She was first inspired in a creative writing masterclass when the tutor, Antoni Jach, said that if we all bought 30 Australian books a year, the local publishing industry would flourish. That thought stayed with her. And when a work colleague suggested she should do some videos, the two ideas came together, and 30Books was born.
The price of 30 Australian books a year, she says, is less than the price of a cup of coffee a day – which is much the same as the earnings many Australian authors receive for selling one copy of a book. To get an income of $12,000 in a year, roughly the same as the government’s Newstart allowance, an author has to sell between 3000 and 4000 copies of their book. But the average print run is often less than that, and authors can spend as long as 10 years writing a book.
It’s not part of Glorie’s plan to give bad reviews, but she will definitely let us know when she really loves a book. While there’s also a need for more critical reviews of Australian literature, I do like the idea of a sponsor-free video program that encourages us to buy more local product. It takes its place alongside some diverse attempts to promote Australian writing – for example, Indigenous writer Tara June Winch has undertaken to read books only by Indigenous writers in 2019 and is reviewing them in Griffith Review.
Glorie is a writer herself: she’s working on a novel that was recently longlisted for a British award, Comedy Women in Print. She understands that not everyone can afford to buy 30 books a year, and she’s doing her own economising – she’s cancelled her Netflix subscription and is bringing her lunches to work. But she’s disturbed that so many people earning good money expect to download their entertainment for free: “We should pay for our art.”
Her reviews will alternate with other book-related videos covering visits to libraries and independent bookshops and interviews with writers and book industry people. She welcomes feedback, particularly from readers who can recommend hidden gems that haven’t had the attention they deserve. So if you’re in love with an Australian book nobody else has heard of, Glorie might want to hear about it.