The Government should repeal Australia’s Parallel Import Restrictions (PIRs)
for books. The repeal should take effect three years after the date that it is
The Government should, as soon as possible, review the current subsidies aimed
at encouraging Australian writing and publishing, with a view to better targeting
of cultural externalities. Any revised arrangements should be put in place before
the repeal of the PIRs takes effect.
What's a cultural externality, I hear you ask? Well. Let's see.
The consumption of culturally valuable books, and the ideas they contain, can help diffuse social norms. Where more people come to understand the unwritten rules of a society, their actions become more predictable or ‘trustable’ to others, facilitating social and economic exchanges... More generally, the reading of books of cultural value may help individuals to feel more connected to, and to be more productive within, particular social groups or the wider society, to the benefit of all.
...the ideas embodied in some books have had far reaching impacts. Most obviously, the core ideas that were embodied in books such as The New Testament, The Wealth of Nations, Mein Kampf and The Female Eunuch have had major impacts on how societies operate.
...another way that Australian books could generate external benefits is if they make Australia a more ‘marketable’ identity to the eyes of foreigners.
So basically, the only books that should be supported in Australia are a) "culturally valuable" books that make us better people (in a creepy Orwellian-sounding way) and b) books that Americans will want to read.
Here's a couple of other choice excerpts:
It should be noted that while books are an important source of such educational benefits, they can also arise, for example, from (educational) television programming and, increasingly, from the internet.
In the Commission’s view, linking the amount of support to sales will generally be desirable.
To summarise: FAIL.
(you can read the full report here)