High overseas demand for Australian children’s books

Australian children are the first to taste-test our popular homegrown, talented authors and fruit is a common theme. Think 'Wash Your Face in Orange Juice' by Peter Combe and 'A Banana is a Banana' by Justine Clarke and Josh Pyke. Creators springboard to international markets to build a sustainable career. A new report by Macquarie University looks at the trend led by the under fives.

Over half of all almost 10,000 global 'deals' secured by Australian authors and their publishers over a ten-year period were for children’s books. 

Over half were titles targeted at younger readers:

  • picture books (21%)
  • books for middle grade children (27%) and
  • books for teens and young adults (6%).

According to the authors of the study

Our carefully crafted words carry ideas, perspectives and culture well beyond our borders and return significant – and vital – revenue to the entire book publishing industry. Our writers are recognised and celebrated internationally.

The direct link between paying for rights and someone's income

Think Wash Your Face in Orange Juice by Peter Combe and Banana is a Banana by Justine Clarke (pictured above) and Josh Pyke.

Earning a dollar from international rights revenue is important but not more so than earning an income from local 'consumers' of creative output - those using works in settings outside the home.

In Australia, commercial enterprises such as child care services can reproduce (copy, scan) parts of books for their children legally with a blanket licence from OneMusic Australia/Copyright Agency. For around $3 per licensed place per year this ensuring rights revenue for authors starts here at home.

The OneMusic Australia/Copyright Agency licence also provides legal access to a worldwide collection of music.

Becoming a music creator and an author

Josh Pyke PHOTO Kath O'Malley

Beloved Australian childrens music creators have  crossed over to authoring books like these music industry ambassadors:

Success Story: International rights sales of Australian-authored books 2008-2018, by Paul Crosby, Jan Zwar, Airlie Lawson and Sunny Y. Shin, Macquarie University.

The Prime Minister's Literary Award Shortlist (announced 22 October 2021) children’s literature category