Bunheang Ung's cartoon resizedOn Friday 16th October, bestselling author, Craig Silvey joined Greens Senator for Western Australia, Scott Ludlum at New Edition Bookshop.

This media event was to highlight opposition from former NSW Premier and current Dymock’s board member, Bob Carr’s plan to radically alter Australia’s publishing landscape through the lifting of the restrictions on the parallel import of books.

Silvey said, “Currently, Australian book retailers must buy books from local publishers and distributors, which means that the money stays within the local industry rather than disappearing to large companies overseas.”

“If this changes, local publishers will struggle to survive and they will be much less likely to take risks on new Australian talent. It will be much harder for new and young Australian writers to become established.”

Senator Ludlum said that after New Zealand lifted parallel importation restrictions in 1998, 12 % of publishers in that country registered a decline in business. “Not only will this reduce diversity amongst Australian authorship, we can also expect this to cause job losses in the domestic printing industry and less Australian books to be published,” Senator Ludlum said.

According to Senator Ludlum, “If Mr Rudd is truthful about wanting a thriving Australian arts industry, he will not support this proposal.”

Federal Cabinet is expected to consider the proposal this  Monday 19th October.


  1. What is the exact relationship between territorial copyright and parallel importation restrictions? Am I right in assuming that parallel importation restrictions are the primary way of enforcing territorial copyright?

    As a History of the Book scholar working on a national project on the halycon days of Australian publishing 1965-1995 the long view is very interesting. I’ve been working on Peter Carey’s short stories and the royalties generated through the University of Queensland Press. Territorial copyright was crucial to both Carey and the Press and the figures bear out much what Carey has to say in his submission. What doesn’t come out is what a huge slice of the market was taken by his rapacious British and American publishers! No wonder our presses struggle!

    • You are right Dr Deborah,

      No wonder small presses are struggling. Basically, if parallel importation restrictions are removed, then overseas publishers can bring in cheaper editions from overseas that will nullify or reduce royalties… rendering the author’s territorial copyright worthless too, because people will buy the cheaper editions even if they are inferior quality and have been edited to suit an overseas market.

  2. First I would like to thank Dee White for this fantastic website and all the other supporters that have helped all of us aspiring authors. I am one of those unpublished writers. I have two completed manuscripts just waiting for a publisher. My fingers and toes are crossed, hoping that Mr Rudd will come to our rescue. I would also like to thank Senator Scott Ludlum for supporting the cause.

    Come on, Mr Rudd, SAVE AUSSIE BOOKS.

    • Thanks, Trish.

      Hoping that the decision means that writers, publishers, agents, printers and booksellers will be able to go on with their lives after tomorrow knowing that the future of this wonderful industry of ours has been preserved.


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