I am a staunch supporter of territorial copyright in Australia but I am totally against the 30/90 day rule.
The rule was devised in 1992. The internet and globalization of retailing has made it obsolete. It is anti-competitive and does not promote supply chain efficiency.
When I speak to publishers they say it is impossible for them to get the files they need to print locally or the stock from overseas to publish at the same time as the US or UK. Despite the obvious fact that they easily do this when the book is written by J.K. Rowling, Dan Brown or Stephenie Meyer.
THE PASSAGE by Justin Cronin is being touted as the biggest book of 2010 (and I agree). It is being published tomorrow (June 8th) in the United States and on Thursday (June 10th) in New Zealand. It won’t be published in Australia until July 1st.
The NZ edition is identical to the Australian edition and is being supplied by the same distributor. When I queried the different release dates I was told by the publisher it was because:
“New Zealand have a far more aggressive open market”
The money spent on marketing this title is also significantly higher in NZ with TV commercials and other marketing initiatives. Again due to
more competition in the NZ market.
Territorial copyright is an integral part of the Australian Book Industry. I would not want to see an open market in Australia. However the 30/90 day rule disrespects readers and hampers the ability of booksellers to provide books to their customers. It should be abolished (a zero/zero day rule) or with a shorter timeframe (a 7/7 day rule). This would have no impact on local content as it will always be published here first and if a publisher buys the territorial rights for an overseas publication it should be use it or lose it.
The Passage is being released in Australia on June 24