Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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Book sales down 2% for year to June, ABA Booksellers’ Choice awards winners and more

Nielsen BookScan data shows that strong sales during the second quarter of 2020 have largely cushioned the local book market from the effects of Covid-19, with sales down by just 2% for the year to June compared with the same time in 2019.

The Indigenous Literacy Foundation is planning virtual events to celebrate this year’s Indigenous Literacy Day, with the organisation recording a ‘huge increase’ in support of late. Walker Books has launched the biannual ‘Walker Wednesday’ program to discover new writers. In other new initiatives, local authors will feature in the online literary event series ‘Comfort Food’, while two booksellers from Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula have established a new literary journal.

As the ABA opened its online conference last week, the winners of its Booksellers’ Choice and booksellers of the year awards were revealed. The shortlist for the National Biography Award was announced, the ASA revealed its Takeaway Creatives grants recipients, and the Copyright Agency named the winner of its 2020 Reading Australia Fellowship. Meanwhile, Byron Writers Festival and Create NSW have teamed up to offer a new $40,000 writers residency.

Overseas, the UK Booksellers Association has welcomed the expansion of wholesaler Gardners, which has purchased assets from the administrators of wholesaler Bertrams. Despite the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, US print book sales were up 2.8% to the end of June, although things aren’t so positive in Germany, where book sales have fallen 8.3% in the year to June. Meanwhile, the winners of the Orwell Prize and the PEN Pinter Prize have been announced, and Irish–Australian writers Adrian McKinty and Dervla McTiernan were winners at the 2020 Thriller Awards in the US.

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Category: This week’s news