The battle of the petitions: responses to Productivity Commission closed on Friday
Look, I have a confession to make: I haven’t read the full draft of the Productivity Commission’s discussion draft on parallel importation restrictions. But over the last few weeks, there’s been a buzz on the blogs, on Twitter, and to a smaller extent in the mainstream press about what the draft recommendations would mean to authors, publishers, booksellers and consumers.
Dymocks’s strategy of emailing members of its Booklovers program came under fire (here’s why I didn’t sign it), but I think it worked. I’m planning to write about this some more (next week, I hope!) but, essentially, they framed the issue for consumers, who until now haven’t really been involved in the discussion. And if this opinion essay (The Australian) is any indication, Dymocks has done its job well. (Not to mention that The Australian’s editorial quality is on the decline. Because really—research much?)
On the opposing side, Australians for Australian Books has been using social networking tools such as Facebook and Twitter to encourage people to sign their petition opposing the draft recommendations. The message seems to be getting through via Twitter, but to be honest, I’m not sure the word is filtering through to ordinary readers.
The final report to the government is due on May 13. It’s going to be interesting to see how the report turns out and if the government takes up any of the recommendations. The battle’s not over yet, and I suspect we’ll be seeing more petitions and editorials in the coming weeks.
Romance in the news
- Check out the Nightline (US) segment on Harlequin selling well during the recession. (via Nicola Marsh)
- According to Book Trade News, Dymocks has put on hold plans to introduce digital book kiosks in New Zealand. The article is brief, but I’m guessing this means the Sydney venture hasn’t been as successful as Dymocks has anticipated. Frankly, their marketing sucked, so I’m not too surprised.
- Dear Author recently reviewed Her Cattleman’s Boss by Barbara Hannay —an Aussie romance by an Aussie author.
- On her blog, CL Wilson announced that the release date for Queen of Song and Souls won’t be out in June but maybe later this year. I hate waiting, but how can I begrudge an author for wanting to produce a better book? I hope Wilson’s muse is treating her well.
- Samhain Executive Editor Angela James revealed what’s selling well (or not) at Samhain. Paranormals are still selling well, but I’m surprised that straight erotica isn’t. Erotic romance with menages or more (except anything with f/f) is hot, but is it me or are many of them—in general, not Samhain in particular—straight out porn with a romance subplot? I mean, I don’t particularly care that they’re porn (and thank goodness we’re writing porn for women, too, now), but I think “erotic romance” as a label is meaningless to me as a reader.
Readings at the State Library of Victoria
Independent bookseller Readings recently announced that it has won the tender to run a bookshop at the State Library of Victoria. The bookstore will open on Friday, April 24.
Last weekend, Twitter exploded with news that Amazon has been deranking and removing from search broad categories of books they consider to be of an “adult” nature. Broad categories such as, oh, anything tagged as being GLBT. As a result, quite a few bloggers are withdrawing from the Amazon affiliate program, and many more remain dissatisfied at Amazon’s response so far.
We’re not removing the Amazon affiliate links from Book Thingo, but we’ve never really pushed those links either, so we’re not losing out on much either way. I personally don’t buy from Amazon since the shipping is ridiculous and, more importantly, I think they already have too much market power.
If you’re looking for alternatives to Amazon, check out our Bookstores page for a list of alternative local and online booksellers, some of whom will match Amazon prices or offer free/discounted shipping. Aussies are more spoiled for choiced than we sometimes realise.
- Win an ARC of Branded by Fire by Nalini Singh — Singh asks that the winner review the book before it releases. If you don’t have your own blog, we’d be happy to have you over at Book Thingo as a guest blogger!
- Win a trip with Mum to Cable Beach — Hachette is celebrating Mother’s Day by giving readers a chance to win a holiday with Mum. You have to buy a book with the competition sticker on it, and fill in the form on the Hachette website. (Via Booktopia)
And other random stuff…
The Swivet published a hilarious review by Max Leone of The Elegance of a Hedgehog. I think it’s witty and funny, but reading some of the comments takes me back to the early days of Dear Author and Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. A note on the review: Leone seems to have had genre/popular fiction expectations while reading a literary novel (per Stephanie Laurens’s speech here), so some of his criticisms about the prose are probably a little harsh.
Save the date
23/4 — World Book and Copyright Day
24/4 — Readings bookstore opens at the State Library of Victoria
8/5 — Richard Morgan at the Melbourne Science Fiction Club, 9pm
18-24/5 — Sydney Writers Festival
21/5 — Richard Morgan at Galaxy Bookshop, 5:30pm
22-31/5 — Emerging Writers’ Festival in Melbourne
23/5 — Richard Morgan at Gaslight Book, 3-4pm
27/5 — Richard Morgan at Pulp Fiction, 6.30pm
7-9/8 — Byron Bay Writers Festival
2-6/10 — National Young Writers’ Festival in Newcastle
Book Bizzo is a weekly omnibus of news items, events, and other interesting tidbits related to books, and especially the Australian romance book industry. You can find past Book Bizzo posts here.
Did we miss anything important? Got a book event coming up? Feel free to send tips, press releases, and any other interesting links to firstname.lastname@example.org.