Brisbane children’s authors have spat the dummy over proposed changes to copyright laws and are taking their protests to the streets after Easter.

The last straw for the writing community was a mass email sent out to “book lovers” by major franchise business Dymocks, urging people to sign a petition asking for current copyright protections to be removed.

The petition flies in the face of strong opposition by the Australian writing community to any changes to current copyright protections.

Queensland children’s author Sheryl Gwyther was incensed by the email’s promises of cheaper books, saying it peddles half-truths to an unsuspecting public. You can follow her contribution to the debate at S.O.S. – Australian authors in peril.

Sheryl is organising a protest in the heart of Brisbane at 10.30 am next Thursday 16 April.  It will include a stellar list of award-winning children’s authors including Michael Gerard Bauer, May Gibbs Childrens Literature Fellow Janeen Brian, and James Maloney.

If you are in Brisbane city next Thursday morning, go and support your local children’s authors in their protest.

The Productivity Commission has admitted that removing copyright protections can not guarantee cheaper books. It could however decimate our currently thriving Australian writing and publishing industry.

  1. The address for the VERY peaceful protest is Dymocks bookstore, Brisbane city, Cnr Queen and Edward Streets.

    It’s important for people to realise that many of the large, multi-national booksellers like Big W, Myers, Target, K-mart, Borders and others, like Dymocks, support the scrapping of the restrictions on Parallel Imports of books too. So it’s not just Dymocks, although they are the most out-spoken on this matter.

  2. eglantinescake says:

    And Melbournites should go and shower the love on Readings who are stoutly supporting the Oz Writing and publishing community.

  3. chrisbongers says:

    Good on you for organising, Sheryl. Without great Aussie authors there are no great Aussie books.

  4. Judith says:

    I’ve just responded to my Dymocks Booklover email by telling the GM I am now boycotting his store. I’ve also emailed my family to ask them not to buy me vouchers from Dymocks in future. Tomorrow I cut up my Booklovers card and send it to the GM. (I don’t shop there much anyway, preferring the independents, but sometimes it’s convenient. No more.)

  5. chrisbongers says:

    Now that is exactly the sort of direct action that might help the big retailers see sense. Go Judith and may others follow your lead!

  6. Lynne Green says:

    Time for everyone to write to their federal member and complain – and send copies to Kevin Rudd and Peter Garrett.

  7. chrisbongers says:

    Excellent suggestion Lynne. That’s a worthy job for today. I’m on it, and I hope others are too.

  8. Dee White says:

    Congratulations Sheryl and everyone for ‘going public’ about this. Today, I posted my letters to Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, Chris Bowen, Peter Garrett, Fran Bailey and Joanne Duncan. Am about to upload a copy of my letter to Kevin Rudd onto my blog:

    I attended the roundtable discussions in Melbourne on this issue on Tuesday, and from talking to publishers and printers, it’s likely that the price of books may go up, not down.

    The only thing likely to go down is jobs in the industry and opportunities for Australian authors and illustrators to have their work published – and the Australian content in books available to us. I have just finished my SECOND submission to the Productivity Commission and it’s up on my blog

    I’m happy to help anyone who wants assistance with doing a submission to either the Productivity Commission or a politician. Please feel free to email me on This issue is too important for us not to act. Your submission doesn’t need to be long – a page will do, it just needs to express your outrage.

    Sorry I can’t be in Queensland on Thursday, but I’m right behind you all:-)

  9. chrisbongers says:

    Thanks Dee, you are the bomb. Awesome submission to the Productivity Commission. Thanks for sharing.

  10. […] On Thursday, I wrote a post on why I wouldn’t be signing the petition that Dymocks urged its Booklovers subscribers to sign. I never imagined it would get as much attention as it did, so a big welcome to new readers and visitors. If you’re interested, children’s author Sheryl Gwyther is organising a protest against Dymocks on Thursday, April 16, at 10.30am at the Brisbane Dymocks store (cnr Queen and Edward Sts). Click here for details. (Via Christine Bongers) […]

  11. wendy agar says:

    hello there Christine. I was pleasantly surprised to see you in the Courier Mail a few months ago. I was at a girls lunch when the article was being discussed and when i had a look I was quite chuffed. Karen Foxley is my sisters best friend and I grew up next to you! I had no idea where you were now or that you were an author… fabulous! I look forward to getting a copy of Dust and seeing if I recognise any of the characters!!!
    Wendy Agar (Porter)

    • chrisbongers says:

      Lovely to hear from you, Wendy. I think you’ll find “Dust” is true to a time and a place that we both remember well. There are a couple of cameos I couldn’t resist, though it is fiction, so I hope you won’t recognize too many characters! And please, tell your sister that Karen Foxlee’s “The Anatomy of Wings” is one of my favourite books!

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