Sales of Indigenous titles 'skyrocket'
Bookshops in Australia have seen a surge in sales of Indigenous books recently. Brisbane-based Riverbend Books owner Suzy Wilson says she’s been waiting for many Indigenous titles to come back in stock such has been demand. “Sales have been steadily increasing over the last few years but in the last few weeks they have skyrocketed,” she told ABC Radio.
“We have had four titles in our Top 10 by Indigenous writers and I think their voices are getting stronger and stronger. It’s a cause for celebration because it means the stories are getting out there and people are engaging with them. The stand out for us in the last few years has been Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe.”
Through her work with the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, Wilson says she has seen better representation of Indigenous voices on library shelves. “If Indigenous authors aren’t represented on school library shelves, then how can our young people become acquainted with those issues?” she asks.
“We’ve just published our 90th book in first languages and we have a strong publishing program where we go into communities and help them tell their stories with the books often printed in first language or a mixture of both. If you have literacy skills it opens doors — reading opens doors and that’s what our goal is,” she adds.
Dr Anita Heiss, who led the Black Words project to collate and promote the works of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers, also says people are actively seeking out Indigenous literature. “Black Words can help provide that introduction for people to start their own learning because the reality is people need to be reading widely and educating themselves. Teachers are desperate for resources on how to teach Aboriginal and Indigenous history and we show them the resources that are available that they can embed in their classrooms,” Dr Heiss says.
“Learning though at the moment is for all of us, and one way to get a greater understanding is to read, whether that’s a novel or a play or critical analysis.”
ABOVE A selection of popular Indigenous titles