[LINK] Australian Publishing

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Thu Apr 16 23:37:21 AEST 2009

Here's two sides to an important decision ..

Morris Gleitzman (Australian Author) writes:

As you're probably aware, the Productivity Commission is preparing to
report to the Federal Government, on the rules governing parallel
importation of books.

They've issued a draft report and are accepting further submissions
until 17 April, following which they'll make final recommendations in May.

The draft report proposes significant changes to the territorial
copyright that currently protects Australian authors. The implications
of this for our literary culture are grave. In particular, the draft
report recommends allowing the importation of overseas editions of
Australian books from 12 months after their publication in Australia.

This would include overseas remainders.

Those of us with OS editions and an in-print Australian backlist would be
seriously affected. Wholesalers and booksellers could bring in our
overseas remainders at rock-bottom prices and sell them at any price they
chose, very probably undercutting the capacity of our Australian
publishers to keep our backlists healthy. 

The more established of us would survive this, but authors earlier in
their careers, for whom every royalty dollar both local and OS is
critical, would very likely find the financial basis of their careers
destroyed. And the ability of Australian publishers to build the careers
of future generations of Australian authors would be crippled.

You may be aware that Dymocks is conducting a customer petition using
their huge Booklovers mailing list, running a simplistic campaign
supporting the proposals. 

They're touting the notion of cheaper books for all, but ignoring all the
uncertain and negative aspects.

The reason for this email is to ask you to make a submission to the
Productivity Commission in defence of territorial copyright. It needn't be
a long one, just a paragraph urging the Commission to reconsider the
proposals in their draft report. A simple letter would suffice to the
Commissioners Mike Woods and Louise Sylvan at

Fax: Jill Irvine - 02 6240 3311

Email: books at pc.gov.au

The Commission website ( http://www.pc.gov.au/projects/study/books ) has
all the information you need including a cover sheet for your submission
and copies of all existing submissions. For a chilling and stirring read, 
I particularly recommend Tim Winton's.


The Commission must receive your submission by 17 April. Not much time, I
know, but these few days are crucial if future generations of Australian
authors are to have the opportunities we had at the start of our careers. 

And, perhaps most crucial, if future generations of Australian kids are
to know what an Australian story is.

Please feel free to send this on to anybody you think might be able to
help the cause.


Morris Gleitzman

On the other hand is Dymocks etc .. here is a an email from them:

> Date: Thu, 16 Apr 2009 15:43:50 +1000
> From: booklover at dymocks.com.au
> Subject: Last chance to help us reduce the price of books
>  16 April 2009
> I would like to thank all the Dymocks Booklovers who have responded
> to my earlier email regarding the Productivity Commission enquiry into
> parallel importation of books. 
> To date in excess of ten thousands of our customers have responded! 
> If you have not yet had a chance to respond please take the opportunity
> to make your view known by responding to our electronic petition at:
> http://www.dymocks.com.au/petition/petition.aspx
> I will be presenting the results of the petition to the Productivity
> Commission on Friday 17 April to show that Australian people are
> overwhelmingly in favour of access to cheaper books.
> You may recall that the key issues are:
> Current laws stop Australian booksellers importing books other than
> through Australian subsidiaries or agents of overseas publishers. This
> restriction prevents books being imported from more competitive markets 
> where books are cheaper - for instance the United States or the UK.
> The removal of similar restrictions affecting the CD market in 1998 led
> to a dramatic fall in prices for CDs. This can happen for books as well.
> Dymocks is part of the Coalition for Cheaper Books and has made
> submissions to the Productivity Commission which, we believe, would
> reduce book prices for the public whilst at the same time protecting
> the copyright and income of authors and publishers. You can see
> Dymocks' submission by clicking the link to the Productivity Commission.
> The Productivity Commission has released a draft report which recommends
> that import restrictions should apply for 12 months from the date that a
> book becomes available in Australia. As most books are purchased within
> 12 months of publication it is our view that this recommendation will
> not result in cheaper books for the public.
> If you want to see cheaper books in Australia then I urge you to sign
> the electronic petition as soon as possible. If you have already signed
> the petition I thank you for your support and assure you that Dymocks
> will continue to do all it can to bring you cheaper books.
> Yours sincerely,Don Grover
> Chief Executive Officer and a Dymocks Booklover

Nb: There's also a petition at: http://www.ausbooks.com.au/index.php


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