The economist John Maynard Keynes once explained that the free market rested on "the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone".

The book chain Dymocks might not be wicked but there’s something a little coy about its current campaign for the parallel importation of books into Australia. Parallel importation would allow booksellers to import overseas editions, irrespective of whether they’d already been published in Australia. It’s a measure resisted by most authors and all Australian publishers, who fear that exposure to open market will wipe out the local industry. Interestingly, parallel importation’s also opposed -- and for similar reasons -- by the Australian Booksellers Association as well as by the majority of its individual members.