ABC blames readers

The ter­ri­ble thing about A&R’s bank­rupt­cy is that it’s a direct result of a fool­ish gov­ern­ment pol­i­cy (and maybe oth­er things, too; see the update below).

For­mer NSW pre­mier Bob Carr, a direc­tor at rival book­store chain Dymocks, said the gov­ern­ment was dri­ving retail­ers to the wall by fail­ing to open the whole­sale book mar­ket to com­pe­ti­tion.” Extract from Dark chap­ter for book­sellers | The Aus­tralian

Of course, ABC jour­nal­ists can’t see any­thing wrong with pro­tect­ing inter­na­tion­al pub­lish­ers locat­ed in Australia—Auntie is deeply com­mit­ted to cos­set­ing enter­tain­ment indus­tries with pub­lic money—so their sto­ries blame…guess who? The read­ers! “Inter­net spells the death of book­stores”, appar­ent­ly; abet­ted by evil dis­count stores such as KMart and BigW (well-known ene­mies of cul­ture).

Dymock’s CEO, Don Grover, does a great job of clar­i­fy­ing the real issues on a stand-up news piece on today’s ABC Mid­day Report; as he did when the Pro­duc­tiv­i­ty Com­mis­sion rec­om­men­da­tion was sent to the Gov­ern­ment.

Update: Crikey offers some more infor­ma­tion from a pub­lish­ing indus­try source about the A&R busi­ness:

Borders/A&R in its RED­group incar­na­tion was a very bad­ly-run busi­ness, for which the own­ers, PEP, are respon­si­ble. The man­agers were bovver boys who alien­at­ed all their inher­it­ed knowl­edge­able staff (who left), made appalling deci­sions about stock selec­tion and pre­sen­ta­tion, and tried to treat books like pota­toes.

I’m not sure there’s any­thing wrong with the gro­cery mod­el: the evil dis­count stores (above) seem to do pret­ty well with it.

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