Are you a fan of Anne Summers Reports? Lately it has hosted some wonderful articles and opinions on the future of the Australian Book Industry. We thought we’d share some with you. Click the links below to read the full pieces.
Fifty Shades of Bookselling
by Foong Ling Kong
Foong Ling has nearly two decades’ experience as an editor and a publisher of books across a wide range of genres. She is also Managing Editor of Anne Summers Reports.
Australians bought 22 million books in 2013: that’s one per head of population, but it still wasn’t enough to stem the slow leak in print-book sales since 2009, when the book trade turned over $1.29 billion. Last year, it did $917 million, a number that doesn’t factor in ebook sales, which are about 20 per cent of the market, and so did not make up the gap. Who knew that 2009 would be the last great bookselling year that saw growth? The book trade has received a remarkable hammering in the last five years, despite efforts at every level to address the multiple challenges. These have included a rising exchange rate, the advent of ereaders, the closure of quality bookshops and the rise of discount retailers.
The Role of Authors in the New Book Economy
by Angelo Loukakis
Angelo is the Executive Director of the Australian Society of Authors and has worked as a writer, teacher, editor and publisher.
The numbers provided highlight a decline in trade book sales, but while Nielsen Bookscan figures capture the vast bulk of general book sales they do not include the dollar value of books bought by Australian online purchasers. There is no entirely accurate figure available although PriceWaterhouseCoopers estimated that, for 2010, approximately $150 million worth of books were purchased from Amazon and the Book Depository by Australian consumers. Anecdotally we’ve heard estimates the figure may be even higher than $250 million today. The volume of books being bought directly from overseas suppliers is obviously of no comfort to local booksellers.
The Ingredients for a Healthy Bookish Future
by John Purcell
John is Booktopia’s Head of Marketing and Chief Buyer and sold 50,000 copies of his trilogy, The Secret Lives of Emma, under the pseudonym Natasha Walker.
Books are not groceries. One of the hardest things for business-minded people who find themselves working in the book industry to accept is that there isn’t a single product or just a few product lines to market and to sell. There are millions of products and thousands of product lines, otherwise known as books. The selling of books should be left to booksellers who are, more often than not, readers themselves.
The internet has changed reader behaviour forever. Diversity is the thing. The internet fosters the specialist, it encourages the clique, it supports grassroots enthusiasms by allowing people of a like mind or interests separated by culture, geography or age to meet and exchange ideas and recommend books. And readers will source their very particular titles, wherever they are sold. The store that can deliver them quickly and cheaply will win their custom.
About the Contributor
Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.
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