It weaves its melody through my brain and never was there a better time to remember the words of Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi.
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
Till it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot.
Not that I’m saying book publishing in Australia is paradise – there are probably grey areas of inefficiency in every area of the industry to improve, just like in most businesses or professions.
But nothing gets away from the fact that this push to abolish the Restrictions against Parallel Importation of Books is not designed to improve the publishing industry so that Australian authors can get just-working rights and fair payment for the many hours it takes to bring a story to publishing standard; or to ensure brilliant Australian books continue to flourish under the guidance and support of the editors and publishers who back them. Could one be cynical and suggest it is solely to increase the profits of big retail corporations and a minor one? I’ll leave that one for Australians to figure out.
But when I hear people (like ex-NSW Premier and board-member of Dymocks Books, Bob Carr; Don Grover, head honcho at Dymocks and Allan Fels, a disciple of the ‘free-market’) pushing their tripe onto concerned Australian booklovers that there won’t be any negative affects if the Restrictions are lifted, Joni’s song grooves its way into my head and I find myself singing along – just like I did all those years ago.
Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till its gone……
Sheryl Gwyther (who remembers and appreciates the genius of Joni Mitchell)