Tuesday, April 25, 2006
I'm just back from New Zealand. I'm always in awe of the New Zealand publishing industry. The sheer number and variety of books they put out on a population base of 4 million is extraordinary. The books, especially the non-fiction, is often innovative and the publishers seem more ready to experiment than the Australian publishers, and there's a stronger national thread running through the publishing. There are superb New Zealand natural history books, for example, on a remarkably wide variety of subjects. They can sell an extraordinary number of books - 100,000 for one particular picture book - but the runs are often quite small 2000-3000 which must make it tough to make the figures work and have an adequate budget for production and editorial. I think the scale of both the Australian and New Zealand markets leaves us sometimes compromised on the editorial front, and even on the writing. It's something that we are conscious of at black dog - of being aware of the risk of compromising and working hard to avoiding that pitfall.