Publishing and Australian Literature: Crisis, Decline or Transformation?

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Katherine Bode


The globalisation and consolidation of book publishing is widely seen as having negative consequences for Australian literature. Some commentators argue that this shift is detrimental to Australian literature as a whole; others identify the growth of multinational publishing conglomerates with a specific decline in Australian literary fiction. This article explores both positions, first identifying and investigating trends in Australian novel publication and comparing these to trends in the publication of novels from other countries as well as other Australian-originated literature (specifically, poetry and auto/biography). It then considers the specific case of Australian literary fiction, before looking in detail at the output of large publishers of Australian novels. This analysis reveals a recent decline in Australian novel and poetry titles, but offers a more complex picture of this trend than dominant expressions of nostalgia and alarm about the fate of Australian literature and publishing would suggest.

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Articles (Peer Reviewed)
Author Biography

Katherine Bode, University of Tasmania

Katherine Bode is an ARC-funded postdoctoral fellow in the School of English, Journalism and European Languages at the University of Tasmania. Her current research investigates the critical potential of quantitative methods for analysing Australian literary and publishing history. Her most recent book, edited with Robert Dixon, is Resourceful Reading: The New Empiricism, eResearch and Australian Literary Culture (2009).