Aggregating the Digital Distribution of Australian Small Publishers, 2010-13

By Emmett Stinson.

Published by The International Journal of the Book

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In 2010, The Small Press Network (SPN), Australia’s advocacy group for independent publishers, embarked on a project to facilitate digital distribution for Australian small publishers. This article documents and analyses the difficulties that SPN navigated in the course of establishing this service. This case study illuminates the complexity of developing networks of cultural production in an Australian industry that has quickly become globalized and convergent. It also speaks to some of the inherent contradictions of convergence on a more abstract level: while SPN’s experience does reflect the commonly held belief that new modes of digital distribution can present a variety of opportunities for smaller players in the market as traditional supply chains are disaggregated, it has also revealed that accessing these opportunities often requires assuming a level of organizational complexity that lies beyond the capacity of many (if not most) smaller businesses. While this article mostly takes the form of a case study, it is enriched with quantitative data from SPN member-surveys, essential contextual information about the Australian publishing industry, and reflections on the contradictions inherent to convergent publishing. It contributes to the field by offering unique reflections on Australian independent publishers’ experience of digital convergence.

Keywords: Convergence, Australia, Independent Publishers

International Journal of the Book, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp.13-22. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 246.532KB).

Emmett Stinson

Lecturer, Publishing and Communications, School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Emmett Stinson is a lecturer in publishing and communications at the University of Melbourne. He edited the collection, By the Book? Contemporary Publishing in Australia (Monash University Press, 2013), and co-authored Banning Islamic Books in Australia (Melbourne University Press, 2011) with Richard Pennell and Pam Pryde. He was a co-founder and fiction editor of Wet Ink: The Magazine of New Writing, a co-founder and former president of the Small Press Network, a panellist on the Australian Government's Book Industry Strategy Group (2010-11), and a member of the Skills Expert Reference Group as part of the government-sponsored Book Industry Collaborative Council (2012-13). He has received the Melbourne Age Short Story Award, the ArtsSA Creative Writing Award, a Lannan Poetry Fellowship and the Wagner Medal for Fiction. His short-story collection, Known Unknowns (Affirm Press, 2010) was shortlisted for the Steele Rudd Award in the Queensland Premier’s Awards.


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