The good news is that, for now, the Australian trade publishing market has been experiencing Christmas-like sales growth as consumers purchase books for entertainment in isolation. Nielsen BookScan reports that Australia’s trade publishing market revenue for the week ending 28 March was up 15% on the same week last year, with the number of copies sold up 36% compared to the same time in 2019.
Funding bodies also responded to the pandemic this week. Announcing its four-year funding grants for 2021–24, the Australia Council said it would extend funding to 49 currently-funded organisations that were unsuccessful in the 2021–24 round for 12 months at a reduced level. The Copyright Agency, meanwhile, said it would use $375,000 from its Future Fund to support new initiatives in response to the Covid-19 crisis and will bring forward its Cultural Fund grants, forecast to be worth $1.8 million, to the first half of the 2020–21 financial year.
In awards news, Australian author Shokoofeh Azar has been shortlisted for the 2020 International Booker Prize, Jay Kristoff has been longlisted for the UK’s Glass Bell Award and the Australian Book Designers Association has announced the shortlists for the Australian Book Design Awards.
Also this week, two well-known Australian industry figures—Martin Shaw and Annabel Barker—announced new literary agencies, while the NT Writers Festival was postponed and the Emerging Writers Festival announced this year’s festival will take place entirely online.
‘Covid-19 is an opportunity to ask ourselves as a nation why we take our artists and cultural organisations for granted. Why, even in an emergency, can’t we find the money to fund a couple of hundred of the most important arts organisations in the country properly?’—In an opinion piece for the Guardian, Ben Eltham looks at how the federal government’s systemic underfunding of the arts sector has worsened the effect of the Covid-19 crisis on the industry.
Griffith Review is pleased to announce that its distribution will move to NewSouth Books, beginning with Griffith Review 69: The European Exchange (August). We look forward to a successful partnership and new directions with the NewSouth team. Griffith Review would also like to thank everyone at Text Publishing for all their support over the past decade.
From 1 August 2020, orders for any edition of Griffith Review should be placed with NewSouth Books. Orders for Griffith Review 69: The European Exchange (published 28 July 2020) should be directed to NewSouth. Return authorisations for books invoiced by Text Publishing/UBD will cease to be issued by UBD after 30 September and credit notes will be issued until 30 October.
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