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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. See "About Me" for contact information.

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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