This week, the Australia Reads campaign received a $100,000 funding boost from the federal government, and delayed this year’s Australian Reading Hour event from 17 September to 12 November due to Covid-19. The campaign also launched its ‘School Kids’ initiative, a list of recommended books for which publishers will create teaching notes and offer increased bookseller discounts.
At the launch of the virtual Bologna Children’s Book Fair, Melbourne-based publisher Windy Hollow Books was named as a winner of the Bologna Prize for the Best Children’s Publisher of the Year. Meanwhile, Hachette Australia has experienced one of its ‘best ever’ first quarters, despite parent company Lagardère reporting a sales decline.
The Sydney Writers’ Festival has launched a new podcast—a series of 50 ‘re-imagined sessions’ from its 2020 program—as has the Small Press Network, which also announced plans for a real-world November conference.
Elsewhere, publishers have confirmed more new publication dates for books delayed due to Covid-19, Booktopia has partnered with Kobo for ebook and audiobook sales, Simon & Schuster has appointed Emma Nolan as commercial nonfiction publisher, and Alexandra Maramenides has rejoined Five Mile as CEO.
In awards news this week, the Sydney Morning Herald named its Best Young Australian Novelists for this year, local poet Damon O’Brien won the €10,000 Moth Poetry Prize, and a handful of ANZ picture books were longlisted for the World Illustration Awards. Overseas, Colson Whitehead won his second Pulitzer Prize, and the winners of the Edgar Allan Poe Awards were announced.
In New Zealand, publishers are struggling after the level 4 lockdown ‘obliterated’ April sales. Also making international news, educational publishers McGraw Hill and Cengage have abandoned their merger; UK book wholesaler Gardners has re-opened—albeit with ‘much’ reduced staff—as the future of fellow wholesaler Bertram is ‘at risk’; and Amazon posted a 26% rise in first quarter sales.