Craig Emerson, the Minister for Small Business, Independent Contractors and the Service Economy; the Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs, and the Minister Assisting the Finance Minister on Deregulation, has just issued a press release stating that parallel importation regulations will not be changed. That's correct: NOT be changed. Which means Australian copyright still exists and Australian authors have the same fair shot at getting published that they had a couple of years ago (the industry has been understandably nervous the last year and a bit).
This is extraordinary news, and I can't begin to describe my relief. I've had more to do with this issue in the last few weeks than I thought I would, and from close up it wasn't looking too hopeful.
To the booksellers who will be disappointed, I can only say that Amazon has precisely the share of the Australian market that it should have - books are not cheaper from Amazon when you're paying to fly them here, and people seem to order from Amazon when there's a book they just can't get here, not when there's a book that's delayed by a month (because flying the book here takes almost as long unless you want to pay huge courier fees). I know all of this because I order books from Amazon and it is always books that I just can't get here, for whatever reason (usually because they're out of print).
To the large chains who think they're hard done by: count your discount blessings while you have them and stop to think that there is absolutely nothing to prevent publishers selling direct from their websites. The internet means that a book can be sourced from many different places - there is no reason that one of those places shouldn't be the publishing company, with its big warehouse and courier contracts.
Big thanks to all of you who wrote to your MPs, who wrote on your own blogs and generally provided support - a special shout-out to Theresa L.