writers. At threekookaburras we hope to make a small difference.