AWMonline: Booksellers without Borders     What does the faltering of Borders mean for Australian booksellers and the local literary communities that flourish around them? Frightening figures for those who can decode them.

Bear in mind that the Productivity Commission’s initial study into changes to the copyright restrictions on the parallel importation of books into Australia closes for submissions next Tuesday. If copyright restrictions in Australia were lifted so that booksellers could import foreign imprints upon first release, without providing for a period of grace for Australian publishers to pick up the rights to publishing an Australian version, it would likely impact on publishers and writers by limiting their incomes. (Maybe publishers should try to save some money by sending out fewer Advance Reading Copies).

Unfortunately, this looming parallel importation issue potentially creates tension between longstanding allies, independent booksellers and writers. In a time when even the mighty Borders is under pressure (owned in Australia by Pacific Equity Partners, which also own Angus & Robertson, and Whitcoulls in NZ), independent booksellers may feel further impetus to support changes to copyright restrictions on parallel importation of books.

What we need is a lively debate between representatives of the various parties concerned. Hey, that sounds like a job for the AWMonline forum…

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