I can’t say I regularly agree with Peter Donoughue, but this from his analysis of the recently announced Book Industry Strategy Group is pure gold:

“It (the Book Industry Strategy Group) will simply pool all the trade’s current obsessions and delusions which have been articulated to the point of exquisite tedium over the last awful year.”

And then:

“After a breathless appreciation of the government’s wisdom in retaining the parallel importation restrictions, the central recommendation will undoubtedly be to impose the GST on Amazon. Then to empower the Australia Council with more money for literature and ‘industry development’. Then all sorts of ‘facilitation’ stuff that bureaucrats love.”

Now, I’m all for a fantastic snout in the trough kind of government funded global junket — surely there will have to be overseas study trips to investigate global best practice, particularly a visit to the perhaps coincidentally named Book Industry Study Group in the United States? — but (t)his is what we in the retail biz would call WOFTAM.

All cynicism aside, the notion that an advisory group tasked to develop a response to the digital environment — an environment in which change is measured in weeks and months rather than years — will report to government after a 12-month study is preposterous by every conceivable measure.