:- Booking fee
The Govemment’s broad hint that it may slap VAT onto the price of books and newspapers in the November budget was described as an ‘almost caveman philosophy’ by Bill Campbell, director of Mainstream Publishing. And there are few in the Scottish book trade who would disagree with him.
The Books Add Value Campaign, which is backed by a number of publishing trade bodies, has turned next Saturday (16 Oct) into a day of public protest against the idea in the hope of persuading the Government that a ‘tax on leaming’ is politically unacceptable. Behind the scenes it is lobbying hard in Westminster and claims to have won the support of as many as 30 backbench Conservative MPs who oppose the tax.
‘We are trying to persuade the Government that it is counter- productive to support education and at the same time put a tax on the chief
tool of learning,’ campaign manager Peter Kilbom says. Edinburgh bookseller James Thin has sent a 'mailshot to all its regular customers asking them to write to their MPs in protest at the proposal.
It is widely believed that increasing the price of books by 17.5 per cent - the whole cost is almost certain to be passed on to the customer — will result in a similar-sized decrease in sales. This will in turn reduce the size of print runs and increase the cost of producing books, forcing a further price rise.
‘We believe it is one of the most serious threats around,’ Thin's marketing manager Malcolm Gibson says. ‘It will affect not just the public, but libraries and schools which are already struggling to buy books.’
Willie Anderson, assistant managing director of Glasgow bookseller John Smith, believes students will be particularly hard hit by any price rises. ‘l’m convinced sales will drop — the public will buy one book when before it bought two,’ he adds.
According to Campbell of Mainstream another result of VAT on books could be a wholesale abandonment of the Net Book Agreement which requires all booksellers to charge the same price for particular publications. There have already been moves by the major chains to cut prices of bestsellers but if this became more widespread. independent book shops claim they could be forced out of business. (Eddie Gibb)
James Thin is holding a Scrabble competition in Edinburgh as part of Books Add Value day on Sat 16 Oct. Details on 03] 556 6743.
I Theatre upheaval The Traverse has dismissed chief executive Jennifer Willies after she was suspended at the end of the Festival. Artistic director Ian Brown has taken over her duties. A Traverse spokeswoman refused to comment on the reason for her dismissal but it is believed Willies’s position became untenable when she lost the conﬁdence of theatre staff. There are no immediate plans to appoint a new chief executive and a staff review is expected to be carried out shortly. I Entertainment awards The shortlist for the 1993 BAF'I‘A Scotland awards, which were inevitably dubbed the ‘tartan Oscars’ when they were introduced last year, was announced last week. The nominations include Peter Capaldi’s Soft Top. Hard Shoulder and the first ever Gaelic feature As An Eileen for best ﬁlm and Dr Finlay and Taggart for best drama series. The award ceremony will be held in Glasgow on 4 November. I NIV research Students starting the new academic year at Edinburgh University will be asked to take part in a major HIV study. Researchers from the university’s newly—established Centre for HIV Research hope over 5000 students will take part in the study which involves answering a questionnaire on their sexual history and any intravenous drug use, together with giving a saliva sample. However, the results will remain conﬁdential and individual students will not be told about their HIV status. It is thought that this will be the biggest study of HIV in the student population that has ever been carried out in Britain. I Arts sponsorship A huge increase in sponsorship deals by brewers and distillers made the drinks industry the biggest commercial backer of the arts in Scotland during 1992/93. Overall business sponsorship was up 3 per cent to £38 million, according to a recent survey by the Scottish Arts Council.
‘_ Arts outing
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Frustrated at the lack oi recognition oi overtly gay and lesbian art by Scottish galleries, Art at but was termed to establish a pennanent space ior homosexual artists, iollowlng the success oi a one-oil exhibition earlier this year. TheiutureoiArtoiOut,whichispart oi the Outright Scotland organisation, will be discussed at an open meeting later this month. ‘There has been a lack oi interest among mainstrean galleries In gay and lesbian art,’ according to Art oi Out director Stuart Hayes. ‘The sexuality oi the artist is
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obviously important and this is to do with encouraging people to tire part.’
Hayes believes that the lack oi encouragement oi artists who put their homosexuality at the centre oi their work results in sen-censorship. ‘We are trying to give as many people as possible a chance oi exhibiting work,’ he adds. (ES)
‘ihenreetlngtodiscusstheiutureoi Artoiiiutisonmiictatepmatsea Broughton Street, Edinburgh (underneath the Blue Moon Cate).
I FORESTRY PINICY IN SCOTLAND Friends of the Earth Glasgow meeting addressed by Don Lindsay, development ofﬁcer of the Forestry Authority, Scotland. Given the recent demonstrations against the wholesale sell-off of the nation’s forests, this promises to be a lively meeting. All welcome. Thurs l4 Oct, 7.30pm, Renﬁeld St Stephens Church Centre, Bath Street. Glasgow. Free.
I WORKER’S AID FOR BOSNIA A convoy organised by Workers Aid for Bosnia set off from the Timex factory in Dundee in August. It is nearing its destination of Tuzla, in north-east Bosnia, which is still a predominantly multi-ethnic community. Members of the convoy will speak about their experiences at two public meetings: Tue 19, 7.30pm, room 4, City Halls, Candleriggs, Glasgow; Wed 20, 7.30pm, Unemployed Workers Centre, l03 Broughton Street, Edinburgh. Further details of both meetings on 031 556 311 l.
I SCRAM! Scotland’s anti-nuclear .power campaign and publisher of The Safe Energy Journal is looking for new volunteers in its Edinburgh ofﬁce. Besides the usual ﬁling and ofﬁce work, suitable volunteers will get a chance to help on all aSpects of the magazine. Write to SCRAM, ll Forth Street. Edinburgh EH1 3LE or phone 031 557 4283 (weekdays).
I HOUSING AND SUSTAINABILITY CONFERENCE The Scottish Academic Network on Global Climate Change is organising a one day conference on housing and sustainability at the Hunten'an Library, Glasgow University on Sat l6 October, 10am—5pm. Advance tickets £10 (£2) from The
Secretary. Centre for Latin American
Studies, Glasgow University on 041 339 8855.
I ROCK AND ICE Climber Doug Scott presents an illustrated lecture entitled Rock and Ice; North and South, about
'climbs he has made all over the world.
Tickets for the lecture on Tue 12 October, 7.30pm, at the George Square Lecture Theatre, George Square, Edinburgh are available from Tisos. The £5 entry fee goes to aid the Kathmandu Environmental Education Project.
I STOP THE BNP Following the British National Party‘s success in Tower Hamlets, it has been trying to masquerade as an ordinary political party to disguise revisionist, racist and fascist views. A Unity demo on Sat 16 October, supported by most of the UK's anti-racist organisations, is the culmination of a four year campaign to close down the BNP HQ and stop racism. Buses from various points in Glasgow and Edinburgh on Fri 15 October at l lpm, returning on Saturday immediately after the demo. Cost £10 (£4). Glasgow details from Dave on 041 423 1884. Edinburgh details from 031 553 9631 or Kirsty on 031 337 6781.
I It you have news oi any events or
courses which you want publicised In this column, please iorward them to
-‘Action’ at The list, 14 High Street, '
Edinburgh Elli HE and include a day- time phone number.
The List 8-2] October l993 5