What Were We Buying? Examining Non-fiction and Narrative Non-fiction Reading Patterns in the 2000s

Jan Zwar


During the 2000s there was considerable discussion about whether Australian book readers were turning in large numbers from fiction to non-fiction genres. This paper contributes empirical research to ‘half’ of the discussion: analysis of Nielsen BookScan (NB) non-fiction sales data from 2003-2008 to identify non-fiction sales trends, and more specifically, narrative non-fiction reading patterns. These findings provide a rare snapshot of Australian book-buying patterns after the introduction of NB and before the widespread popularity of online retail sites in the late 2000s and, more recently, ebook sales.


Australian literature; Australian publishing; narrative non-fiction; creative non-fiction; Nielsen BookScan; readerships; reading patterns

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