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.