The Australian Government will give detailed consideration to a range of recommendations aimed at dealing with the dramatic changes affecting the Australian book industry, Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr said today.
The 21 recommendations are contained in a report released today by the Book Industry Strategy Group, established by Senator Carr in April 2010 to examine the significant challenges the industry faces, particularly those arising from digital and online changes affecting the book supply chain.
The Group, chaired by former Federal Minister, Dr Barry Jones AO, consulted widely with the book industry, librarians, educational institutions and consumers in the preparation of the report.
In accepting the report, Senator Carr said the Gillard Labor Government was committed to addressing the ongoing challenges faced by the Australian book industry, including those arising from emerging digital technologies.
“As an immediate action I have established a Printing and Publishing Network as part of Enterprise Connect within my Department,” Senator Carr said.
“Printing and publishing are distinct industries, but the close relationship between the two is reflected in overlapping issues and challenges, and this requires a shift in business models for both industries.
“This is a shift we can help companies make through Enterprise Connect. The new Network will help support the sharing of sector intelligence, liaise with industry representatives and help individual businesses to survive and thrive.”
Senator Carr said the total value of books sold in Australia in 2010 was estimated at some $2.3 billion, from both bricks-and-mortar and online bookshops. The industry directly employs more than 25,000 people – many in regional areas – and indirectly contributes to the livelihood of thousands more.
“A strong book industry is essential to ensuring the prosperity of Australian culture and creativity,” he said.
“It is clear that advances in new digital technology are having a major impact on the industry in Australia and around the world, and the industry must adapt if it is to remain competitive.
“Central to that adaptation will be deeper and enduring collaboration between the various book industry sectors.
“The Government will respond to the Group’s recommendations over coming months. However, I encourage the industry to use this report as a catalyst for working across the supply chain to institute its own reforms.”
Senator Carr thanked Dr Jones and members of the Group for the detailed and extensive work they had undertaken.
The report is available at www.innovation.gov.au/bisg
A printable version of the media release [PDF 50 KB] is available.