Apparently, Australian authors are against allowing parallel importing of books, specifically, their books. This is where, if an Australian author publishes their book overseas, then overseas publishers can sell that book back in Australia. They claim that their publishers here can’t earn enough if they face that competition (from themselves!).
[DDET Read more]
LINGERING in an American warehouse is a threat to Morris Gleitzman’s wellbeing. Books. His books. Books he has written that have been sold for publication in the substantial US market. The problem, as he concedes, is that he is not well known there and his books do not do as well as in Australia.
So the books in this particular warehouse are ones that have been remaindered — sold to a specialist bookseller by his American publisher at a substantially reduced rate to get them off its hands.
What worries Gleitzman is that a proposed change to the Copyright Act would allow the American dealer who bought his remaindered copies to dump them in the Australian market.
So let me guess this straight. Gleitzman does well in Australia but his publisher makes mistakes overseas. And remember that overseas publisher exists at the choice of Gleitzman and his Australian publisher. So apparently we need laws to protect Gleitzman’s royalties from himself?
The theme of lost profits in Australia is common. But let’s take the argument further. Suppose that I publish a book and it does well in Melbourne but not so well in Sydney. My publisher can support publishing the book so long as they can charge a price of $30 but they also publish in Sydney were the book can only fetch $15. What my publisher wants is the ability to prevent books coming across the NSW/Victoria border but the nasty government wont give them that “support.”
Well, they could (a) not sell in Sydney; (b) not discount wholesale to Sydney; (c) not ship as many books to Sydney; all of which would preserve Melbourne profits. But they don’t. Why? Because even facing some competition between cities, they do better. Seen in this light, publishers are gunning for more profits.
And we can see the effect. My book, Parentonomics, retails in Australia for around $30 ($27 if you find a cheaper bookstore). But around the world, you can get it for as low as $23.87. So Austalians are paying 15-20 percent more for books published by Australian authors (and others too). It might cost me but I would happily forgo royalties to see cheaper books across the line in Australia.