May 20, 2022

Survey Findings/Case Studies on Disruption and Innovation in the Australian Book Industry (Trade and Education Publishers)

The following report is part of a three-year research project funded by the Australian Research Council and Macquarie University.

From a Macquarie University Media Release and Summary

2016-02-07_16-29-50An Australian first study by Macquarie University of the country’s book publishing industry reveals considerable innovation in response to the digital disruption that has resulted in a significant drop in onshore book sales.

The study uncovers the strategies being used by Australian publishers by analysing findings from interviews with 25 senior Australian publishers of various sizes, across trade, education, scholarly and literary sectors.

Dr Jan Zwar, researcher at Macquarie University’s Faculty of Business and Economics, said, “As a mid-size industry, Australian publishers have been forced to work harder in order to compete globally and deal with major changes that have been occurring across the industry.”


The report also looks at the structural changes within the industry and the impact this is having on book sales.

For instance, Big W is now believed to be the single biggest book retailer in Australia. The online retailer Booktopia, purchased Bookworld in 2015 and is now the dominant Australian-based online retailer, with an estimated market share of six to seven per cent.

On education book publishing, Dr Zwar commented, “Education publishing is arguably undergoing more radical transformation than trade publishing because it is also affected by disruption in the education sector. In additional to technology, education publishing is affected by government policies to improve education and employment outcomes as well as financial constraints.”

Direct to Full Text: Disruption and Innovation in the Australian Book Industry: Case Studies of Trade and Education Publishers (318 pages; PDF)

See Also: Book Authors and their Changing Circumstances: Survey Method and Results (October 2015)
Results from a survey of 1,000 Australian authors.

See Also: Project Web Site

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.