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Plan To Ban Book Imports Will Hurt Libraries

"Community and University libraries will suffer under an impending Government announcement which will ban parallel importing of creative goods such as books and CDs," National's Katherine Rich said today.

The ban, expected to be announced soon, will force libraries to buy books through exclusive New Zealand agents who will have monopoly rights to certain titles, rather than dealing directly with overseas publishers as libraries do now.

"This means increases in book prices for our libraries, increases the delays in sourcing books from overseas and more importantly reduces the number of books that libraries can buy for their communities. Community library budgets are already under pressure. They don't need this extra squeeze.

"For academic and university libraries it's much worse. They need access to timely information. Delays from dealing with a local agent rather than the publisher directly mean they can be left behind in the research race. Good research needs current information

"The ban makes no sense because we have little or no local production of academic titles. New Zealand will never have a competitive market for specialist academic titles - we need to source them from overseas.

"This ban aims to eliminate the piracy of intellectual property and protect local content - neither of which are problems faced by the local book industry. New Zealand Libraries simply do not purchase pirated goods and neither would they want to.

"Virtually all books by New Zealanders are published by New Zealanders and sold through New Zealand publishers to New Zealand shops. Implementing a ban on overseas books will not make libraries buy more titles by New Zealand authors. It simply doesn't work that way.

"If a reader wants the latest Jeffrey Deaver thriller or a reprint of 'The Bell Jar' these titles will never be printed in New Zealand - we will always have to import them. This ban makes that all the more expensive for our libraries and avid readers," Katherine Rich said.

Ends

A printable formatted copy of this press release will be available on http://www.national.org.nz along with an archive of previous releases.


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