Tuesday, July 04, 2006

three cheers for ABC publishing

I've just been listening to Michael Duffy on Counnterpoint, query not the ABC failure to publish Jonestown but the right of ABC publishing to exist. His comment was a long the lines of how would you feel as a publisher competing with the ABC and all its resources. He mentioned his career as an erstwhile publisher to bolster his point. It's a great pity that Duffy & Snellgrove no longer actively publish. It was an excellent and inspirational list. Refreshing in the sameness of adult publishing in this country. But I don't think the might of the ABC really stacks up against the Pearson group (of which Penguin is a part) or the Bertelsmann group (of which Random House is a part). They have real resources and they're probably both out there using those resources to win the McMasters contract. But they would, as it was suggested in Crikey, never have initiated such a script because of the legal expense of vetting it but they are happy to come along behind and hoover it up. Rodney Hall suggested that what Australian writers need is more publishers. And as an independent Australia publisher I'm very happy to have ABC books around. It brings diversity and opportunity in a industry very much dominated by foriegn multinationals, and shifts the industry sensibility a little bit more in a local Australian direction. The character of the list of a publisher domiciled here is essentially different to that of one domiciled overseas. Yes its a pity that the ABC didn't stand up and publish the McMasters script but let's not reduce the diversity of the publishing industry even further by throwing them out with the bath water. Why are we prepared to accept taxpayers money going to support diversity in television and radio but not in book publishing? Book publishing is a tough mature industy and we can do with all the diversity we can get. Maybe Michael will go back to publishing more of those fabulous books from the new and interesting writers he was so good at discovering


Lee said...

I'm sorry, but I'm not quite following this. Can you supply a link with background information, please?

Ron said...

"but they are happy to come along behind and hoover it up"

I wonder if this is fair. Take away the publicity generated by the ABC's decision not to publish the book, and I would imagine the sales would not have covered any possible legal bills.

Is a book on Alan Jones really a commercial proposition? How many people outside Sydney have heard of him, and if they have, would they have enough interest to buy the book?

I couldn't name one radio broadcaster outside of Sydney. Whoops ... yes, I could, Derryn Hinch. I wouldn't buy a biography about him either.

Andrew's black dog blog said...

An interesting and thought-provoking point. I think Jones has quite a profile outside Sydney: the sport connection, the Howard connection, the whatever-for-comment connection. Enough to sell lots of books without the not-to-publish publicity? is something we'll now never get to know.

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