Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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ALIA to run digital storytime pilot in 2021

Australian publishers can opt to have new or backlist titles included in an Online Storytime pilot being run by the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) in 2021.

The one-year pilot scheme will trial a system in which publishers permit the use of their Australian picture books in return for a small annual payment from public library branches. It follows the popularity of online storytime sessions in 2020, for which special arrangements were made by the Books Create Australia joint industry group, allowing libraries to deliver online storytime sessions without the need for specific permission or payment.

As part of the 2021 pilot, participating library branches will be able to make videos of picture book readings for use on social media, with the videos able to stay up on sites for six months.

The Australian Publishers Association (APA), which welcomed the pilot, said the scheme would distribute an estimated ‘$40,000 to $60,000 (in total) to Australian publishers in 2021 based on an estimated 300 to 400 public library branches by taking up an annual $165 (inc GST) subscription’. ‘ALIA will take a $25 management fee, and the remaining $125 will be aggregated and later paid out to the publishers–and through the publishers to the authors and illustrators.’

‘Publishers can only expect a growth in these kinds of options as libraries expand their digital connections to the community,’ said APA president Lee Walker. ‘While this scheme will not work for all publishers, the APA welcomes this pilot in the hope of finding a new way to bring benefits to all involved: writers, illustrators, publishers, libraries, and the community.’ The APA said it would review the pilot during 2021 to see ‘how well it serves the needs of publishers, libraries, and the community ahead of more permanent arrangements for 2022’

To sign up specific titles for the scheme, visit the ALIA website.



Category: Local news