Today, I feel like voicing my opinions and thoughts, and start a discussion with you all.
If you've been on Twitter, you may have seen some drama surrounding ARCs pop up on your feed. While I'm not here to talk specifically about that one issue, I am here to discuss my thoughts on ARCs in general, and how the book and blogger community should handle them.
Firstly, for those who don't know, ARCs are Advance Reader Copies, sent out to various reviewers well before a book is released. They are usually uncorrected proofs, with mistakes and maybe some elements missing (like illustrations, etc.). They allow books to receive early reviews to hype up the release.
I'm back with another bit of discussion, and one that is very important to Aussie readers, authors and publishers. This has been news for over a month now, so you may already be in the know, but it's important to continue talking about it and spreading the word.
The Australian Government is going to ruin the Australian Book Industry.
Changes in importation and copyright laws will destroy our publishing industry and our authors.
The current Turnbull Government has stated it's intention to remove the Parallel Importation Rules (PIRs), which is going to be detrimental to Australian publishers and authors. Currently, the PIRs ensure that is an Australian publisher that holds the rights to a book, gets to publish that title in Australia. Commercial quantities of books cannot be imported into Australia. Sure, we as readers can buy from Amazon and BookDepository, but at the end of the day, distributors must get permission from the Australian publisher in order to import the same book from overseas to sell in Australia.
Similar laws exist in the UK and US. These laws have allowed the Australia publishing industry to thrive and be viable, and allow Australia to produce some fantastic authors, and to ensure that these authors can actually afford to be authors.
By removing PIRs, titles can be imported and sold to Australian readers at an apparently cheaper price. Sure, this sounds great for a reader - cheaper books! But it's not good. Australian authors get reduced royalties and Australian publishers get nothing. Our publishing industry will fall just because the government wants to save readers a few cents or few dollars on a book. There is actually little evidence to suggest that the removal of PIRs will result in cheaper books. The strong Australian publishing industry we currently have will wither, and the number of books published here in Australia will be drastically reduced. Eventually, this could mean bye-bye to our publishing industry.
On top of that, the recent Intellectual Property Arrangements, instigated by the now sacked Joe Hockey, not only supports the removals of PIRs, but also proposes the reduction of an author's terms of copyright. This means that after just 15 years, the work is no longer theirs, they no longer make money off that work, and anyone can reproduce it as their own.
As an Australian reader, it frustrates and saddens me that our industry is under threat. We have phenomenal authors - Marcus Zusak, Amie Kaufman, Jackie French, Jay Kristoff, John Marsden, Tim Winton, Melina Marchetta, Judy Nunn, A.L. Tait, Garth Nix, Kate Grenville, Graeme Simsion, Kate Forsyth, Isobelle Carmody - who have not only told fantastic stories, but many have also told fantastic stories set here in Australia. I love reading those books set here. And don't get me started on the amazing non-fiction work out there, telling the Australian stories that have captivated the country, and even the world. We can't let these authors and stories disappear.
As someone who wants to write, and hopefully be published, it's worrisome that the already hard task of being accepted by a publisher will be even more unreachable to new authors. Why would a publisher, who has been diminished by these stupid laws want to take the risk of publishing a new author? They wouldn't. New Australian authors will have a harder time breaking into the publishing world. They may have amazing stories that are waiting to be consumed by readers everywhere, but our industry won't be able to give them that opportunity.
Our publishers will struggle. Our current authors will struggle. Our new authors will struggle. Our aspiring authors will give up.
And our readers will miss out on what Australia has to offer.
Don't let the government ruin our publishing industry.
What you can do:
If you've been paying attention on Twitter & Booktube, you may be aware of the drama that has been happening over the past few days.
In a recent video from Steve Donoghue, he stated that he believed some of the bigger Booktubers weren't "real readers." This was then followed by some comments that may or may not have been meant to be sexist, regarding those who make high-quality videos and that they probably didn't get lost in the books they read. This is only a loose explanation, and if you want to know more, I will link to some blog posts and videos at the end of this post.
I'm not here to call out Steve on his comments, because enough of that has been done already. I'm here to reinforce what we all know - we are all readers.
Do you read books?
Do you like books?
Do you like reading?
Do you buy books?
Do you borrow books from the library?
I hate to tell you this, but you are a reader
You only need one thing to be a reader - a book. That's the only thing that defines a reader.
Who of the following a readers?
Despite all the differences, every single of those people are readers - just because someone may read differently to you, doesn't mean they are not any less than you. Their opinions on books matter just as much as your's or anyone else's.
No one can tell you that you're not a real reader because you read and talk about books differently to them. No one has the right to make you feel any less or ashamed about how you read.
No one should call out and shame people for their reading habits and tastes, because we are all readers - there is nothing "real" or "not real" about it.
See You Soon
Links of interest:
Hi, I'm Victoria!
21 Years Old
Lover Of Books
You can read some of my work on my Tablo or Wattpad pages :)