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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2004  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/02/2004   
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Contents >> Culture and recreation >> Literature and print media

Reading habits, book buying and borrowing
In 2001, DCITA and the Australia Council commissioned a national telephone survey of about 1,500 people aged 18 years and over to obtain information about patterns of reading, buying and borrowing books for pleasure. Respondents were asked what they had read in the week before interview. The survey found that 91% of people aged 18 years and over had read newspapers, 72% had read books for pleasure, 63% had read magazines and 44% had read books for work or study.

Those who had read books for pleasure in the previous week were asked about the source of each book read. The origins of all the books read were as follows:

  • 29% were bought new
  • 20% were borrowed from a library
  • 19% had been in the house for a long time (origins unknown)
  • 13% were borrowed from a friend
  • 10% were received as a gift
  • 5% were bought second-hand
  • 2% were borrowed from someone in the house
  • 2% were from other sources.

In summary, 44% of books were purchased (new, second-hand or as a gift) and 35% were borrowed. Most borrowing was from libraries, but informal networks also played a significant role.

Book publishing

During 2000-01 there were 228 businesses which were either predominantly engaged in book publishing, or generated income of $2m or more from this activity. Table 12.10 shows that these organisations generated $1,361.2m in income, of which $1,260.6m was from the sale of books. Of the total book sales, $747.7m (59%) was attributed to Australian titles.

12.10 BOOK PUBLISHERS - 2000-01

Units
Value

Organisations at end June 2001
no.
228
Income
Sales of all books
$m
1,260.6
Sales of Australian titles
$m
747.7
Sales of imported titles
$m
512.9
Sales of other goods
$m
29.6
Other income
$m
71.1
Total
$m
1,361.2
Average income per business
$m
6.0
Expenses
Wages and salaries paid
$m
223.7
Royalties and fees paid
$m
85.0
Other expenses
$m
1,013.0
Total
$m
1,321.7
Average expenses per business
$m
5.8
Ratio of royalties and fees paid to sales of Australian titles
%
11.4
Export sales of books
$m
162.5
Internet sales of books
$m
1.1
Operating profit before tax
$m
62.7
Profit margin
%
4.6
Industry value added
$m
382.0

Source: Book Publishers, Australia, 2000-01 (1363.0).

Book retailing

Sales from books valued at $1,221.0m were reported by the 1,285 employing businesses identified as having retail bookselling activity in 2000-01. Table 12.11 shows that the majority of these business were newsagents. However, most of the income from book sales was generated by the 545 businesses classified as bookshops (76% or $933.6m). In total, book retailers sold over 70 million new books during 2000-01.

12.11 BOOK RETAILERS - 2000-01

Units
Bookshops(a)
Newsagents(b)
Department
stores
Supermarkets
Retailing
n.e.c.
Total

Number of businessesno.
545
718
7
11
4
1,285
Number of books soldmillion
41.8
*9.1
16.4
n.p.
n.p.
70.3
Income
Retail sales of new books(c)$m
933.6
*129.0
148.2
6.3
3.8
1,221.0
Other retail sales$m
66.5
700.4
n.p.
n.p.
537.2
44,757.6
Other income$m
24.7
103.6
n.p.
n.p.
0.4
4,725.0
Total$m
1,024.8
933.0
13,678.2
34,526.2
541.4
50,703.5
Average income per business$m
1.9
1.3
1,954.0
3,138.7
135.3
39.5
Average sales of new books per business$m
1.7
*0.2
21.2
0.6
0.9
1.0
Expenses
Purchases of new books$m
602.1
53.5
124.0
4.7
1.8
786.1
Other expenses$m
415.9
841.9
13,632.9
33,892.7
543.0
49,326.5
Total$m
1,018.0
895.4
13,756.9
33,897.3
544.8
50,112.5
Average expenses per business$m
1.9
1.2
1,965.3
3,081.6
136.2
39.0
Average purchases of new books per business$m
1.1
*0.1
17.7
0.4
0.4
0.6

(a) Includes only those businesses which are classified according to the ANZSIC as Newspaper, book and stationery retailing and for which the value of new book sales comprises at least 50% of all retail sales.
(b) Includes only those businesses which are classified according to the ANZSIC as Newspaper, book and stationery retailing and for which the value of new book sales comprises less than 50% of all retail sales.
(c) Includes $12.4m for electronic and audio books.
Source: Book Retailers, Australia, 2000-01 (1371.0).

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