1. Introduction

The National Library of Australia’s publishing activity relates to Strategic Priority Two: Make access happen. In the Corporate Plan 2015-19, the related aspiration is: ‘facilitate and participate in the creation of new knowledge and works of the imagination’ by ‘collaborating with Australia’s leading writers and illustrators to produce high quality and commercially viable publications that interpret the Library’s collection and contribute to the vitality of Australian culture and history’. The Publications Guidelines are intended to complement the Publications Policy and provide more detailed advice to guide the Publications Committee and potential authors.

2. Guidelines aims

To provide detailed advice to guide the Publications Committee and potential authors.  

3. Definitions

Trade publication: A commercial publication for sale.

4. Guidelines

4.1 ‘For sale’ or trade publishing

  • All credible new publishing proposals for ‘for sale’ or trade publications received by the Publications Branch will be taken to the Publications Committee for consideration. A marketing plan and a provisional budget for the publication, including estimated unit cost and revenue potential will also be provided to assist the Committee’s decision-making. All new publishing proposals will be assessed according to the following guidelines:
    • extent to which primary source material in the National Library’s collections has been or will be used to highlight the Library’s collections
    • standards of writing and research; credentials of the author(s) and their ability to promote the book
    • the sales potential and recommended print run from feedback provided by the Library’s distributor, independent industry advisers and/or the Children’s Book Advisory Panel
    • projected costs and potential revenues assessed in the light of a commercial imperative and expectation that all titles will be profit-making
    • extent to which the proposed publication will assist the Library in meeting its strategic priorities
    • extent to which the proposed publication complements the Library’s overall  publishing program
    • opportunities for fruitful collaboration through publication
    • for exhibition-related books considerations include: the relationship between the proposed exhibition publication and other elements of the Library’s overall publishing program; available resources to cover costs, including those being contributed externally by exhibition sponsors or through a grant, and the potential to earn revenue.
  • If the proposal is endorsed, an author contract for the publication will be drawn up. Once this contract has been signed by the author and representatives of the Library the publication will go forward.
  • An approved publication may be taken back to the Publications Committee for further consideration, for example, if the manuscript failed to meet the Library’s publishing standards or if there have been changes in the publishing environment which have budget implications for the Library.
  • Publication release dates of ‘for sale’ titles will be determined after considering a range of factors including the need for reliability, regularity and frequency in the appearance of titles intended for book trade distribution and the need to publicise such books well in advance of their release dates.
  • Coordination of release dates of ‘for sale’ publications with the activities of the Library’s sales and promotion area, and the activities of the Library’s external distributors, are important. This will be achieved through integration of publications processes with sales and marketing strategies.

4.2 Promotional and corporate publishing

  • Promotional publishing includes all Library information or promotional material in printed or electronic formats. Promotional publishing proposals will be tabled annually at the July meeting of the Publications Committee. Prior approval for such proposals must be obtained through the Division Head from which the proposal comes.

Only those publications tabled by the Committee will be produced by the Publications Branch, in accordance with approved procedures. However, urgent requests between meetings may proceed with the approval of the Assistant Director-General, Executive and Public Programs. Such requests will be reported retrospectively to the Publications Committee.    

5. Key roles and responsibilities

Publications Committee: The Publications Committee will make publishing decisions in relation to these Guidelines and the Publications Policy.

6. Implementation process

How will we implement these Guidelines?

Responsibility for overseeing the implementation of these Guidelines rests with the Publication Committee.

7. Revision

These Guidelines will be reviewed at least every two years or more often if deemed necessary.

8. References and related documents

Are there other documents related to this policy?

The following documents are related to this policy: