Sunday, November 18, 2012

Writers support libraries

I wrote about this a few weeks ago, but I continue to think about it.

A lot of librarians missed this: NWU Supports Librarians' Objections to Publishers' E-book Licensing Terms.

There's an interesting issue here. We all know, consumers and libraries alike, that in effect, our ebook purchases aren't purchases at all. They are licenses. We can't give the books away, we can't resell them, we can't donate them. That's a license. Yet Random House has declared that libraries own their ebooks.

Here's what a lot of people don't know. I didn't. Modern author contracts call for an author royalty of 10% or so for sales. But for licensing, authors are supposed to get 50%. So you have to wonder: is Random House licensing their works, but taking 90%, when they should only get 50?

Somehow, this copyright and publishing framework has become a corporate asset, benefitting neither the public, nor the creator.

Calling all authors: why not publish at the library? We'll give you 90%.

Having said that, of course, at this writing, few libraries have the means of receiving a donation. But that's changing. I believe we're seeing a movement toward direct library management of digital content. So at some point, the question becomes, who will the author and the public trust more: the publisher (Random House), the distributor (Amazon or OverDrive), or the local library?


R E Schlinger said...

I am a friend of Bob Kieft, who directed me to your blog, where I read this post. Having bought my first Kindle (with my two daughters for my husband Doug for his 60th birthday) only to find that OverDrive Media Console for Library Books would not install, I submitted a one-star review to Amazon ("Disappointed and irritated") that has generated some interesting comments. With a law degree (and thus some knowledge of privacy rights), I find Amazon's "read for free" advertising/lack of transparency regarding its collection of Kindle purchasers' library reading practices troubling. I do not think it is "Amazon or OverDrive", but rather, "Amazon and OverDrive" and after reading the 10/18/11 blog post by "Librarian In Black" Sarah Houghton, I am interested in your thoughts on this subject should you have any.

R E Schlinger said...

P. S. The Kindle I bought was Amazon's latest, the Kindle Fire HD 8.9.

Jamie said...

I have so MANY comments it's hard for me to know where to start. And I'm not sure which comment is yours on Amazon, either. I suppose the best overall view of what I think libraries are facing, and what we should do about it, can be found here: - Welcome

In November of 2018, I left my position at ALA in Chicago to return to my Colorado-based writing, speaking, and consulting career. So I'...