By Erin L. Cox
Tim Coronel, the publisher of Bookseller + Publisher, hosted a panel yesterday on the Australian and New Zealand market, its successes and challenges, and some of the brilliant endeavors they have undertaken to tap into their highly literary population. This year at the fair, more than 60 Australian publishers and over 20 New Zealand publishers are in Frankfurt, representing markets of A$1.29 million and NZ $41.5 million, according to Nielsen BookScan.
“One out of every two people belongs to a public library, yet there is a low level of government sponsorship,” said Patricia Genat, the owner of Adelaide Library Services. Both countries have a highly literate consumer base andd an industry that supports local writers. But there are challenges: not enough interest from other English-speaking markets, a lack of government support, considerably fewer e-books available in either country, and the discrepancy between actual publisher sales and those reported due to Nielsen Bookscan’s slow rollout there.
Rod Martin, founder and owner of Era Publications, has been publishing educational books for 39 years. He shared his innovative approach to the digital market. Instead of going the easy route and starting with e-books, he jumped right into the digital deep-end by creating interactive books “We tried the ‘ready, fire, aim’ approach,” said Martin. There were some bumps in the road concerning rights and royalties, and Martin shared the steps they took to solve them.
Genat was pleased to announce that Australia would be hosting a “National Year of Reading” in 2012. Though the government has put very little money behind it, libraries, booksellers, retailers, and other literary-minded companies and organizations will be banding together to support literacy in Australia.
Though Australia and New Zealand are neighbors, their markets are a bit different. The lone New Zealander on the panel was Peter Dowling, the director or Oratia Media, a company that creates publishing solutions as well as titles of its own. This year is Dowling’s first time at the Frankfurt Book Fair; he came primarily to expand into other markets.
In 2010, the robust sales of 2009 have not yet emerged, but that is partly why there are so many publishers in attendance at the fair from both countries; diversifying business, supporting local authors, and sharing information about a robust market ready for the world.
(This story originally appeared in the Publishing Perspectives show daily at the Frankfurt Book Fair on 8 October 2010. Download the complete show daily here or click on the image to view the online version.)