Printing Industries opposes 30 day rule change

According to Printing Industries, the 30 day rule stipulates that local publishers must supply a book to the Australian market within 30 days of its publication overseas. If the book is not supplied within that timeframe, the local copyright holder forsakes their copyright privileges allowing booksellers to import the book directly from any overseas supplier for distribution within Australia.

According to the recently released meeting communiqué, the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) have agreed to a number of priority areas for competition reform including parallel importation of books with implementation plans to be considered in October 2008.

The Federal Government will request the Productivity Commission undertake reviews of Australia’s anti-dumping system and parallel import restrictions on books.

Andersen says Printing Industries would be working with the main stakeholders in the book printing industry to oppose any moves by the Federal Government to remove the 30 day rule. Other stakeholders such as the Australian Book Publishers Association have also been approached to help coordinate lobbying efforts.

He says, “The issue will also be raised with the Commonwealth Government both through the framework of the proposed Printing Industry Working Group as well as directly with the office of the Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs, Chris Bowen.

Andersen continues, “The minor parties who now hold the balance of power in the Senate will also be approached as well as the Opposition.”

According to Hagop Tchamkertenian, national manager for policy and government affairs for Printing Industries this was the third attempt by the Federal Government during the past 12 years to have the 30-day rule abolished.

Tchamkertenian says, “We are very interested in getting more industry feedback in a number of key areas to help us to reinforce the printing industry’s position on this important issue.”

These are:

  • What impact would the removal of the 30-day rule have on book printing operations (consideration should be given to potential loss of turnover, job losses etc)
  • Data on relative book prices in Australia and overseas based markets. For example book title sold in Australia and the UK or Australia and another comparable western economy
  • Any other data/information that can assist the lobbying and representation efforts.

Tchamkertenian says, “The last time the 30 day rule issue was examined was back in 2001 when Printing Industries analysis of both industry statistics and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) own statistics clearly demonstrated that the operation of the 30 day rule has been responsible for exerting a downward pressure on book prices in Australia.”

Tchamkertenian concluded that Printing Industries would be campaigning for the retention of the 30 day rule for the simple reason that it has benefited both Australian book readers and book printers.


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