The Australian publishing industry hits the international headlines, but not in the way we’d hope. At Speakeasy, we despair to see the threat of copyright ‘reform’ baying at the windows of our healthy and diverse booksellers industry, while the Productivity Commission seems set on unlatching the door.
Thank Gawd for the take-no-prisoners eloquence of Richard Flanagan, naming names in his article Losing Our Voice:
The big end of town – Dymocks Booksellers in cahoots with Coles-Woolworths – are pushing for a change that will see jobs lost, a remarkable industry crippled and Australian cultural life dealt a body blow …
… While the Coalition’s proposal is opposed by everyone from Matthew Reilly to Tim Flannery to Tim Winton, from the Australian Booksellers Association to the Australian Publishers Association to the Children’s Book Council of Australia, the only people the Coalition can wheel out in its defence, to plead its supposedly egalitarian case, are those horny handed sons of the proletariat, Alan Fels and, yes, Macquarie Banker Bob Carr, peddling the fiction of privileged writers and grasping publishers opposing cheaper books for the masses …
… And if his Government sanctions this proposal it will fall to Kevin Rudd to explain not just to Australia, but to the world, what sort of nation he wishes to lead that would seek to destroy rather than support and develop its writing?
For what nation can advance with its tongue torn out?
Galleycat features inspirational footage of Six Apart’s Anil Dash (of Typepad Journalist Bailout Scheme fame). He advises publishers to concern themselves less with what the rest of the industry is doing, and more with honouring the value of their own content.
FishBowlNY covers the Mediabistrio Circus conference on the intersection between media and technology. Looking at what’s next for digital publishing, Dash and Eileen Gittens (founder of self-publisher Blurb) agree, bloggers benefit from producing ‘evergreen’ online content with enduring relevance.
With this in mind, I offer you a quote from Flaubert: "What a bitch of a thing prose is!"
The Q150 Writers train is en route from Townsville to Mount Isa. Authors on board Matthew Condon, Belinda Jeffrey, and Gregory Rogers will be posting updates and musings at ABC Pool – head over to see the latest, and jump into the gene pool to mash their stuff and post your own. Let Speakeasy know if you do, and we’ll post the link.
This week’s forum with Agent Sydney is bubbling along, offering industry insight fresh from an Australian literary agent on a range of issues. Drop by to post your questions before the forum ends this Friday afternoon.
Guest Writing Racer quote for the week: "It’s halfway and I’ve only written 180 words! I have however, according to the Word Count Button, written 721 characters (with spaces). And some of those spaces just lept off the page!" The word total was so blinding, my hump-day brain can’t do the maths, so stay tuned for updates. Upcoming racer guests include John Birmingham, Leigh Redhead, and Allison Rushby. Something for everyone!