[LINK] A call to arms - parallel book imports

Brendan Scott brendansweb at optusnet.com.au
Wed Jul 15 15:03:59 AEST 2009

David Lochrin wrote:
> On Wednesday 15 July 2009 11:40, Jan Whitaker wrote:
>> Someone else, a publisher, made the stupid statement that the 
>> exchange rate affected price of books! He implied that when the 
>> Aussie was higher that the price of books was less, or more 
>> equitable. yeah, right, as if shelf prices changed. That's just
>> crap. I'm sure the chain bookstores change their prices on that
>> basis ---- not.
> There was a discussion on the ABC RN "Book Show" this morning in
> which one participant pointed out that Dymocks, who are pushing this
> reform, are there to make a profit.  They price books according to
> what the market will bear and lowering the import price will not
> result in a substantial reduction of shelf price, it will simply
> result in bigger profits.

No, it *may* result in bigger profits during a transition period.  However, once there is a market to parallel import books (which I expect would spring up pretty quickly) the price will tend to come down (or people won't buy books from the more expensive Dymocks). 

What is the more likely effect (IMO) is that Dymocks will become more price competitive with eg Amazon.

> Unfortunately the Productivity Commission seem to be a bunch of
> simple-minded economic rationalists.
> I've previously heard a comment by one Australian author that his
> books sold in the US were "translated" for consumption there.  So for
> example, the word "footpath" became "sidewalk".  I strongly resent
> this cultural manipulation in the supposed interest of economic
> efficiency..

This is an enormous scare campaign on the part of publishers who are asking (literally) for the Government to require Australians to pay more than other countries for exactly the same product.  We're mugs for putting up with it for so long.

There is too much welfare mentality/copyright ideology in the Australian cultural industry.  It is in desperate need of change.   

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