Saturday, January 31, 2009
Peter Carey warns of dire threat to Australian publishing
Alison Flood writing in guardian.co.uk, Thursday 29 January 2009
Peter Carey speaks of a 'battle for the sake of our readers and writers'. Photograph: Eamonn McCabe
It would be "cultural 'self-suicide'", says Peter Carey. A tragedy which would force many Australian authors to stop writing, adds Kate Grenville, while Thomas Keneally believes it would cause "irreparable harm". The Australian books world, from major authors such as Carey, Grenville and Keneally to publishers, booksellers and agents, is up in arms about a government review of Australia's copyright laws.
As the law currently stands, Australian publishers have a window of 30 days to bring out an Australian edition of a book once it has been released anywhere in the world. If they do so, then Australian bookshops have to sell the Australian version, and can't import the book from overseas. This can mean that books are more expensive - and harder to get hold of - in Australia than they are elsewhere, but also allows the country's local publishing to flourish, rather than forcing it to compete with a flood of cheaper-priced editions from overseas.
Read the full story here.