The Australian book industry employs 20,000 people including writers, editors, publishers, printers and booksellers. Australian writing is Australia’s greatest cultural and free trade success story generating $2B in revenue.

The Australian government has set an agenda to boost competition and encourage innovation by recommending changes to the way books are published.

Getting cheaper books sounds good … but at what cost to writers, culture and jobs? The unproven economic model suggested by the PC does not guarantee cheaper books.



Is the chance of getting 10% cheaper books worth it?

Australian books prices have fallen by a third in real terms in the last decade, and are now similar in price to comparable markets. Many popular titles are offered at a 35% discount by large retail chains.

Book prices may fall by only 10% with the recommended changes.

But the book industry – and the Australian narrative and literacy – is at risk if the government moves ahead with its plan to remove PIRs.

Australia would no longer be playing on a level playing field.

We would give away intellectual property rights without gaining any reciprocal rights with the world’s biggest book-creating nations – the USA and the UK – that maintain their own home market rights.

Holding Australian rights to publish a book is the basis on which publishers invest $120M per annum in our local economy by paying authors, hiring staff, printing and marketing books.

Investment in Australian books and Australian authors would become less attractive and more risky. We risk mirroring the New Zealand experience where diversity and range of books purchased has fallen by a third, and book prices are more expensive relative to Australia.

The Australian book publishing industry is deeply concerned there has been no proper analysis of the impact of removing PIRs. The New Zealand publishing industry experience is being ignored.

AT RISK

  • 4,000 jobs in book publishing industry
  • 1,000 businesses engaged in the Australian book publishing industry.
  • $12,900 average author income from writing

Do we want to test an economic model to get 10% off books that is unproven and risks jobs and investment in our local economy?

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