The decline of the literary paradigm in Australian publishing
Source TitleTen Years, Heat 12 (new series)
University of Melbourne Author/sDavis, Mark
AffiliationArts: Department of English with Cultural Studies
Document TypeJournal (Paginated)
CitationsDavis, M. (2006). The decline of the literary paradigm in Australian publishing. Ten Years, Heat 12 (new series), 12, 91-108.
Access StatusOpen Access
Deposited with permission of Giramondo Publishing
Bestseller lists are of fundamental symbolic importance to the publishing industry. They show not only what is selling, but how the industry sees itself. In their margins are written not only the tastes of readers, but the aspirations of publishers, the pretensions of authors, and the topography of the market. Until the late 1990s in Australia such lists were generally compiled by the literary editors of major daily newspapers and literary magazines, who contacted booksellers and asked what was selling. Such lists were notoriously filtered. Those contacted were most often independents in inner-city locations, close to universities. Genre fiction would routinely be omitted from their quick, usually anecdotal, assessment of what was moving in the shop, along with any non-fiction deemed lowbrow and unbecoming, such as The Guinness Book of Records, a perennial bestseller in almost all bookshops. Instead, such lists were comprised almost entirely of literary fiction and literary non-fiction.
KeywordsAustralian publishing industry; literature; booksellers; bestseller lists
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