Monday, December 05, 2011

No Future? The Lack of Science Fiction Published in Australia - David Golding

It must be noted that Australian publishing houses make money by distributing or publishing foreign-originated titles. Though doing so does not make as much money as originating titles, neither does it require as much investment on the part of the publishing houses. In a sense, publishing houses are competing against themselves. As new authors take time to catch on, so this competition is biased towards the incumbent foreign titles.

And foreign titles include those written by Australian authors. Our biggest authors, such as Damien Broderick, Greg Egan and Sean Williams, are first published overseas. This makes sense as the American and British markets are larger and more developed than the Australian market and so offer more reward. Some authors have been able to start their careers overseas; others have started their careers with an Australian publishing house, only to move overseas when they are prominent enough to be noticed by foreign publishing houses. Australian readers wishing to read Australian authors will in these cases be paying at least some of their money to a foreign publishing industry; it will be a lot of money if the book is merely distributed by a local publishing house, as is often the case. If the book cannot be found in a local bookshop, then the reader may buy the book online from Amazon or direct from the foreign publishing house, in which cases there is no money earned by Australian publishing at all.

4 out of 5