Overview of the Australian Book Market – Formats and Devices

Are you a Canadian publisher looking for information on new export markets? Today we continue our series of blog posts on the Australian book market. Excerpted from our market guide Selling Canadian Books in Australian by Michael Webster, today’s post shares some background on digital and audio formats and preferred reading and listening devices in the Australian book market.


While declining year by year over the past decade—in 2008, for example, paperback formats represented 64% of new titles—48% of new titles released in 2016 were in paperback formats, 2% lower than 2015 and 6% below 2014’s 54%. The output of ebooks and other digital formats has levelled off after the rise in 2013 when 8,311 ebooks, online resources, and other digital products were published, which is attributed to the release that year of many backlist titles in digital format for the first time.


The major players in the audio market are Wavesound, Amazon’s Audible, and Melbourne-based Bolinda, the #1 audio and large-print producer in Australia and the company that dominates the physical audio market of Australian titles, the output of which has grown over recent years.

Bolinda’s production facilities are also used to produce audio for publishers, many of which are retaining audio rights and producing their titles under their own imprints. Harper Collins and Pan Macmillan are examples of two major player who are now partnering with Bolinda to produce their titles.


While various reports into the Australian book industry canvas the production, sale, and use of ebooks, there is little research on the devices that Australian readers use. It is known that sales of dedicated eBook devices have slowed and are now mostly limited to existing, dedicated ebook readers who appreciate their black-and-white screens over the backlit screens of tablet computers. Kindle remains the most popular dedicated ebook device, followed by Kobo, which is now stocked and promoted by a number of booksellers, including the Collins chain.

According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s audience tracking survey ABC Podcast Research 2017, there was a 56% increase in podcast listening in 2016, with growth particularly among 14–34-year-olds and females. The report also notes that smartphones are the preferred device for 62% of listeners, largely at the expense of listening on a computer.

This text was drawn from our market guide Selling Canadian Books in Australia. For more valuable insights into the publishing market in Australia, download the full guide.

02/07/2019 | Digital, Export, Market Guides