Provenance the Web Magazine

ISSN 1203-8954 - Vol.2, No.1 - December 1996

South Pacific Publishing and
The 5th Australian Book Fair, Darling Harbour, Sydney

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Dr. John Evans,
South Pacific correspondent for Provenance Web Magazine
University of Papua New Guinea Press
Phone (675+) 326 7191 - Fax (675+) 326 7187

The 5th Australian Book Fair was held in Sydney from 4th-7th July 1996 . For the first time and through the sponsorship of the South Pacific Trade Commission there was a stall at this event representing South Pacific publishing. These formed part of 200 plus companies represented at the fair.

The first two days were trade days and the second two, public days. Overall visitor attendance was of the order of 50,000.

Evans & reps The stall provided by SPTC was a large one (18sq. meters) given costs. This was shared by the University of Papua New Guinea Press (representative - Dr John Evans); the Institute of Pacific Studies of the University of the South Pacific (representative - Linda Crowl) and SCOOP (a Tahitian publisher). IPS had some Vanuatu and Tongan publishers materials on display. UPNG Press displayed material from the Melanesian Institute, Institute for Medical Research, National Research Institute, Christian Books Melanesia, Unitech, and most UPNG departmental publications. This continued the spirit of cooperation displayed in the production of the joint PNG publications catalogue - copies of which were available at the Fair.

Such representation at international fairs was novel event for Papua New Guinea publishing - though Kevin Walcott, who visited the Fair, recalled a joint PNG publishers stand at Frankfurt Book Fair years ago.

Contacts - Numerous visitors complained about the lack of fulfilment of orders, many of substantial volume, in the past - problems of UPNG Bookshop being the cause of many complaints. It is clear than in future these orders can be handled properly so that business in PNG Books re-develops. In addition several companies sought opportunities to sell in PNG and distributorships. Discussions with ANU library, for instance, do indicate a small and steady business in this area to assist libraries and academics in Australia.

PNG Book Fair (2nd - 3rd August)

I will be displaying USP material and other regional publications from the Sydney event at this. A useful example of collaboration at low cost.

Representation of PNG publications in bibliographic and trade sources

As a result of attendance both Bookdata and Thorpe will be including our material in their databases and reference publications. PNG publications are also going on to.IDRC's PAN - Pan Asian Network, a result of earlier projects that IDRC has had at UPNG.

New areas of publications

stall at book fair Ideas emerged, such as the need for hardbacks (small quantities) to satisfy certain areas of the market. Scientific publications, poetry and plays were also actively sought. Translation is also a possibility. There seems to be considerable potential for development of a mailing list of Pacific contacts.


Direct sales were light, given the specialized nature of material. Also most of the anticipated customers will be institutions and academics will use their standard ordering mechanisms. Given that over 300 of the integrated PNG Books catalogue were distributed, this will result in extensive back and forward orders.

In practice all books on display were sold as USP Book Centre agreed to take all the PNG books and 1 agreed to take USP Books to PNG for the PNG Book Fair. As there had been an almost complete lack of exchanges before this is a very important result of the Fair.

Focus on future sales might involve:

  • improved mailing lists
  • participation in sectoral fairs
  • integrated catalogues; subject catalogues collaborative displays centralized distribution (an ABC clone) adequate software packages
  • new products e.g. connect to Tourism; schools

Development aspects

Given the nature of the region these can not be stressed too highly. Attendance at the fair has enabled work to be done than could make important contributions at both institutional, professional and trade levels.

  1. Professional - CUPA - Commonwealth University Publishers Association

    A workshop is planned to start this organisation at the Ghana Book Fair, Accra, 7 - 8th November. University of West Indies, University of Wittswaterand, University of Nairobi and University of PNG Presses are "on-side". It is anticipated this would run as a Commonwealth Professional Association and be concerned with professional development, rather than trade issues. At this meeting it was possible

    to interest USP and certain New Zealand and Australian University Presses in this development.

  2. Institutional - South Pacific Academic Publishing Agreement

    To facilitate further collaboration in the region, specifically USP/UPNG, a draft of this has been prepared for consideration of appropriate authorities. This is meant as an enabling device, rather than a prescription for the future. The two institutions are meant to collaborate and an effective example in place is the South Pacific Distance Education agreement.

  3. Trade - SP BIA - The South Pacific Books and Information Association - (or South Pacific Books Council)

A broad outline for such a body was developed. This is intended as a broadband organization devoted to promotional, policy and trade issues as there would be limited scope for monofocus organizations in the South Pacific book trade at least at this point in time. Whatever happens on this it would appear that a PNG Publishers Association would be called for to consolidate present collaboration there appears to be a lot of funding within AAPA, but members have to be national associations.

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Dr. John Evans,
South Pacific correspondent for Provenance Web Magazine
University of Papua New Guinea Press
c/o Unisearch PNG PTY LTD.
Box 320, University
National Capital District
Papua New Guinea
Phone (675+) 326 7191 - Fax (675+) 326 7187

© 1996 John Evans and The Provenance Electronic / Web Magazine

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