Independent Publisher’s Conference

Recently the Independent Pubilsher’s Conference was in Melbourne with a range of speakers and industry professionals sharing their knowledge. This post is a collection of tweets from that conference.

(Format: The names of those who tweeted the comment are at the end of the comment. The first names are those who said it or tweeted it originally.)


Publishing Culture

  • Terri ann-White says she doesn’t see the quality publishing programs like on the east coast and are instead add-on classes. #indpubconf @AndyRoflz
  • @terriannwhite: there are no serious tertiary publishing courses in Western Australia #indpubconf @BplusPNews
  • Peter Donoughue wants the Copyright Agency Limited to fund statistical collection on the book industry. #indpubconf @AndyRoflz
  • Zoe Rodriguez says the Australian Bureau of Statistics should reintroduce collection of statistics of the publishing industry. #indpubconf @AndyRoflz
  • And Zoe from CAL responds: we are getting more and more requests for funding from the publishing and visual arts industries #indpubconf@BplusPNews
  • John Weldon: “text doesn’t stop at end of page” is quote from William Gibson in reply to qu on how tech has changed writing #indpubconf ‏@alexadsett
  • Kevin Brophy: there is a real problem in Aus that there is no long term vision for the arts. #indpubconf @alexadsett
  • In digital world- gatekeepers dictating opinions from on high are no longer relevant. Culture now comes from below as well. #indpubconf @alexadsett
  • ‘literary culture is being de-professionalized and handed over to enthusiasts and amateurs’: Davis #indpubconf ‏@Tim_Coronel
  • Publishing is in process of being deconstructed & handed over to amateurs. Apart from loss of income, this is not nec bad thing #indpubconf @alexadsett
  • Davis: need to examine decline of literary Uni culture. Literary courses not producing readers, but writing courses are prolific #indpubconf @alexadsett

Publishing industry

  • Susan Hawthorn says retain relationship with overseas publishers even if they don’t publish your own book immediately. #indpubconf @AndyRoflz
  • Peter Donoughue says with APAs large investment, TitlePage needs to have renegotiation to have the Small Press Network on board. #indpubconf @AndyRoflz
  • @EmmettStinson: @SPUNC will collaborate w anyone & everyone who will help develop a better outcome for SPN members #indpubconf @alexadsett
  • Alison Green from @PanteraPress says that Pantera has moved to an author-share model of publishing, instead of royalties #indpubconf @BplusPNews
  • Nash: small publishers are entrepreneurs, they take more risks than booksellers #indpubconf @BplusPNews
  • ‘independence’ in lit mags now extends to rejection of govt arts grants #indpubconf ‏@Tim_Coronel
  • @Tim_Coronel despite 20 years of debate- parallel importation is dead. No argument by publishers cld withhold now #indpubconf @alexadsett
  • battle to retain parallel importation laws seen by the public as ‘special pleading by an elite’: Davis #indpubconf ‏@Tim_Coronel
  • Global english language rights will become the rule which means less for authors acc. to @Tim_Coronel #indpubconf ‏@Hack_packer
  • Emily Stewart: Publishing is only as sustainable as the environment in which it operates. #indpubconf @alexadsett
  • Susan Hawthorne says publishers should expect a reasonable 4.5% return on investment, not unsustainable higher profits #indpubconf ‏@alexadsett
  • Aust publishing has ‘oversold and undercooked’ for years, too many bad books: Davis #indpubconf @Tim_Coronel
  • UK advances cut by up to 80%. $10k is the new $50k: Mark Davis #indpubconf @alexadsett
  • Publishers have lost their monopoly over distribution, and this loss has done more to destabilize industry than ebooks & Amazon. #indpubconf @alexadsett
  • MT @BplusPNews: .@PeterHaasz Book Industry Collaborative Council is looking into incorporating ebooks into the ELR/PLR schemes #indpubconf @BookThingo
  • .@PeterHaasz on metadata: quality over quantity. Spelling an author’s name wrong is unforgivable #indpubconf @BplusPNews
  • Sophy says POD has been positive for @BlackIncBooks. She says it is great for publishers without international distribution #indpubconf @BplusPNews
  • POD means there is no longer a need for those ‘elephants’ graveyard’ warehouses full of unsold printed books, says Nerida #indpubconf @BplusPNews
  • Sophy and Nerida both say that not all formats are suitable for POD, you need to be realistic #indpubconf @BplusPNews


  • Ebooks make up 10% of Australian book sales. #indpubconf @ffgeorgie
  • In Aus ebooks make up about 10% of publisher revenues – in the US it’s more like 25%. Will it grow or stabilise? – @Tim_Coronel #indpubconf @EmergingWriters
  • Cattanach: ebks appeal to reluctant readers and energise print bk fans to keep buying print. Double win. #indiepubconf @BplusPNews
  • @GoodThinking99 digital and print not ‘either/or’ #indpubconf ‏@Tim_Coronel
  • ‘ebooks are the greatest thing that ever happened to children’s books’ Cattenach #indiepubconf @Tim_Coronel
  • CS: copyright is not something we can control through DRM, but by cultural shift. #indpubconf @alexadsett
  • . @PeterHaasz: browser-based ereading allows instant sharing of free book chapters. Great for social media #indpubconf @BplusPNews
  • . @zoedattner: reviews have a big impact on ebook sales. It’s important to make ebooks available at the same time as pbooks #indpubconf @BplusPNews
  • .@malcolmneil says the peak time for ebook sales is after 8pm. Kobo also sees a spike at around 10am – morning tea time #indpubconf ‏@BplusPNews
  • .@zoedattner: ebook providers all request different formats for metadata. It is complex but it will get better #indpubconf @BplusPNews
  • .@PeterHaasz fixed layout ebooks run into problems because of the wide variety of devices that readers use #indpubconf @BplusPNews‏


  • @thebooksdesk recommends publishers talk to booksellers about what works, those conversations are important #indpubconf @BplusPNews
  • @thebooksdesk: think of the bookseller as the first consumer of your book. They’re reaction is very important #indpubconf @BplusPNews
  • @Tim_Coronel When Red Group fell, 20% of the bookselling business fell with it. #indpubconf @alexadsett
  • Jon Page begins the session by saying a bookshop is not a library. #indpubconf @AndyRoflz
  • Jon Page says don’t stock all books spine out, put some books face out, because covers do sell books. #indpubconf @AndyRoflz @BplusPNews
  • ‘readers are doing their own parallel importation’ @Tim_Coronel reckons it will disappear in next govt. #indpubconf @wheelercentre ‏@Hack_packer
  • Some different views on what equals bestseller status: Alison says around 10,000 copies, @terriannwhite says more like 5000 #indpubconf @BplusPNews
  • @Tim_Coronel 2/3 of Aus physical bookshops are indie owned or run, but no stats on ebooks or overseas sales #indpubconf @alexadsett
  • Assertion: Aus book culture is healthy & diverse. Lots of lit activity but no sign that # of readers is growing – @Tim_Coronel #indpubconf @EmergingWriters
  • @Tim_Coronel More bookshops likely to close. To survive, no longer just able to open doors, stock shelves & hope for customers #indpubconf @alexadsett
  • @Tim_Coronel POSITIVES- the surviving industry will be more Australian in content + more room for indies & passion over profit #indpubconf @alexadsett
  • Avoid Kindles if you want to support your local bookshop, says Jon Page. Retailers can sell you ebooks to other devices, not Amazon’s Kindle @sleepingdingo
  • lack of retail shelf space, consumer reluctance and declining review coverage in papers all affecting sales of books #indpubconf @Tim_Coronel


  • @wilkinsfarago if we priced our books in Aust the same as US, we’d lose $$ on every single one #indpubconf @Tim_Coronel
  • @kirstinbooks @text_publishing YA book prices usually bw $16.99 and $19.99 #indpubconf @BplusPNews
  • >$20 = a crossover novel; YA needs to be under $20 #indpubconf @Tim_Coronel
  • @BookThingo @ccorbettauthor @peterdonoughue suggested at #indpubconf that OS bks should be no more than 20% over US/UK price … but that Aust-authored books could still be more expensive to reflect higher local costs/smaller market @Tim_Coronel
  • @Tim_Coronel Global near-parity book pricing will be essential, even if it seems commercially suicidal to do so #indpubconf @alexadsett
  • Price parity: exciting for readers. Finally we won’t have the world’s most $$ books. But what cost to local writers, pubs? #indpubconf @lisadempster
  • PnPBookseller: book prices have fallen by about 7% in Australia in the past 18 months #indpubconf
  • eBooks over &14.99 exist in the “desert of publisher expectation” #indpubconf @PnPBookseller
  • RT @alexadsett: Consensus is that Aus ebooks sell best around the $8 price point. #indpubconf @BookThingo
  • .@malcolmneil: don’t drastically discount your new releases; you’re just taking money out of your own pockets #indpubconf @BplusPNews

Publishing and Consumers – Marketing and Selling

  • @EmmettStinson publishers should find & communicate w their constituents but not try to sell books directly #indpubconf @Tim_Coronel
  • Excellent! RT @SPUNC Penguin getting more requests from teachers for bundling print & ebooks. #indpubconf @alexadsett
  • book publishing needs a new social model, not just a new business model: Davis #indpubconf ‏@Tim_Coronel
  • Publishing doesn’t need new business model, but a new social model. It has always been about connectivity with readers #indpubconf @alexadsett
  • social media not a replacement for mainstream media coverage #indpubconf ‏@Tim_Coronel
  • @wilkinsfarago social media generates a lot of noise but not necessarily sales #indpubconf @BplusPNews
  • Cattanach: a lot of social media is blocked in schools making it hard to reach teachers this way #indpubconf @BplusPNews
  • @wilkinsfarago analogue marketing eg mailing out order forms to schools has generated most sales #indpubconf @BplusPNews
  • If you want to sell children’s books, you have to produce teachers’ notes, say @wilkinsfarago and Tye #indpubconf @JuniorBplusP
  • Jon Page says customers want their books fast, booksellers must get customers reading as fast as possible. #indpubconf @AndyRoflz
  • participation in written culture, both online and in print, becomes ‘an everyday practice for everyday people’ @GoodThinking99 #indpubconf ‏@Tim_Coronel
  • @Tim_Coronel after A&U/Murdoch & Penguin/Random mergers, more are in the way. Perhaps, gloomily, even our big indie pubs. #indpubconf @alexadsett
  • @Tim_Coronel book events are thriving. Book industry ppl are attending to connect directly with engaged. & passionate public #indpubconf @alexadsett
  • @Tim_Coronel believes Aussies read as much as ever, but their book buying habits have changed. #indpubconf @alexadsett
  • .@waouwwaouw says building an online identity can be a ‘slow-burner’; it can take time for some followers to buy your product #indpubconf @BplusPNews
  • RT @Liticisms The consensus for promoting your publication online is quality & frequent content, & promo through social media #indpubconf @EmergingWriters
  • .@Louise_Swinn: there are lots of online outlets for reviews, but it’s important that these publications are sustainable #indpubconf @BplusPNews

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