June 18, 2019

Publishers ready to testify at tariff hearings


After weeks of reporting on how the Trump administration’s proposed tariffs on Chinese imports could affect publishing, Jim Milliot reports for Publishers Weekly that hearings began yesterday in Washington, D.C. with book industry groups and companies “set to testify against the proposal.”

The proposed tariffs are aimed at consumer items, which, according to Anthony DeBarros and Josh Zumbrun writing for The Wall Street Journal, were “largely spared by existing tariffs” and now face “25% levies under the Trump administration’s plan targeting $300 billion of Chinese goods that haven’t yet been taxed.”

According to Publishers Weekly, books and printed materials that are subject to the tariff include:

Printed books, brochures, leaflets, and similar printed matter in single sheets, whether or not folded; printed dictionaries and encyclopedias; printed books, brochures, leaflets, and similar printed matter, other than in single sheets; children’s picture, drawing, or coloring books; and maps and hydrographic or similar charts of all kinds, including atlases and topographical plans, printed in book form.

Fairly obvious, but for readers, tariffs would likely mean increased book prices. The New York Times also dug into what the tariffs will mean for brick and mortar stores across retail and it’s not pretty.

Through June 25, the U.S. Trade Representative is holding public hearings regarding the tariffs. Representatives from dozens of companies and organizations are scheduled to testify. You can see the full list here.

A panel today includes representatives from the American Booksellers Association, Workman Publishing, HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Publishers Clearing House, Association of American Publishers, and Evangelical Christian Publishers Association.

Tomorrow, another publishing-panel includes representatives from the DC Public Library, Hendrickson Publishers, and Penguin Random House.

We’ll keep an eye out for updates and post as we go.



Amelia Stymacks is the former director of digital marketing at Melville House.