A letter to politicians: Saving Aussie Books

My letter to Federal government ministers on the lifting of Parallel Importation Restrictions
As a citizen of Australia I wish to lodge my protest to the scrapping of the Parallel Importation Restrictions on books produced in Australia.  At a time when we are asked to buy Home Grown products for varied reasons of economic to environmental importance, I am unsure why government would feel the need to add more pressure to our publishing industry at this time.  Books are Australia’s most accessible artistic and therefore cultural product.  They are recognised in International Awards for their quality.  Why then does the government feel the need to force authors out of the business of writing books?

“I mean if you look in 2007/2008, the recommended retail price of books in the US on average is 35 per cent cheaper than in Australia and 18 per cent cheaper in the UK.”

 Both of these countries also have the Parallel Importation Restrictions in place so there must be more than this law making books expensive.  I suggest the price of books has more to to with Australia naturally being smaller market (21 million in Australia, 60 million in the UK and 306 million in the US)  as opposed to what law in in place.  As you can see there is a direct relationship by how many people there are to buy book and the price difference.  Taking away our authors rights to make a living will not change that fact.

I also oppose the “compensating” authors with grants for losses sustained by withdrawing the restrictions.  Author want to work, they do not want to be receiving government payments as if they were unemployed.  They just want to be fairly paid for the work they do which is the right of all Australians. Better to allow an industry to sustain itself in this sheltered way than by constantly propping up an ailling system with tax payers money. 

D.M. Cornish‘s Monster Blood Tattoo series written and published in Australia are a beautifully bound and illustrated set of books which only add to the reading experience. The equilviant US copy is a paperback issue with no illustrations and none of the wonderful production quality. If the restrictions are lifted is this the quality of books we will be forced to buy even if they are available?  D.M. Cornish himself is doubtful that his award winning series would have even been picked up for publication if these restrictions had not been in place.


I wish to ask what the government thinks the primary benefit would be of getting rid of these restrictions?  I’ve heard a lot about cheeper books for the Australian people, but as Australia is relatively isolated from other English publishing countries, where all these cheep books will be coming from, the cost of transporting them would be added to the price of the book and so the reading public would be very unlikely to receive any amount of discount  little lone the 35% difference quoted by Mr Woods.  If government is truly interested in providing cheep books may I suggest removing the GST on such items.
I ask, in your sphere of influence, please support the push to keep parallel importation restrictions for the sake our our publishing industries, our arts and culture.

3 responses »

  1. Pingback: Postscript: Saving Aussie Books « Blug…

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