The latest bulletin from the Australian Society of Authors exposes the Turnbull LNP Government’s renewed plan to allow the parallel importation of books into Australia. Lifting the restrictions will add many burdens to Australian authors and the publishing industry.
Many of us (on behalf of our whole industry not just for ourselves and the books we love) fought a hard-won battle to stop a previous government doing it. Those who are free-marketeers on both sides of politics promote it.
Yes, we all buy books online nowadays, but our biggest concern is how the lifting of restrictions will impact upon Australian children’s books.
We won this same battle in 2009, but not the war. Will YOU add your voice to the protests this time around? Will you sign the petition and write a concerned letter to your Federal MP? Or will you leave it to others?
The surest way anything positive happens is through People Power, and that means you, me and everyone in our industry who cares about Australian children’s books and young readers.
Lifting the Restrictions against Parallel Import threatens all those Australian publishers who took the risk of publishing the books in the first place and who invested in the development, editing and publication of the books.
There have been massive cutbacks to our industry - this will add so many more difficulties and restrictions. Less money means less books published, less new authors, less risks taken at all levels of authorhood.
The most insidious threat from Parallel Imports is how Australian children's `picture books and novels that have been Americanised would be allowed into this country and sold in competition with the Australian versions.
Some may say, so what? Anyone thinking that must be ignorant about how Australian children's books republished overseas are changed in so many ways.
Books written in our country give Australian children insights into our unique culture; those books speak our language, colloquialisms, our English-Australian spelling, even common words (like Mum instead of Mom; pavement instead of sidewalk; tap instead of faucet, and so many more), our Aussie humour that Australians 'get', but is mostly misunderstood overseas, and most sad of all are how the subtleties in picture books can be changed to suit the American market.
It's brilliant for an author to be republished in the States as so many more copies of books are printed. We can't influence those adaptations in another country nor would we want to, but we can stop how any remaindered copies that failed to sell in the US are dumped into the Australian market and sold cheaply in bookshops, 'masquerading' as the authentic versions.
A notice to all politicians of all flavours ... Children's books creators, industry workers, and those who love Australian children's books will not give in without a fight.
SAVING AUSSIE BOOKS ... remember the name