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