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These days, I'm the director of the American Library Association' s Office for Intellectual Freedom. I'm also executive director and secretary of the Freedom to Read Foundation.

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jlarue [at] ala [dot] org.
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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Peter Brantley on Smashwords and agreements

Brantley's latest Publisher Weekly blog highlights the important points of our recent deal with Smashwords (buying 10,000 self-published titles for $40,000). First, the price per copy, $4, is quite a ways away from the $84 Random House charges libraries for a single copy of an ebook. Second, our Statement of Common Understanding -- a brief, clear, 2 page document crafted by lawyer/librarian Mary Minow -- is just a much, much simpler way for publishers and librarians to do business than a host of weirdly restrictive terms set out by corporations that must then be managed by the institutions most injured by them -- public libraries.

The adoption of these terms by so many authors and both traditional and emerging publishers is a very good sign of the times. And I like seeing what I call positive market pressure: good news about people who see clear advantages of working with, not against us. At some point, surely authors and publishers will just find this an easier and more PR-friendly approach.

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