Distribute Your Books Down Under

January 2001
by Clint Greenleaf

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While I was in Sydney for the 2000 Olympics, I did some research on the book industry in Australia. This article covers some of the information I gathered which hopefully will be helpful to US publishers.
While Australia has about the same land size as the US, they only have 19.1 million citizens. This population is generally excited to learn and enjoys reading books from the States. Add the 3.8 million New Zealanders and you could increase your potential market share by almost 23 million people—about 10% of the US market!
Australian bookstores sell books that are similar to those here in US stores, but there are some clear differences. Many books that are popular in the US are also famous down under, but the covers are different. Cover design is a bit more plain in Australia, and there are many more softcover books than hardcover books. There are also very few small and independent publishers. Most of the books from the States come from large US publishers, and many of those are from Penguin or their other imprints.
There are two major bookstores in Australia: Dymocks is somewhat larger than Angus & Robertson, but both are substantial and have several stores throughout the country. One of the bigger independents is Ariel Booksellers, which has created a nice niche in Sydney. Borders is slowly trying to enter the market, but its influence cannot compare to the Australian-owned stores. A quick note: Australians are fiercely loyal and patriotic. So given the op…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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