The study uncovered the strategies being used by Australian publishers by analysing findings from interviews with 25 senior Australian publishers of various sizes, across trade, education, scholarly and literary sectors.
The study reveals that the book industry is now starting to fight back against digital disruption, employing innovative responses to the threat.
Dr Jan Zwar, researcher at Macquarie University’s Faculty of Business and Economics, said that as a mid-size industry, “Australian publishers have been forced to work harder in order to compete globally and deal with major changes that have been occurring across the industry.”
“While other publishers employed opportunistic strategies that leveraged digital technology, such as open access publishing and the use of metadata, apps and social media for promotion.”
“For instance, Momentum was set up in Australia by Pan Macmillian to experiment with epublishing, ebook pricing and digital sales channels,” Dr Zswar said, adding that Kylie Scott, who is now a New York Times best-selling author, was “discovered through Momentum’s open submission process.”
“Other strategies aimed to open up new, different markets and to create new business models, for instance new types of royalty agreements between publishers and authors and moves to subscription models.”
The report also looks at the structural changes within the industry and the impact this is having on book sales.
According to the study, for instance, Big W is now believed to be the single biggest book retailer in Australia, and the online retailer Booktopia, purchased Bookworld in 2015 and is now the dominant Australian-based online retailer, with an estimated market share of 6 to 7%.
On education book publishing, Dr Zwarf said, “Education publishing is arguably undergoing more radical transformation than trade publishing because it is also affected by disruption in the education sector.
“In additional to technology, education publishing is affected by government policies to improve education and employment outcomes as well as financial constraints.”
The research was the second part of a larger project that looked at Australia’s book industry, which included a report on Australian authors that was released in October 2015.
The view more information on both reports click here.