Yes, yes it’s that guy from Affirm Press again banging his drum again about small and Aussie publishers. But don’t listen to me – look at the numbers. They, like Shakira’s hips, don’t lie. Yes, yes I am also the guy with music taste stuck in 2005.
Seriously though take Bookscan growth for the first two months of this year versus the same period last year. The whole market is up 4.36% – go print books! So who is above the line? And I am talking the local publishing divisions – not with all the agencies tacked on to make them look good. Us of course with 65.2% growth (stop talking about yourself), Xoum with 59.7% growth, Black Inc 55.4%, Text up 23.7%, Scribe 15.8%, Hardie Grant 15.5% and MUP up 6.4%. So Hardie Grant and Text are no longer small, but they are Aussie and they are well up. Also a nod here to Simon & Schuster who are neither small nor Australian but are excellent (and representing us from April) and up 4.8%. Before anyone dismisses these numbers with the ‘easy to grow when you’re tiny brush’ I have capped the list at publishers doing more than $100,000 in sales across the two months.
So below the line?
Pan Mac with only 2.7% growth (I do of course recognise they’ve been the most amazing publisher the last two years), Allen & Unwin just 0.8% up, Random House down 3%, Harper Collins -9%, Penguin down a substantial 14.4% and Hachette’s ANZ division a huge 40% down.
Don’t forgot Bookscan is sell through. These numbers are irrefutable proof that sales from small and independent Australian publishers are outpacing those from the big multi-nationals. Great, but why? Well my theory remains the same. Local publishers are focusing on local authors and local content and selling them through local retailers. Good retailers are realising that in an increasingly global world there is simply less competition for works published and written in Australia. The content is perfectly strong so why not embrace it? And as publishers we’re focused. When you’re little you have to be. No distraction from terms battles with Amazon, no trying to sell ebooks off Twitter, no shaking old ladies for long lost manuscripts.
So look out for our fabulous debut fiction from Sarah Kanake – Sing Fox to Me – out this month in good local booksellers. In April do yourself a favour and read How I Met My Son. Join up and get the Readings Monthly or the Gleaner. Follow Black Inc on Twitter.
And booksellers keep doing what you do.
Next month I promise to change it up and talk about Baboon backsides.
– Keiran Rogers
Sales & Marketing Director