Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Impact Of Laws On The Publishing Industry

The Bibliophile Stalker shares his essay, The Impact Of Laws On The Publishing Industry, with us. An excerpt:

When talking about the publishing industry, it's also important to bear in mind that it's not a free market. There are other factors--some transparent and predictable, others not so--that come into play which could be either beneficial or detrimental. One good example is Venezuela where a policy implemented by government a year ago might spell the end of import books in a few month's time. One would expect that it'll take years before citizens would feel the effects of such a ruling but that's not the case. Publishers, distributors, and retailers are scrambling to stay in business and honestly, defeat appears inevitable unless the laws themselves are reversed.

The Philippines faced a similar situation a few months ago, although perhaps not as catastrophic as Venezuela's situation. The Department of Finance decided to tax import books, and those who failed to comply were swallowed by red tape and storage fees. To the common Filipino, this was a cold war between distributors/retailers and the government. Thankfully, through action by various organizations and individuals (government officials, Unesco, the National Book Development Board, writers, bloggers, etc.), the policy was suspended. Unfortunately, I don't think the public realizes how close we came to losing that battle, or the impact it has on their lives. When it was brought to the attention of the media for example, more than a few were okay with the idea of taxing import books.

The latest plot by the Department of Finance is to tax individual citizens whenever they claim books from the post-office. What used to be an arbitrary, illegal implementation (technically, they shouldn't be charging citizens although some do end up paying while others not) has now become a codified and systematic policy. Unfortunately, unlike the previous scenario, there is no buzz in the media, and while we have defenders striving to combat this injustice, there's simply not much awareness on the issue by the public.

Click here to read the entire essay.

I strongly suggest that you regularly visit The Bibliophile Stalker's blog. His links alone are worth the click, and are bound to keep you updated and informed.


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