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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