It was a letter virtually begging the PM to ignore the call for competition reforms aired at the COAG meeting the previous week. The reforms would see the Federal Government dropping copyright restrictions on imported books. To wit, books by Australian authors published overseas would go on sale here cheaper than the locally produced versions.
The Productivity Commission is formally looking at the issue, and former commission head Allan Fels has already come out in support of the move as a big win for the consumer. Local chain booksellers are also enthusiastic because online booksellers such as Amazon.com are already making cheaper imports available to Australians, undercutting local merchants.
However, the net result of opening the floodgates — as Earls and other Australian writers are arguing — is that the local book publishing industry will be destroyed.