If you’re reading this, you’re likely to be a beginner, emerging, or mid-career author. You may have won a competition, or published short stories and articles (and bought a lovely party frock to wear to writer’s events with the proceeds, as one wonderful QWC member did!). You may be writing purely for the love of it. Then again, as John Burmingham says, ‘Writing for love is nice, but getting paid is even sweeter.’ Like me, you may be harbouring hopes that one day, somewhere, someone will actually read your efforts.
And that brings us again to the topic of copyright restrictions on the parallel importation of books. I know, I know, I do go on about it. Do you know why? It’s not just because I’m a closet policy-wonk. It’s because I care about the Australian writing and publishing industry.
As an avid reader, I want to be able to read books written by people in my own country, my home town, my suburb. I want to read about colours and organisers and bums – not colors and organizers and butts!
As an emerging writer, I want to live in a country where there is a diverse and lively literary scene, with publishers and agents and booksellers and festivals and competitions galore. And that takes moolah. I’m not talking evil, materialistic cold cash, I’m talking about the sweet, sweet smell of success, whereby worthy folk sustain themselves in practising their craft. Is it just me, or is it really blindingly obvious that opening up the local market to books off-loaded by foreign publishing houses will reduce the income of Australian publishers, while providing no clear advantage to Australian readers, and starving Australian authors? Sheesh!
So, are you now as incensed as I am about the issue? Time to channel your energy into action! Read this article by Henry Rosenbloom, founder and publisher of Scribe Publications. It’s the best explanation and debunking of the issue around. Share it with your friends. Here’s a taste:
All of these consequences would follow from the imposition of Bob Carr’s simplistic solution in search of a problem. Dymocks, the company on whose board he sits, would be free to import whatever titles it wanted to, whenever it wanted to. Everybody else would be free to wander a blasted heath.
And then, at the very least, click here and tell the Australian Productivity Commission what you need as an Australian writer and reader. ‘What’s the deadline on that again?’ I hear you ask. Roll up, roll up, folks, it’s the 20 January 2009. So get cracking while you’re popping your Christmas crackers, register your interest online, and make your intial submission.
Agree, disagree, anything to add ? Leave your comments, and Speakeasy on parallel importation!