Maryborough faces an uphill battle in its fight to save printing jobs, as a group of the nation’s biggest retailers garner support for the removal of Australia’s book importation restrictions.
The Coalition for Cheaper Books — a group consisting of retail giants Dymocks, Woolworths, K-Mart, Target and Big W and headed by Dymocks’ chief, Don Grover — was formed earlier this year and aims to support the removal of Australia’s current book importation laws.
Together, the retail chains account for 40 percent of all book sales in Australia.
Earlier in the year, the coalition sent all members of Dymocks’ Booklovers Club an email link to sign its petition supporting the removal of the current restrictions — more than 18,000 people responded.
A post on the Coalition for Cheaper Books’ website by Mr Grover welcomed the Productivity Commission’s report, proclaiming, “those who want to maintain the protectionist status quo are writing to politicians and making
exaggerated claims in the media”.
The website also informs readers that by removing the current restrictions, Australians will have access to cheaper books.
This, however, may not be true, as research conducted by The Advertiser shows.
New Zealand is the only English speaking country in the world with an “open market” on book imports.
New Zealand’s book importation laws were lifted several years ago, in an effort to lower book prices.
However, when The Advertiser compared prices between one of Australia’s leading book retailers, Angus & Robertson, against New Zealand’s biggest book seller, Whitcoulls, the numbers were in Australia’s favour.
To order all seven of the Harry Potter titles, the biggest-selling series in literary history, online from Angus & Robertson would cost a total of $137.65 AUD.
To order the complete Harry Potter series online from Whitcoulls costs $195.65 NZD, or when converted into Australian dollars, $155.70.
The difference between the two is $18.05 AUD — proof that the removal of book importations may not lower book prices, and may instead open the door for major retailers, such as those who make up the Coalition for Cheaper Books, to increase their profits by charging more for titles imported from overseas.
The Coalition’s website also encourages visitors to e-mail the Attorney General Robert McClelland, Minister for Competition Policy, Craig Emerson, and Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd to voice their support for the removal of the restrictions.
The final decision on the matter by Federal Parliament is expected in early September.
The Maryborough District Advertiser is urging the community to get behind our local printing workers.
Maryborough has a long and proud printing history.
McPherson’s Printing Group is the largest industry and biggest employer in Maryborough.
It has invested $23 million at both its Nelson Street and Sutton Road plants over the past four years.
McPherson’s supports people from across the community from offering apprenticeships to kick-start careers to working with clients from Asteria Services.
McPherson’s has demonstrated that they are an invaluable corporate citizen to the town of Maryborough.
Only in June, at the 2009 Powercor Central Goldfields Business Awards McPherson’s took home the top prize of the night for business of the year.
This was on top of its victory in the Central Goldfields Shire’s Smart Water Management Award for its efforts to cut back on water usage, reducing water usage by 70 percent.
In this time of drought it demonstrates that McPherson’s leads by example in the community with its social conscience.
With about one quarter of the population engaged in employment in the printing industry it would be hard to find someone in the Central Goldfields that would not be affected by the loss of jobs as a result of scrapping the current parallel book importation laws.
In reality, abolishing the import restrictions on the book publishing and printing industry would affect everyone in the Central Goldfields Shire.
Estimates place the benefits of McPherson’s to the local economy, including wages, at $25 million, more than tripling the amount collected annually by Central Goldfields Shire in rates and charges.
The Maryborough District Advertiser is calling on readers to voice their support by filling out the coupons, which can be found on pages 10 and 14 of today’s Advertiser and returning them to The Advertiser.
The Advertiser also has a copy of the petition launched by Federal Member for Bendigo, Steve Gibbons last week available to sign.
To further assist readers Country Trends in High Street also has a copy of the petition and is a drop point for coupons.
Also, write your support of the retention of the current book laws to the Attorney-General at [email protected], the Minister for Competition Policy at [email protected] or email the Prime Minister from the websitewww.pm.gov.au.