Join in and escape with a good book for Australia Reads

Canberra, 5 November 2020: In a recent Twitter poll conducted by Australia Reads, 74% said yes, they have changed their reading habits during COVID-19, with 64% reading more. More people reading more often can be seen in surging book sales across the country. 
According to print market data analysis from Bianca Whiteley, Territory Manager of Nielsen Book Australia, 'The Australian Book Market is up close to 5% on the same period in 2019. The escapism found in Fiction has proven to be a popular choice with Australian book buyers, with an additional $23 million worth of sales in this sector so far this year to date. Genres such as Historical and Mythological Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy and the ‘fast reads’ and bingeable nature of graphic novels make for an easy escape at home'. 
From 1-12 November, we encourage Australians from all walks of life to join in or boost their reading habit. Unwind, get inspired or escape in a good book to celebrate Australian Reading Hour on Thursday 12 November 2020.  The premise is simple. It’s about picking up a book and reading for an hour anytime during the day. Read on your own or with the children in your life. This year we are hosting three free virtual events with our main event accessible via You Tube. For kids and teens at school we’re streaming in collaboration with the Sydney Opera House Digital Creative Learning Program. Invite your school, family, friends and work colleagues and sign up via the events page on the Australia Reads website. 
From Ambassadors Anna Feinberg and Beck Feiner sharing their love of reading in regional Broken Hill, to the Brisbane Broncos bedtime stories on Instagram, #AustraliaReads is the campaign that ignites the nation. Join the conversation. 
Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and The Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP said the Australian Government is pleased to support Australia Reads and the 2020 Australia Reads at Home campaigns - inspiring all Australians to share the joys of reading. 'Reading brings people together, whether in a book club or at children’s bed-time. It provides a window into what the most perceptive minds of previous generations have thought and felt.  Research from the Australia Council has shown that despite our busy lives reading remains a fundamental activity, with the majority of Australians reading for pleasure. I congratulate Australia Reads on their success in inspiring new and seasoned readers to pick up a book and discover the many joys reading can bring'. 
Adam Suckling CEO Copyright Agency says: 'We all know that reading is good for us in so many ways and it’s also fun. Australians have turned to reading during COVID-19 and many of us have re-discovered the sheer joy of immersing ourselves in a great story.  This year’s Australia Reads campaign features many exciting and great Australian storytellers. The Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund is very pleased to support the Australian book industry and libraries around the country to promote Australian books and writers to generations of readers.  We encourage everyone to pick up a book and to read and support our extremely talented Australian writers'. 
Louise Sherwin-Stark, Australia Reads Chair says: 'This year's campaign is bigger and better than ever before thanks to our ability to connect more inclusively through virtual events, great support from authors, and excellent partnerships to spread the good word on reading'. 
Books are also great for our wellbeing. Books can be an escape from the worries of everyday life.
Louise Mason, CEO Commercial Property, Stockland and Executive Sponsor of the Wellbeing Employee Group, shared 'Stockland is committed to support the wellbeing of our people and during the COVID-19 pandemic this has become even more of a focus. Reading has been proven to be a great way to reduce stress, switch off from work and learn something new. We will be encouraging all of our employees and their families to pick up a book on 12 November and reconnect with the joy of reading'. 
What have we been borrowing from libraries during lockdown? Civica, provider of the cloud-based Spydus library management system to schools, TAFEs and local government, has revealed some of the most popular print, audio and eBooks borrowed from public libraries during lockdown. Across these three formats, some of the more sought after works included Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty; The Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton; and Auschwitz by Heather Morris. The popularity of these books is reflected in the most recent Annual Report 2019-2020 from the Public Lending Right Committee which has these three books at number one, 15 and 23, respectively. Two of these authors Moriarty and Morton are Australian, and Morris is from New Zealand, which indicates a strong appetite for Australian and New Zealand authored works.  
Australia Reads have also partnered with TransLink In Queensland to giveaway 4000 books at King George Square Station on November 12. This is double the number of books than last year with a mix of special Australia Reads titles and brand-new titles from Australian publishers. TransLink Customer Liaison Officers will be on the ground encouraging Brisbane to read on their morning commute. 
Public Libraries SA Association also came up with the idea behind the widget which personalises the Australia Reads logo – so people can create their own Australia Reads art. It is already being shared all over Instagram. Try it here. 
As we head into a wonderful summer of reading don't forget to buy, order and pre-order from your local bookshop before the December rush hits. #ShopEarly and #ShopLocal for Christmas gifts and books for just for you. Or borrow a book from your local library. 
Editors Notes:  Key Dates Week commencing 1 November Special edition Kids Ambassador books are on sale now at the very accessible price of $2.99 each.                                                                                  
Australia Reads Main Event – Wednesday 11th November 12.30 PM AEDT Featuring: Judy Nunn, Peter Fitzsimons, Peter Helliar, Michael Robotham, Dervla McTiernan, Jimmy Barnes, Tanya Plibersek, Andy Griffiths, Nikki Gemmell, Anita Heiss, Virginia Trioli and more. Via a YouTube Live Premiere Event. 
Australia Reads Kids – Monday 9th November 10.30am AEDT Featuring: Ursula Dubosarsky, Andy Griffiths, Bluey, Sami Bayly, Anna Fienberg, Osher Gunsberg, Peter Helliar, Jacqueline Harvey, Beck Feiner and more. Via Sydney Opera House Digital Creative Learning.
Australia Reads Teens – Monday 9th November 12.30pm AEDT Featuring: Will Kostakis, Rawah Arja, Cath Moore, Amie Kaufman, Danielle Binks, Garth Nix, Alex Dyson, Lisa Fuller, and more. Via Sydney Opera House Digital Creative Learning.   
Thursday 12 November Australian Reading Hour: we invite you to stop what you’re doing for an hour and pick up a book. 
The project has been assisted by the Australian Government, through the Office for the Arts, and the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund. 
Media: Jackie Evans  E: [email protected] M: 0407 776 222 
Events: Nicole Salisbury  E: [email protected]  Tel: 02 9976 3044