The Distance Between: Romance readers, authors, publishers and the book industry in Australia

Bronwyn Parry / Bronwyn Clarke – The Distance Between:  Romance readers, authors, publishers and the book industry in Australia

Context – Rapid change
– readers’ social connections
– readers’ book-buying patterns
– shifts in book retailing
– digital books, paper books and distributors
– territorial rights
– authors publications choices

Reading is individual, but has always been a social activity also (public reading, share books, talk about what we read etc)
– reading in the digital age is increasingly social
– individual reading networks encompassing thousands of other readers
– romance genre communities active online since early internet days, pre-web
(was early to find like minded readers, driven to usenet in very early days)

Readers are gobally connected – blogs, twitter, goodreads, facebook
– geograhy is now immaterial
– discoverabilty and access imperative to sales
– techno-savvy readers can circumvent DRM and geo-restrictions
(many techno-savvy readers, and increasing)

ARRA Info sources
– author websites (52.1%)
– social networking (47.5%
– romance blogs (33.8%)

Breakdown of book sales.
– Estmate of paper book sales, 51.5% is from australian sales, 48.5% from overseas (book depositary, amazon etc).
– Much of this is not being scanned at point of sale, so publishers are not getting accurate figures on how much romance readers are buying
– overseas romance book sales are not counted for local romance sales

Traditional print release
– 2 weeks to make an impace
– one month availability discount stores
– three month availability traditional stores
– very little back catalogue available
– specialist book shops are almost exclusively stocked by overseas publishers

Digial released
– Initial release boost
– back catalogue available
– sales figures stay a lot longer on the websites (visiblity to other readers)

Territorial Restrictions
– provide some prtection for the Australian publishing industry, enabling stable base for acquisition of higher-risk Austrlain voices
– traditional publishers still focus on own territories
– high costs of books reflects production for australian market (australian wages, rents, production costs etc)

Probable future
– elimination of territorial protection within 5 years (already eroded in practice)
– loss to Australian publishers of currently critical income

New Australian publishing
– australian voices as a global brand
– competitive presenice in all key markets
– responsive and flexible practices
– enables by digital technologies (shiped to US – amazon, POD etc)
– costs of production split over larger sales
– onlines sales and marketing – speciales sales presence in major markets
– optimisation of longer-tail sales
– bricks and mortar book shops will be come more specialised and part of the social world if they are to survive

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