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Department of Economics


The Australian Book Industry: Authors, publishers and readers in a time of change is a three-year research project funded by the Australian Research Council and Macquarie University.

Professor David Throsby from the Department of Economics at Macquarie University heads the research team, which also includes Dr Jan Zwar, Mr Paul Crosby and Mr Callum Morgan. The project started in February 2014 and will be completed in early 2017.

The project investigates:

  1. Authors and their responses to changing circumstances
  2. Book publishers and the ways in which they contribute economic, social and cultural value; and
  3. Practices of contemporary book readers.

We are also in discussions about extending the research to other parts of the Australian book industry.

This research is conducted as part of the Macquarie University REACH Research Network, which stands for Research in the Economics of Art, Culture and Heritage.

Media Releases

New study highlights Australian book publishing industry is fighting back against digital disruption - 4 February 2016


Australian Book Publishers in the Global Industry: Survey Method and Results - February 2018

The book publishing landscape has changed considerably in recent years with a rise in the popularity of self-publishing, the entry and growth of new fee-for-service presses, and the availability of self-publishing platforms on booksellers’ online sites. The present survey of specialist trade book publishers and their responses to global changes in the industry forms part of the second stage of our major study of Australia’s changing book industry.

Disruption and Innovation in the Australian Book Industry - 4 February 2016

This report contains case studies of 25 Australian trade and education publishers:

Allen and Unwin, Accessible Publishing Systems, ANU Press, The Author People, Cengage Learning, Hachette, Hardie Grant Books, Harlequin Enterprises, Hello Table, if:book Australia, Kids Own Publishing, Magabala Books, Malarkey (publisher of The Footy Almanac), Momentum, Monash University Publishing, Overland, Oxford University Press, Pantera Press, Pearson Australia, Pitt Street Poetry,, Seizure, Simon & Schuster, Spinifex Press, and Wiley.

Book Authors and their Changing Circumstances: Survey Method and Results - 6 October 2015

The key findings from a national survey of over 1,000 Australian book authors.

Media Coverage

The Conversation - How to read the Australian book industry in a time of change - 14 October 2015

Arts Hub - Research reveals Australian publishing is keeping up

Australian Financial Review - Opening up a new chapter for bookstores

Bendigo Advertiser, Newcastle Herald, Redland City Bulletin, SMH, The Age, The Guardian - News and views from the book world

Books+Publishing - Innovations, challenges in publishing

Phys Org - New study highlights Australian book publishing

Sydney Review of Books - How to Sell a Book

Survey of Australian Authors - Industry Briefs

The industry briefs are a series prepared for Australian book authors and other members of the Australian book industry to highlight key findings of the 2015 survey.

Thank you to all of the authors who generously gave their time and expertise by participating in the survey.

  1. Key Findings
  2. Demographics of Australian Book Authors
  3. Authors' Income
  4. Changes in the Financial Position of Australian Book Authors
  5. Authors' Changing Professional Practices
  6. Authors' Allocation of Time
  7. Rights Sales, Translations and Piracy
  8. Promotion
  9. Authors and Publishers

Further details on the survey can be accessed from the Department of Economics Working Paper, Book Authors and their Changing Circumstances: Survey Method and Results.