Home » Bookstores, Non-US, Pricing » Local book industry concerned at proposed shake-up

Local book industry concerned at proposed shake-up

30 September 2014

From Dynamic Business:

One of the more controversial proposals in the recent draft review of competition policy was its recommendation to lift parallel import restrictions on books, with the review warning this amounted to an implicit tax on Australian consumers.

The restriction prohibits the importation into Australia of a product by anyone other than the licensed Australian manufacturer or distributor, cutting off an important alternative source of supply.

Removing the restriction would see more books on offer for cheaper prices. The draft review, led by Professor Ian Harper, warned the continuance of parallel import restrictions would be similar to having a tariff in place because local industry remains shielded from international competition.

Australian consumers are also increasingly able to circumvent the restriction anyway. They can buy e-books or simply go online and have books shipped overseas from warehouses directly to their front door.

. . . .

He said the restrictions placed onerous limitations on the ability of bookstore owners to import products requested by customers. He said the restrictions also meant that the price of books was higher, forcing everyday Australians to pay more for their books.

“You could come into a bookshop, hold a book up and show it to them and say ‘I’d like a copy of this’. I would say, ‘I don’t have it. I’m not allowed to have it’,” Mr Strong said. “I don’t think the publishers understand it. I think they are just panicking. Embracing change helps business.”

“Lifting import restrictions is obviously better because you have access to more books and access to cheaper books.”

Link to the rest at Dynamic Business and thanks to Hugh for the tip.

Bookstores, Non-US, Pricing

5 Comments to “Local book industry concerned at proposed shake-up”

  1. “I don’t think the publishers understand it. I think they are just panicking. Embracing change helps business.”

    Pretty much the perfect description of all trad-pub thinking and behavior in the 21st century. We could just cut-and-paste this in response to every article published about the Big 5 this year.

  2. You mean publishers in Australia are fighting for less selection and higher prices, but retailers are fighting on behalf of readers?

    I wonder if publishers down under will be able to rally 900 or so authors to argue against the best interests of their fans.

    • You mean publishers in Australia are fighting for less selection and higher prices, but retailers are fighting on behalf of readers?

      So Australia is Upside Down World in a good way? Yay for them. I hope the retailers (and readers) win.

  3. Holy crud but the current rules are restrictive.

  4. Welcome to Australia! 🙂

    /start of rant
    Tariffs on everything, or almost everything! 🙂 Or else, the overseas companies just increase the price for Aussies (compared to everywhere else), which we unofficially call an “Australian Tax”.

    Higher prices on Ikea, Apple, Microsoft, flight bookings, Clothing brands, everything bought in from the rest of the world on tech, white goods, cars, books, etc.
    /end of rant 🙂

    One politician bought an eReader while overseas on work/pleasure trip, and when he got home discovered he could not download the books he wanted to read because of IP address showing he was in Australia. Was not happy!

    I laughed when I heard about it. I am hoping he gets a private bill through parliament to remove the restrictions. 🙂

    Since then, had a commission look into why higher prices here compared to rest of world.

    Apple had to respond. Basically they said Australia could afford the higher charges, in software, hardware, iTunes, etc. Ikea said the same thing when ordered to respond. So did others.

    I don’t think anything has happened since then, other than publishing a workaround for hiding our IP address when ordering online.

    All fun and games.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.