Good news! The number of books published in Australia has increased significantly year-on-year, a statistic that reflects a healthy industry thriving in spire of sometimes challenging market conditions and competition from alternative forms of entertainment.
According to Think Australia*, the annual overview of the Australian book market, 28,234 new titles were produced in 2013 (according to ISBN records added to Bowker’s Books in Print database) compared to only 21,086 in 2012. This is an increase of around 25%. Bowker’s ‘books’ in print list covers books, ebooks, audio books and multimedia titles – any form of book for which the publisher obtains an ISBN.
Interestingly, the number of publishing entities decreased over the same period, from 4344 in 3899. The increase in titles coupled with a decrease in publishers may indicate renewed confidence in the market by traditional publishers and a willingness to take more risks.
A breakdown of publishers reveals that 33 companies published over 100 titles during 2013, up from 29 in 2012. Among the mid-sized publishers, 101 companies produced between 20 and 99 titles each (up from 86 in 2012) and another 96 published between 11 and 20 titles (up from 84 in 2012). At the other end of the scale, 2324 publishers released only one title. It is likely that many of these were indie publishers/ authors publishing their own works.
Print is still the dominant format for books across the industry – although further research is required to confirm whether this holds true for the romance genre – but digital continues to grow. Fifty one percent of all titles published in Australia in 2013 were printed in paperback and nine percent in hardback. The 2012 figures were fractionally different – 52% were paperback and eight percent were hardback. Twenty-nine percent of all titles were available in digital formats, up from 23% the previous year.
* Published yearly by Bookseller+Publishing in partnership with Publishing Perspectives ahead of the Frankfurt Book Fair which many Australian publishers attend to sell foreign language rights of their titles. Figures first reported in the Weekly Book Newsletter of 6 October 2014. Graphs provided courtesy of Bookseller+Publisher. For more information, visit them at www.booksellerandpublisher.com.au.