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A case for literature: the effectiveness of subsidies to Australian publishers 1995-2005

Oct 01, 2010


This report describes the findings of a research project that examined the effectiveness, both critical and financial, of Literature Board publishing subsidies to Australian publishers over the ten years 1995 to 2000.

Since its inception in 1973, the Literature Board has been providing subsidies to Australian-based publishers to assist with the publication of books by Australian authors – books of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, playscripts and anthologies of Australian literature.

The research project sought to establish the extent to which the Board’s publishing subsidy program has been effective in maintaining quality and creating value in its support of the publication of Australian literary titles. It assessed the contribution that the publishing subsidy program made, in the period 1995-2005, to Australian literary culture, in its support of particular genres, its assistance to the publication of individual titles and its role in establishing and maintaining the literary careers and reputations of Australian authors. The research undertaken combined the methodologies of interview, case study and statistical analysis.

The findings of the research, which illustrate the important role played by title-by-title publishing subsidies in supporting high quality Australian literature, will inform the continuation of the publishing subsidy program and contribute to its ongoing appropriateness and efficacy.