As we all know advancements in digital technology have changed the publishing industry forever. We constantly hear that print books are dead but does the current state of the Australian Book Market indicate otherwise?
According to Think Australian 2016, published by Books+Published: ‘Books sales edged up in Australia for the second year in a row’.
Sales tracking service Nielsen Bookscan reported that the total turnover of the Australian print book market in 2015 was A$979m or 56.4 million books. These figures do not include ebooks or audiobooks as these sales are not tracked reliably in Australia.
‘Ebook sales are estimated to comprise around 20% of the market with the prevailing view that this has plateaued for the time being. Notably, Pan Macmillan Australia’s digital-only imprint, Momentum, was scaled down and folded back into the publisher earlier this year. Australian audiobook publisher Bolinda has reported a fourfold increase in revenue over the past several years.’ Think Australia 2016
The media has been speculating that the print book market is recovering and several prominent bookstores in Sydney and Melbourne have either opened or plan to open new stores.
What has changed is how books are getting to the market. Of the 3996 publishers in 2015, 2355 publishers released only one book title in the year. Suggesting many are self-publishers.
According to data from 2015 Nielsen Bookscan the breakdown of books bought by Australian readers was:
- 46% nonfiction,
- 24% fiction,
- 30% children’s books.
As of August 2016 the Australian population stands at 24.2 million, which equates to 2.3 print books purchased per person in Australia during 2015. A figure that isn’t setting any records but is certainly one that indicates that print is far from dead.
The Australian book market
Australia’s book culture is buzzing. Writer’s festivals are being held annually at every major Australian city and many regional centres are now holding festivals that attract audiences of 1000s of keen readers. The Sydney Writers Festival held annually in May includes the Visiting International Publishers program, which bring publishing and rights professionals from around the world. The publishing industry also gathers in Melbourne in November for the annual Independent Publishing Conference.
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