The legislation which requires the deposit of a copy of every book published in Australia to be deposited in the National Library of Australia predates the Internet age. Thus this legislation does not so far extend to ebooks.
However, the Library does accept voluntary submissions of such works. Being patriotic, Nick Renton donated copies of his first four ebooks to the Library, thinking that he was doing the community in favour by this action.
Three of these ebooks were gratefully accepted, but the fourth was politely rejected. This was The Wit and Wisdom of the Money Experts, a specialist collection of entertaining quotations relating to business and investments.
The reasoning behind this rejection was set out in an e-mail reading as follows:
"Thank you for sending us your latest work. Unfortunately we will not be archiving this work as it consists solely of quotes (from primarily non-Australians which are already in the public domain) and so does not fit within our selection guidelines. For a work to be archived in PANDORA it has to consist only of original Australian content.
"We would still welcome receiving any future publications that you may wish to send us."
The rejection was curious. If this book had been published in a conventional format then its deposit would have been required by law. Furthermore, an anthology compiled by an Australian author and developed in Australia would generally be regarded as being an Australian book.
Is not the very act of carefully selecting and arranging quotations suitable for a particular audience an act of original endeavour? Would an Australian collection of short stories and poems by overseas writers be equally regarded as somehow lacking in originality?
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Australia needs Tax Reform
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