Guest blogger: Angela Sunde (literacy support teacher, mother, reader)
The market control that Woolworths and Coles now hold over petrol pricing and groceries will soon be extended to include books. Together with Dymocks they have been lobbying for the lifting of the current restrictions on the parallel importation of books. They have pushed the ‘cheaper books’ slogan by calling themselves the Coalition for Cheaper Books and have managed to convince the Productivity Commission.
However, I and many others are not convinced.
By hiding behind this collective name, the ‘Coalition’ has duped Dymocks Booklover Loyalty members into signing a petition. I have seen this petition and it guaranteed the consumer cheaper books. But there is no guarantee of cheaper books. These retail giants are never obliged to pass on any savings to the consumer. What makes anyone believe they’ll do it now?
In fact they have a history of not doing so. In their submission to the Productivity Commission, Penguin Australia stated:
‘At the moment two of our biggest chains are selling many titles significantly above RRP’. Why are they getting away with this?
According to industry sources Kmart and Target (Coles Group) demand up to 70% discount on the RRP from the publisher. (By comparison the author receives less than 10% of the RRP.) Then the mega-retailers go and add a few dollars extra over the RRP. Do you really think they’re all about delivering cheaper books? I don’t think so.
A side effect from this will be all the small businesses that will go under: the independent booksellers, the smaller publishing houses, and their distributors. Sound familiar?
Of much greater concern will the loss of our ‘Australian Voice’ and the impact this will have on our children’s literacy.
Australian children need books that reflect their world, their culture and history.