The Guardian view on changes to copyright law: book lovers beware

A government proposal to ease restrictions on the sale of imported cultural works risks harming a world-class industry

The hoopla around the release of Sally Rooney’s new novel on Tuesday – with bookshops opening early, and queues of shoppers eager to lay their hands on Beautiful World, Where Are You – has contributed to the image of a publishing industry in rude health. Last year had the highest sales in eight years. Yet authors, bricks-and-mortar bookshops and publishers alike fear that the industry faces a powerful new threat, if cheap editions legitimately produced for an overseas market are allowed to be sold in the UK. Kazuo Ishiguro, Bernardine Evaristo and others have warned that the effect on writers would be devastating.

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