The Book Industry Strategy Group (BISG) report into the Australian book industry has been released by the Hon Kim Carr (Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research)

The BISG was asked to report on issues such as:

  • the emerging digital market for books;
  • the relationship of that market to the print book market;
  • supply chains;
  • options for encouraging efficiencies;
  • changing business models; and
  • how the Commonwealth can support the industry in the digital environment.

The report contains a solid and interesting analysis of the current state of affairs in Australia in relation to books, including commentary on how authors, publishers, booksellers, educational institutions and libraries fit within the Australian book ecology

Key recommendations in the report include:

  • the removal or modification of GST in relation to books (as this is putting the Australian book industry at a competitive disadvantage);
  • funding to support a national network of university presses;
  • funding to further develop TitlePage to increase distribution efficiencies;
  • negotiations for better postal rates (again, Australia is at an international disadvantage when it comes to postal charges);
  • support for a voluntary framework to allow booksellers to parallel import within shorter time-frames than set out in the Copyright Act (so, for example, they would be able to import at any time if a title were not published in Australia within 14 days of overseas publication or, on a case-by-case basis, if a copy couldn't be supplied by the relevant rights holder within 14 days of request);
  • that the industry aim for a 48 hour turn-around in fulfilling reseller orders; and
  • extra funding to support Australian writing and publishing (both cultural and educational).

The BISG also recommended that Australian publishers should work to clarify the business model for the use of ebooks in libraries and that the Government, following this, should establish a framework and guidelines for how ebooks should become part of the ELR and PLR schemes. In addition, the BISG recommended that the Government "actively monitor" how the statutory licence for educational institutions is operating, and that the Government should work with both the book and internet industries to develop industry codes relating to infringement of copyright by customers of internet service providers

To download the report, go to: If you have any questions on how the report's recommendations (if implemented) might affect you, contact Adam Simpson (copyright lawyer) or Ian McDonald (Special Counsel, Copyright) at Simpsons Solicitors.