Cultural value and books in public debate in Australia 2003-2008

Jan Zwar
"The years 2003-2008 were a time of heightened public debate in Australia. Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, books which offered critiques of the Bush and Howard governments and which questioned developments in international and domestic politics found interested readerships. One publisher has recalled this as a distinct period of unusual Australian appetite for books about serious issues. Such books were amongst a range of narrative non-fiction works ... through which their authors
more » ... ht to participate in civic debate. Surely, if books made a contribution to contemporary public debate, this timeframe would provide a compelling case study. This research analyses the Nielsen BookScan top 5000 non-fiction book sales from 2003-2008 in Australia, focusing on critiques and other popular narrative non-fiction 'reading patterns' identified in the data. The project examines reading patterns in relation to two major debates, namely the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, and Australia's policies towards asylum seekers; the extent and popularity of overseas-authored and Australian books; and whether Australian independent publishers have made distinctive contributions to the public debate through the types of books they published during this period. The findings are considered in the context of the developing conceptual body of work about cultural value in economics, and theoretical work on readerships in book history" -- abstract.
doi:10.25949/19436441 fatcat:uxmdr3byw5gz7aw54z2uagnene