In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia’s book industry is acting rapidly.
A lot has wisely been put on hold for the interests of community health and safety. But as bookshops, publishers, libraries and authors – we’re still here to bring books that educate, inform, entertain and inspire Australians.
We want to make sure Australians of all ages are still learning, feeding their imaginations, finding meaning in stories, and still connecting with others – we believe reading and books play a key role in that.
Why are books essential to our wellbeing?
The Government’s immediate priority must be on health and security. But there are other urgent needs that will determine how well Australia recovers from the crisis. Parents need to care for their children: to keep them learning, as well as to entertain and to inspire them. The vulnerable and those living by themselves need protection from loneliness and isolation.
We believe millions of Australians need to be sustained emotionally and intellectually during this time.
Books can help with those needs. We know:
- Reading books helps combat loneliness and isolation and is powerfully effective in reducing stress
- Literacy is critical to a child’s future and reading aloud is one of the most beneficial things a parent can do for a child
- Access to resources affects learning outcomes
- Reading fosters empathy and social skills
Below, you will find ways that the industry is responding and helping Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here’s the libraries official response to COVID-19 and their pandemic resource page. Our libraries may be physically closed, but they’re open in spirit and have many resources for people to access online.
As part of a special Books Create Australia agreement, we’ve broadened and removed barriers for accessing online Storytimes.
If you’d like more ideas about what resources you can access from your libraries online, this ABC Life article has plenty of tips and ideas from your friendly neighbourhood librarians.
Here’s the Australian Society of Authors official response to COVID-19 and their pandemic resource page. They’re looking at ways to keep writers working during these times.
The ASA is distributing grants to assist with expenses for authors impacted by COVID-19 with the Writers Benevolent Fund.
They are also calling out for authors to fill out a survey on the COVID-19 impacts on author incomes.
Consumers have been urged to buy local – as booksellers are quite vulnerable during this time.
If you want information about where your local bookstores are, their opening hours and delivery options are – you can visit this database put together by the ABA and Books+Publishing.
Book supply chains are still running – to ensure our bookstores are stocked up and ready to ship out books to everyone.
The APA has set up a special COVID-19 information and news page – which will be updated regularly.
The Australian Publishers Association is working to help keep the book business running – providing important information to everyone involved in making books, ensuring that cash flow and distribution and supply chains continue.
Working with libraries, authors and booksellers, publishers are promoting books and reading to the Australian public.
It’s amping up the Australia Reads campaign and Books Create Australia to help champion books and reading.
Books Create Australia is currently talking to the government, making sure they know that we love our books – and that we think books are still important and should be supported during this time.
Australia Reads initiative
As an industry, we’re supporting these activities with the #AustraliaReadsAtHome campaign – which is part of the bigger Australia Reads project. It’s here to champion the power of reading and literacy.
The #AustraliaReadsAtHome hashtag can be followed and used to promote the many benefits of reading to those who are going into quarantine or self-isolation. It’s also a great way to keep younger ones entertained if schools are closed.
The Australia Reads festival begins Tuesday 1 September 2020 and culminates with the main event, Australian Reading Hour on Thursday 17 September. Find out more about Australia Reads.
Stay up to date and join the Books Create Australia community
Want to get involved? Want to know more?
Bookmark the Books Create Australia page, follow us on social media, and subscribe to our newsletter if you would like to keep up-to-date with what the book industry is doing during these times.
For more specific information you can visit these websites:
- Australian Libraries and Information Association
- Australian Publishers Association
- Australian Society for Authors
- Australian Bookseller Association
And as always, stay in if you can, stay safe, look after each other, and stay connected.
We’ll be doing our best to keep bringing you books – we’ll be sharing news about what the book community is doing during these challenging times.
Thanks for supporting us and being a part of it.