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The Forum > Article Comments > Writing off an industry > Comments

Writing off an industry : Comments

By Michael Heyward, published 31/3/2009

Changes to territorial copyright don't add up for our authors and publishers.

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All is not rosy in the publishing world, particularly in the area of educational publishing.

"-To bolster declining profits, publishers have turned on authors and used their market dominance to force them to sign over all copyright, write for a one-off, minimal fixed fee rather than royalties, and forgo their right to additional sources of income such as CAL payments and Lending Rights payments.

"-This means the ability for educational authors in Australia to make a living has been severely curtailed.

"-This is dire not only for the authors but also for the education of Australiaís youth.

http://www.asauthors.org/lib/pdf/zReports/ASA_Educational_Publishing_Report2008.pdf

There are now more and more imported textbooks coming into schools and universities, with the likelihood that there will be few textbooks written by Australian authors in future years. Very litle in a school or university is now produced in Australia, and when most textbooks are also imported there will be virtually nothing in the Australian education system that has any connection to Australia.
Posted by vanna, Tuesday, 31 March 2009 11:09:56 AM
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Wake up, all information is global now.
Unless the publishing industry wakes up and goes for digital distribution it will be killed off completely.
Can't any of these wallies see that if they don't go there Apple will just slide in and do what they did for digital music and video?
We need a Kindle type device soon by an Australian company. I've nothing against supporting the local industry but they must remain relevant.
The fact that kids are still lugging around overpriced and overweight textbooks is a disgrace. (my back still has issues from schoolbags)
BTW. Don't start screaming when Open Source texts become more relevant and accurate then the commercial, out-of-date paper version. I'm sure they will try legal tricks to block true competition and try to avoid the fact that most of the publishing industry is now irrelevant padding.
Posted by Ozandy, Wednesday, 1 April 2009 9:20:02 AM
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Ozandy

I work in education publishing and do know that the Australian edpub industry is definitely going down the online textbook road. Virtually all the edpubs in Australia are multi-nationals anyway, so these orders are coming down from international HQ.

vanna

I don't how know the proposed 1-year clause would affect Australian education authors, but I doubt if it will be any more profitable for them than the current system.

As a rule, education publishers take on a larger share of the development of a project than in other publishing fields. Education authors are mostly recruited from the teaching profession or retiree teachers, and are briefed, supported and stringently reviewed throughout the writing process. Mostly, they don't make a living from their writing. However, their publishing provides a reasonable part-time income as well as considerable career status.

Also, because of the small but regular print runs, the industry does not make big profits but rather steady gains from repeat business, especially in Australia where the demand is small, locally selective and driven by federal and state curriculum requirements.
Posted by SJF, Wednesday, 1 April 2009 10:55:20 AM
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SJF,
I donít think it will be too long before the international publishing companies begin using their own educational authors who will be permanently employed by that company. These authors will not be Australian authors, and when that occurs virtually everything in a school will be imported or developed in another country.

There is also evidence that schools are purposely overlooking Australian companies when purchasing items for the school in the belief that imported items are superior. Ask at your local Department for Trade, which is trying to encourage the export of Australian goods and services while the education system trys to import as much as possible.

2 conflicting forces and I wonder who will eventually win. For Australia's sake I hope it is the Department for Trade.
Posted by vanna, Thursday, 2 April 2009 10:35:50 AM
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