Untapped brings 200 long lost books back in time for Christmas 

Canberra, 18 November 2021: Untapped: the Australian Literary Heritage Project launches on 6 December, giving Australian readers renewed access to long lost books from some of the nation’s favourite writers.

Available to borrow from libraries and to purchase as ebooks from that date, the list offers more than 150 titles from literary giants and popular authors such as Thea Astley, Ivan Southall, Libby Gleeson, Isobelle Carmody and Jackie French. Partners in the project include the Australian Society of Authors, National State and Territory Libraries, the Australian Library and Information Association and Ligature Press.
Australian Society of Authors CEO Olivia Lanchester said, ‘This project supports Australian authors by covering the costs of digitising their older works, promoting them, and generating new licence fees. It’s a great initiative that will spotlight work from beloved Australian authors and provide new access to those works. Participating authors have commented that it is affirming and exciting to see those works back in circulation.’
Margaret Allen, CEO and State Librarian of WA, commented, ‘Libraries have always offered readers the long tail of works from much loved writers in addition to the best sellers and front list titles you will find in your local bookshop. When readers discover an author, they want to experience the full range of their writing not just their later works, and that’s where the depth of a library collection really comes into its own’.
Untapped has been made possible through the support of library platform providers Bolinda Borrowbox, IndyReads and Overdrive. Bolinda has generously agreed to waive its commission in support of the project and, as part of the State Library of NSW, IndyReads does not charge commission, ensuring that more funding provided by libraries goes directly through to authors.


Untapped is part of a University of Melbourne research project led by Rebecca Giblin, Associate Professor of Law, analysing the sales and loans of books which have fallen out of use commercially but retain a value with readers, and the value of reversion rights for authors. By leveraging the public library network to revive these titles, the researchers aim to understand the value of libraries’ book promotion role to the book industry in Australia and the relationship between library lending and sales.

Media contact:

Charles Hayne, State Library of Western Australia (please note WA time zone) [email protected]
Olivia Lanchester, ASA CEO [email protected] 
Margaret Allen, State Library of WA CEO and State Librarian (via Charles Hayne)