The impending arrival of Amazon in Australia and the lessons that we can learn from the US and UK were hot topics at this year's Australian Bookseller's Association (ABA) conference. Both Shelf-Awareness editor-in-chief John Mutter and Waterstones' MD James Daunt delivered cautiously optimistic reports from their markets, with Mutter reporting that new bookstores were starting to open in the US (with some help from crowdfunding, tapping into their local communities) and Daunt speaking about how Waterstones' efforts to 'smarten up' - both in terms of improved retail spaces and better supported staff - has led to a turnaround for the UK chain. The overall message was that if booksellers keep doing what they're doing well, if they connect with their local communities and provide an experience that cannot be replicated by Amazon, they will endure. (Editorial)
UQP nonfiction publisher Alexandra Payne explores burnout in the book industry.
'I found the recent Macquarie University report Reading the Reader : A Survey of Australian Reading Habits fascinating. Drawing data from a nationally representative sample of the population, the survey found that reading books is one of Australia's favourite ways to spend time (if that's the case, please buy more books, Australia). It was intriguing to see the reasons people gave for why they read, which was first and foremost to relax and release stress. Reading books was the most enjoyable leisure activity for the survey participants, and frequent readers spend 80% reading for pleasure (with the rest spent reading for work or study).' (Introduction)
'Macquarie University has publisher a report examining Australian book readers, the third and final stage of its three-year research project on Australia's changing book industry.' (Introduction)
'Andrea Hanke seek out the highlights of from publishers' Christmas lists.' (Introduction)
'Jackie Tang talks to Sally Rippin about setting up the new Sally Rippin Presents junior fiction list at Bonnier and what direction she wants to take it.' (Summary)
From audio books to podcasts, Brad Jefferies investigates the rising popularity of audio formats.
'The widespread take-up of smartphones has enabled the growth of the audio book market at the same time that phones and new technologies are cited as competing for readers' leisure time. Wave sound acquisitions editor Chiara Priorelli says there's rising interest in the audio book market, which was previously small and primarily focused on products for older generations or those with visual impairments. According to Priorelli, smartphones are the most important contributing factor to audio's rise, but she also put it down to our increasingly busy lives.' (Introduction)
'For many years, stories based on historical events have inspired young readers to explore the past. Now, it's science's turn.' (Introduction).
'Andrea Hanke, Brad Jefferies and Sarah Farquharson round up this year's Christmas Releases.' (Introduction)
'I've slways been a keen reader. Ever since I was quite young. I was interested in writing and putting books together (mostly created from 30-page exercise books with pasted-on covers). When I was 16 years old my mother had her first book of commercial women's fiction published, and I was given the chance to see how the sausage was made.' (Introduction)
The illustrated books market is thriving thanks to a growth in aspirational lifestyle titles and a reappreciation of books as beautiful objects, reports Andrea Hanke.
In mid-2015, Penguin Random House (PRH) made the surprise announcement that its Lantern illustrated books imprint would be reducing its output. Then PRH CEO Gabrielle Coyne said the 'prevailing market conditions mean their is no longer the retail footprint there once was to support the number of illustrated books in our future 2016-2017 program.' (Introduction)
'Claire Christian's 2016 Text Prize winner Beautiful Mess (Text,September) is about two misfits who help each other through the raw pain of adolescence. Reviewer Angela Crocombe spoke to the author' (Introduction)
'Alice Springs' Red Centre Books is likely the only bricks-and-mortar bookshop between Port Augusta, Darwin, Broome and Broken Hill, and serves a community of academic, health professionals and artists. Manger Bronwyn Druce shares her bookseller's diary.' (introduction)
'Bram Presser's The Book of Dirt (Text, September) is 'a remarkable tale of Holocaust survival, love, and genealogical sleuthing by a grandson intent on finding the truth about his grandparent's past', writes reviewer Scott Whitmont. He spoke to the author.' (Introduction)