Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Educational Publishing in Australia: what's it worth?

There is no comprehensive analysis of sales in the educational market. Statistics have not been collected since 2004 as the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) no longer received funding to do so.

Currently, the education sector represents the largest publishing segment. It was worth $547.8 million in 2002-03, with $342.5 million of that resulting from Australian published material, but had dropped to $526.1 million in 2003-04. Of the 2003-04 sales, books produced in Australia were worth $343.4 million or 65% of educational sales. Most of these were for school use, the largest proportion of imported titles being used in tertiary education, though the number of imported titles being used in schools is growing and is a worrying trend for both culture and income for educational writers.

The decline in sales of educational books reflects international patterns and perhaps the influence of internet in education. Copyright Agency Ltd (CAL) is reporting a greater rate of copying of material available on the internet. Its market size had increased year by year since 2000 but plummeted to $498.8 million in 2003-04 (Table). There were 4615 new Australian educational titles published in 2002-03 and 4610 in 2003-04.

Table: Income from sales in the educational publishing market in Australia 2000-2004
Period Australian Education (m) Imported Education (m) Total (m)
2000-01 $295.9 $178.4 $474.3
2001-02 $310.2 $209 $519.2
2002-03 $328.4 $205.3 $533.7
2003-04 $313.2 $185.6 $498.8
Source: ABS

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