I'm off to a workshop tomorrow at the Byron Bay Writers Festival. Like a good music folk festival it is one of the richest experiences you can have creatively in Australia. The writings, the readings and the discussions are all music for the soul and the intellect.
What a pity then that such festivals will be reduced in size and will potentially fizzle out as fewer and fewer Australian publishers are able to invest in homegrown talent and nurture their local authors. Should the parallel import restrictions (PIRs) on books be lifted, there is every likelihood that this may happen.
Australian editions of books like 'Harry Potter' (published here) provide Australian publishers with the financial rewards that enable them to continue to invest in Australian-authored books which may have a smaller print run. Without this help many Australian stories may not be told.
If PIRs are lifted the foreign editions of Australian books will be sold here side by side with the Australian edition. However, the Australian author will receive a reduced royalty and if the foreign book is a remaindered copy the author receives no royalty at all.
The Productivity Commission admits that the foreign edition may displace the opportunity for the author to 'sell' his Australian published book, thereby directly affecting his income further. Not only does he receive no royalty on the 'remaindered' copy, but he misses out on selling the local edition - a no win situation.
It hardly seems worth spending years writing a book, then re-writing and editing it for no reward.
So tomorrow I will be going to the Byron Bay Writers Festival armed with a petition.
You can download your copy from http://savingaussiebooks.wordpress.com
It will be my way of stopping this madness.