Here's the media release and here's the Report.
The Commission found that:
By removing the restrictions, local booksellers would have the option of accessing better value books from overseas. Local publishers would have a strong incentive to make their prices more competitive and to look for greater efficiencies in their operations, the report said.
Some books have important cultural value, but the Commission found that the support to Australian authors provided by the restrictions is poorly targeted. 'One of the Commission's concerns is that consumers pay higher prices for books, regardless of their cultural significance' the Commission's Deputy Chairman, Mike Woods, said. 'A second concern is that these costs to consumers generate greater benefits for overseas authors and publishers than they do for our local writers. In effect, Australian consumers are subsidising foreign book producers.'
Any of this sound familiar? Canada has its own very complex protective sui generis regime to prevent the normal rule of "exhaustion" and to exclude parallel imports of books where there is an "exclusive" Canadian distributor. This is found in s. 27.1 of the Copyright Act and the Book Importation Regulations. This regime affects the price, availablity and access to both new and used books by Canadians.
Clearly, since this regime was put in place more than a decade ago, a lot has changed - including the advent of easy cross border e-commerce for printed books. At times, especially under certain currency conditions, there has been much debate about whether Canadians pay too much for books.
Whether Canada's regime has accomplished its purpose and whether it works well now or should be adjusted or repealed are questions well worth pursuing by one or more of Industry Canada, Canadian Heritage and the Competition Bureau.
(HT to Jamie Love. Keep the tweets coming!)