Over the years I bought many books. Some I kept, many I passed on. In the last 15 to 20 years my book purchasing has fallen off to nearly nothing. Aside from the fact that I was at work or commuting for 11-12 hours a day and so had no time to read (and if I read before sleeping I would find myself asleep within ten minutes, and then part of that ten minutes every night spent reading the same few paragraphs to catch up to where I was the night before prior to flaking out), books have become an expensive luxury.
Now I am working closer to home for a while I have time to do a little reading. At the moment I'm reading Ayaan Hirsi Ali's "Infidel", finishing off Steyn's "America Alone", and half way through Ian Plimer's "Heaven+Earth". There are so many more books I'd like to read, but where to start! Another problem I have with reading now is that I can read a book and promptly forget the story (or large chunks of the story), my short-term memory is shot.
Back to the reason for this post... Books in Australia.
Cabinet is split on cheaper books as PM Kevin Rudd urged to keep ban.Late in 1991 I was in Hawaii. The two single great and good differences between Australia and Hawaii were Tower Records (CDs had just come on the market in Australia, vinyl had reduced from about $12-$21 per album to about $7, and CDs were being flogged off for almost $30 - please correct me if my amounts are wrong, my long term memory has holes, too!), and the couple of bookshops I saw in Honolulu. Tower Records were selling CD albums for $US11, at that stage the $A was about 81c/$US1. The bookshop had books from a huge variety, particularly biographical and true crime for about $US6 or so each. For me it was heaven!
AUSTRALIAN readers could continue to pay high prices for books, as the Rudd government faces increasing internal pressure to maintain restrictions on overseas book imports.
A special Labor Party working group will this week recommend the restrictions be kept, to protect local authors, publishers and printing workers.
The report says the government should reject an appeal by big retailers such as Dymocks and Woolworths that they be able to sell imported books more cheaply.
Federal cabinet is split on the issue, which it will consider within weeks when it receives a submission from Competition Minister Craig Emerson. He is understood to take the opposite view to the working party, backing instead a recent recommendation from the Productivity Commission that the import restrictions be removed.
So, publishers and authors in Australia insist that the industry should be protected as we are some kind of niche, and new authors wouldn't be given a run without our market.
Sounds to me like it could be hogwash.