IPRIA & CMCL ran a seminar on the parallel importation of books yesterday. I’ve uploaded the videos to http://vimeo.com/album/127081. We thank the presenters for permission to podcast their views (Q&A with the audience is omitted). Joshua had earlier commented on the topic of parallel imports on this blog. My personal view is that as we move increasingly towards digital books and other online content, publishers and authors should be proactive in adapting. The real strategic challenge is not the parallel importation of books, nor is it the Amazon Kindle which includes export restrictions and can only be sold in the US. When faced with artificially high prices for books (as well as the total unavailability of particular books in the domestic market), customers will simply resort to downloading unlocked pdf versions of those books. It happened with music and movies in the past, and I suspect the same will happen with books as better quality readers emerge for reading digital content. I make no comment on the morality of such downloading, but want to simply point out that publishers should work toward providing affordable, legal alternatives. Authors need to worry less that their cultural impact will be affected. If push comes to shove, they may be better off selling books as iTunes podcasts, or through upcoming digital merchants like safaribooks. Or they could just write blogs instead.
IPRIA/CMCL Seminar Video: http://vimeo.com/album/127081
- Introduction by Beth Webster and Sam Ricketson
- Graeme Connelly, Director and CEO, Melbourne University Bookshop
- Allan Fels AO, Dean, The Australia and New Zealand School of Government
- Rhonda Smith, Copyright Law Reform Committee and High Court of New Zealand
- Arlen Duke, Lecturer, Melbourne Law School