News

Government set to curb foreign authors

Bookshops are facing quotas on the number of foreign authors they can stock as the government plans to launch a "British Books for British Readers" campaign.

The Bookseller has learned Prime Minister David Cameron is set to give a speech today [1st April] outlining his latest iteration of the "Big Society". A DCMS spokesman said: "The publishing industry needs protecting from the Browns, Larssons and Meyers of this world. We think British literature should be celebrated, not swamped. Crime novels set in gloomy Scandinavian forests have an unfair advantage over our cosy domestic settings, so we have to level the playing field to protect this vital domestic industry."

Under the plans, bookshops will only be able to hold 10% of stock from overseas authors. Using rules originally framed for international football, authors with British grandparents could qualify as British. The government is also examining the special case of Irish writers. While Northern Irish writers could controversially be classed as British, Irish authors such as James Joyce and Cecelia Ahern would fall foul of the proposed rules.

Authors such as Kipling and Orwell, both born in India to British parents, or J G Ballard, born in China, would remain eligible. The status of British authors who move overseas or adopt "foreign" writing styles, like Lee Child, remains a grey area.

Foreign publishers reacted quickly to the news. "We don’t have to take any more Alexander McCall Smith or Jeffrey Archer you know," said Danish editor Uwe Binhad of Loof Lirpa Associates.

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Big Society my .... ! Cameron should stop meddling in these affairs. This is bad news for us all if the government starts dictating what the British public can or can't read.

this must be a april fools joke, right??

what does "orgiinally" mean?

I agree with this. I hope that Scottish writers will be included on the banned list, too. And old people. At last the Government is getting a grip on things.

The clue lies in the name of Look Lirpa Associates - an anagram of April Fool!

Phew...just noticed the date. It's April 1st....hahaha...that's funny. Mind you it's sooo ridiculous it's just the thing that 'Call me Dave' or the Publishing Industry would actually think up. I think i've still got my 'bookoholic' mouse mat around here someplace.

Uwe Binhad of Loof Lirpa --- really now.

The joke is that 10% would be a huge improvement on the current 1-3% of translated literature published in the UK!

And poor people! What's the point in shutting all the libraries if the oiks can still get published?

What about RP in bookstores? Are oven gloves and beauty masks classed as British or not? Does it come down to country of manufacture? And what about adventure breaks? If i'm on a hot air ballooning day (purchased from my local bookstore), how high do I need to go before I can legally read a Gabriel Garcia Marquez?

April Fools Day indeed. Anyhow who needs Cervantes, Marquez, Proust and all that lot.

The Bat says: What no Proust...what will I read on the loo?

David Cameron would do better to re-instate the Net Book Agreement, which would restore the viability of print books and author's royalties and incomes. The abolishment of the NGA is the root cause that has brought the print/publishing world to its current unsustainable state, where only mass market sellers can survive, thereby reducing choice and range for consumers. They still have NGAs in European countries which is why we have better royalties from foreign rights sales. There is also the question of protectionism - if we impose embargos on foreign authors then those countries will impose embargos on UK authors foreign rights deals, which will erode their incomes. The whole thing could backfire horribly on authors and publishers. Cameron should stop meddling in things he doesn't understand and try and support the arts industries properly. But of course he is making all these cuts anyway....so fat chance.

David Cameron would do better to re-instate the Net Book Agreement, which would restore the viability of print books and author's royalties and incomes. The abolishment of the NGA is the root cause that has brought the print/publishing world to its current unsustainable state, where only mass market sellers can survive, thereby reducing choice and range for consumers. They still have NGAs in European countries which is why we have better royalties from foreign rights sales. There is also the question of protectionism - if we impose embargos on foreign authors then those countries will impose embargos on UK authors foreign rights deals, which will erode their incomes. The whole thing could backfire horribly on authors and publishers. Cameron should stop meddling in things he doesn't understand and try and support the arts industries properly. But of course he is making all these cuts anyway....so fat chance.

Is this an April Fools??

Loved it, quite agree we should stop overseas writers cluttering up our best seller lists and give authors like a me a break. Sad that so many people didn't appreciate a joke though.

Could not stop laughing....
Any way it would fall foul of the Treaty of Rome and free
movement of goods and services.
I have also heard this morning that schools are going have a
keep a register of children going to the loo as part of clamp
down on prostste/bowl cancer/Diabetics....

Hahaha, great april fool's joke!

That was my thought too - Must be April fool!

Guys, read: "Danish editor Uwe Binhad of Loof Lirpa Associates."
To spell it out: You-ve been-had. April fool.

However, I agree with Jonathan: "The joke is that 10% would be a huge improvement on the current 1-3% of translated literature published in the UK!"

Big Society my .... ! Cameron should stop meddling in these affairs. This is bad news for us all if the government starts dictating what the British public can or can't read.

this must be a april fools joke, right??

That was my thought too - Must be April fool!

I think you're right about the fool bit...

what does "orgiinally" mean?

I agree with this. I hope that Scottish writers will be included on the banned list, too. And old people. At last the Government is getting a grip on things.

And poor people! What's the point in shutting all the libraries if the oiks can still get published?

The clue lies in the name of Look Lirpa Associates - an anagram of April Fool!

Phew...just noticed the date. It's April 1st....hahaha...that's funny. Mind you it's sooo ridiculous it's just the thing that 'Call me Dave' or the Publishing Industry would actually think up. I think i've still got my 'bookoholic' mouse mat around here someplace.

Uwe Binhad of Loof Lirpa --- really now.

The joke is that 10% would be a huge improvement on the current 1-3% of translated literature published in the UK!

What about RP in bookstores? Are oven gloves and beauty masks classed as British or not? Does it come down to country of manufacture? And what about adventure breaks? If i'm on a hot air ballooning day (purchased from my local bookstore), how high do I need to go before I can legally read a Gabriel Garcia Marquez?

April Fools Day indeed. Anyhow who needs Cervantes, Marquez, Proust and all that lot.

The Bat says: What no Proust...what will I read on the loo?

David Cameron would do better to re-instate the Net Book Agreement, which would restore the viability of print books and author's royalties and incomes. The abolishment of the NGA is the root cause that has brought the print/publishing world to its current unsustainable state, where only mass market sellers can survive, thereby reducing choice and range for consumers. They still have NGAs in European countries which is why we have better royalties from foreign rights sales. There is also the question of protectionism - if we impose embargos on foreign authors then those countries will impose embargos on UK authors foreign rights deals, which will erode their incomes. The whole thing could backfire horribly on authors and publishers. Cameron should stop meddling in things he doesn't understand and try and support the arts industries properly. But of course he is making all these cuts anyway....so fat chance.

David Cameron would do better to re-instate the Net Book Agreement, which would restore the viability of print books and author's royalties and incomes. The abolishment of the NGA is the root cause that has brought the print/publishing world to its current unsustainable state, where only mass market sellers can survive, thereby reducing choice and range for consumers. They still have NGAs in European countries which is why we have better royalties from foreign rights sales. There is also the question of protectionism - if we impose embargos on foreign authors then those countries will impose embargos on UK authors foreign rights deals, which will erode their incomes. The whole thing could backfire horribly on authors and publishers. Cameron should stop meddling in things he doesn't understand and try and support the arts industries properly. But of course he is making all these cuts anyway....so fat chance.

Is this an April Fools??

Loved it, quite agree we should stop overseas writers cluttering up our best seller lists and give authors like a me a break. Sad that so many people didn't appreciate a joke though.

Could not stop laughing....
Any way it would fall foul of the Treaty of Rome and free
movement of goods and services.
I have also heard this morning that schools are going have a
keep a register of children going to the loo as part of clamp
down on prostste/bowl cancer/Diabetics....

Hahaha, great april fool's joke!

Guys, read: "Danish editor Uwe Binhad of Loof Lirpa Associates."
To spell it out: You-ve been-had. April fool.

However, I agree with Jonathan: "The joke is that 10% would be a huge improvement on the current 1-3% of translated literature published in the UK!"

Printed this off and got several students and staff at my college to sign a protest petition attached. Then reminded them of the date.
They seemed to think the idea was frighteningly realistic...!

If you now Google "Government set to curb foreign authors" take a look at the way the story has been picked up and re-circulated elsewhere on the Net...and I don't believe everyone got the joke either!

The scary thing is it's getting difficult to tell what really is an April Fool's joke today...

Love it!

Love the joke, Bookseller!
And agree with you, Jonathan. Let's work to get a little nearer 10% in translation!

Oh my God! Was it an April Fool's joke? I fell for it then. I love translated literature & my heart took a sudden tumble into an invisible abyss.

This is racist, even if this an April Fools jape, the subject and tone are racist, shame on you Bookseller.

Why is it 'racist', Dave G? That's a very harsh word to use on something that is about perceived 'little England' attitudes of parts of the UK Govt?

Congratulations "daveg" - the operation to remove your sense of irony was obviously a complete success. Best wished for the recovery phase.

Had me going there for a minute ... would never happen though.

Everybody knows the Conservative Government get the biggest bribes from overseas

And while you're about it old chap, stop importing that damned foreign oil, eh what? And that tiresome Trident stuff?

but then again there's no mention of this on the Guardian website, or indeed in Cameron's speech << http://www.conservatives.com/News/Speeches/2011/04/David_Cameron_Lets_get_out_there_and_win.aspx>> which is equally a joke but not about booksellers! The problem is that it IS the sort of rubbish they would come up with.