Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Peter Carnavas, children's author/illustrator speaks out

Peter Carnavas is a popular name in the children's book world. Today, he speaks out in support of keeping the Restrictions against Parallel Importation of Books.

As a children's author/illustrator, I know the huge impact that my books and other Australian books have on children, inspiring them to develop a love of reading.


If PIRs are removed, so many Australians will lose out - authors, illustrators, publishers, independent booksellers, teachers, librarians, parents and, most of all, children. It is a move that will only disadvantage these stakeholders and weaken Australian culture.

I am just one of hundreds of Australian children's book creators that would be forced to reconsider the viability of making children's literature.

We already receive minimal earnings, dedicating ourselves to what we do through our passion for promoting literature and stories to children.

This decision would cripple our efforts to put wonderful stories into the hands of Australian kids.

Monday, 14 December 2015

What Nick said! Nick Earls, that is ... back in 2009

Author, Nick Earls spoke out eloquently against Parallel Imports six years ago. His words are as valid today as then....
Cheaper books - it's a great carrot to dangle, but are things really that simple? Australian author Nick Earls thinks not.

 First, are books in Australia more expensive than elsewhere? The Productivity Commission worked hard to prove that was the case, but couldn't. In the end they decided that measuring the magnitude of any actual price efforts related to territorial copyright was 'problematic' and in its recent draft report did not 'put a figure on them'. 
The entire argument from the Coalition for Big Business (sorry, Coalition for Cheaper Books, ie, Wesfarmers, Woolworths, Dymocks, etc) is that abandoning territorial copyright would make books cheaper, but no one has proven that it does.
If good data existed demonstrating a clear and sustained price benefit, it would need to be weighed against possible detriments. If there is no good data to demonstrate conclusively the benefit of change - as is currently the case - the change should simply not be made.
The fact is that some books are cheaper in Australia, some are more expensive and some cost around the same as elsewhere, and prices vary from book to book, time to time, retailer to retailer and with changes in the exchange rate. 
Either side in this argument can cherry pick individual books - and times with exchange rates that favour their case - and wave them in the air in order to make their point, but it doesn't prove a point about an entire industry. Beware of economic rationalists waving Tim Winton novels, and the comparisons they make.... 
To read the rest of this article, click ABC TV - The Drum July 16 2009 

Saturday, 12 December 2015

ANN JAMES, award-winning Australian children's illustrator speaks out

Ann James, award-winning Australian children's books illustrator speaks out against Parallel Importation of Books. 

I'm an author illustrator of children's books and have been working hard in this industry for over 30 years. 
Much of the work I do is related to promoting Australian children's books in our own market. We get far too little support or interest from the media, even though Australian children's books sell well and are indeed propping up the Australian publishing industry.
We earn very little as it is from our royalties, so many of us children's writers spend a lot of our time in schools, inspiring kids to love reading, writing, illustrating - encourage them in their own creative endeavours - and to earn a living. We are creative, resilient, innovative and energetically promote and support as well as create Australian culture. To pull the rug out from under us will eventually cause the whole industry to fall on its face.
I also have spent a great deal of effort promoting Australian children's books internationally through an exhibition of contemporary Australian book illustrations and books at the Bologna Book Fair for the past seven years. Our funding has come from Copyright Agency but due to enormous competition in the Arts due to disastrous funding cuts this year our presence at Bologna is very unlikely. 
Promoting our books into the overseas market is a main aim and promoting Australian culture alongside the books to give them context has proved successful in Bologna and also in Asia where we've taken exhibitions and run workshops with kids for over 10 years in South Korea and China. Slowly we've built strong trusting relationships. 
Though the books sold (I have 11 Korean titles now) earn me about 11cents per book - so it's more the cultural exercise that is rewarding. Nevertheless these books are beautifully produced in Korea and well designed, many in English as well as Korean. Thousands of quality Australian picture books have been published in English in Korea - encouraging kids there to love reading. 
(But) If these Korean books (and other editions published in English overseas) are sold back here in Australia they will ruin our Australian publications' chances, and my career. And my peers' careers.
WHY on EARTH would our government want to flatten us?
WE ARE creative, innovative, hard-working, collaborative, brave, and furious about this decision.


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