Reading habits, book buying and borrowing
Books Alive is a four-year campaign funded by the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts and coordinated by the Australia Council. The aim of the campaign is to promote the intrinsic value of books, reading and literacy (particularly for children), and the books of Australian writers. To inform the development of the campaign, a national telephone survey of about 1,500 people aged 18 years and over was conducted in June 2001 to obtain information about patterns of reading, buying and borrowing books for pleasure.
The incidence of Australians aged 18 years and over who had read books for pleasure in the week before interview (72%) was lower than for newspapers (91%), but ahead of magazines (63%) and reading for work or study (44%).
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:
- 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
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.
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 (59.3%) was attributed to Australian titles.
- 2% were from other sources.
12.10 BOOK PUBLISHERS - 2000-01
|Organisations at end June 2001|
|Sales of all books|
|Sales of Australian titles|
|Sales of imported titles|
|Sales of other goods|
|Average income per business|
|Wages and salaries paid|
|Royalties and fees paid|
|Average expenses per business |
|Ratio of royalties and fees paid to sales of Australian titles|
|Export sales of books|
|Internet sales of books|
|Operating profit before tax|
|Profit margin |
|Industry value added|
|Source: Book Publishers, Australia, 2000-01 (1363.0).|