Bookshops are an integral part of our society: they connect authors and publishers with readers and facilitate the cross-fertilisation of ideas – the production, sale and distribution of books across Australia is an important part of the Australian creative economy. According to recent figures, the total value of books sold in Australia during 2010 was $2.3 billion. However 54% of these were bought online.
No wonder the book industry and bookshops in particular are in a state of flux. Local bookstores have to compete not only with their rivals down the street, but also the likes of Amazon and Book Depository, which offer massive discounts and frequently a much larger choice.
Digitisation has also challenged the book industry, producing downloadable eBooks that shift our view of what constitutes a physical, traditional book. Australians purchased some $35 million eBooks in 2010 and the market in Australia is projected to reach between $150 million and $700 million in 2014, representing between 6% and 24% of total estimated book sales.
Recognising this, the Australian Government has established the Book Industry Strategy Group (BISG) to develop a comprehensive strategy for securing Australia’s place in the emerging digital book market, while making the Australian book industry more efficient and globally competitive. We await to see how effective these strategies are. In the meantime, you can support your local bookshops by celebrating National Bookshop Day next Saturday.
Have a look out for events in your state. In Victoria, a number of activities are planned, and I include a few of them here:
Hill of Content – 86 Bourke St, Melbourne. Bob Graham: 12pm, drawing class with Debra and Marco Luccio at 2.30pm.
Reader’s Feast – 162 Collins Street, Melbourne. Raffles throughout the day for $50 book vouchers.
Readings – various locations. Visits from Wally (of Where’s Wally fame) and Spot the Dog.
The Sun Bookshop – 10 Ballarat Street, Yarraville. 10am, William McInnes announces the winner of “Australia’s favourite bookshop” poll.
Or you could simply pop into your local bookshop and buy a book…..