The disruption and structural transformation underway in the global book industry is well known. Major changes include the development of technology which enables digital publishing, distribution and retailing; the entry of disruptive players including Amazon, Google and Apple; the introduction of hand-held digital reading platforms and devices; upheavals in the bricks and mortar retailing sector; and the rise of online and social media as important channels for promoting books. Education publishers are also affected by disruption taking place in the education sector itself, further complicating their business models and operations.
To date there has been little systematic examination of the responses of Australian publishers to change and the ways in which traditional publishers are experimenting and innovating, both as defensive responses and initiating change themselves.
This report examines changes that are underway in nearly every stage of the publishing process, drawing on findings from interviews with senior Australian publishers. It includes 25 case studies and detailed discussion of the key findings. A broad range of publishers is represented, including major trade and education multinational companies, small and large independent trade publishers, experimental literary presses, scholarly presses and more. These case studies are illustrative, not comprehensive. The publishers recount reforms and initiatives that demonstrate a variety of innovations being trialled and implemented in the Australian industry.