Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The verdict: parallel importation of books

The verdict is in on the Australian Productivity Commission’s study into copyright restrictions on the parallel importation of books – and plenty of Australia authors are furious.

Blogs and Tweets are appearing on the topic at a rapid rate, with writers and literary organisations expressing their anger and frustration at the Commission’s recommendation to scrap import laws and allow international version of Australian books to be sold locally.

I attempted to summarise both sides of the argument back in January. In a nutshell: those in favour of the change (booksellers and many book buyers) believe it will mean cheaper books; those against say it will be the death of the Australian publishing industry, minimising local content in Australian novels and reducing incomes for local authors.

The Commission released its final report on 15 July, proposing the abolition of import restrictions after three years. You can read the key points of the findings here.

Here are some useful links for those wanting to better understand the issue:

- Kim Wilkins' colourfully-worded and wonderfully articulated writer’s perspective

- A different perspective from literary/cultural mag Overland

- Today’s article in The Australian (plus links to related articles)

- The Commission research report in its entirety

These changes are still only recommendations. The report still needs to be considered by Federal Parliament. If you want to support the fight against changes to import restrictions, Ozlit offers some options. some options.

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