Nathan Bransford, Author


Monday, March 4, 2013

What Role Should Libraries Have in an Electronic World?


Children's book author Terry Deary stirred up some controversy last month when he said libraries have "had their day" but no longer make sense in today's world. He cites the lack of compensation for authors and damage to bookstores, who have to compete with an institution giving away the book for free:
"People have to make the choice to buy books. People will happily buy a cinema ticket to see Roald Dahl's Matilda, and expect to get the book for free. It doesn't make sense."
Deary may have staked out a particularly anti-library position, but he's hardly the only person within the publishing industry who is grappling with the role of libraries in publishing economics in an electronic world. Penguin was among other publishers who pulled their e-books from libraries before restoring them with a new program.

There's no doubt that libraries have played an important role in society in democratizing access to information and reading, and fostering a love of reading in children. Libraries are also an important source of sales for small presses in particular. They do buy books, and they can be a significant customer for publishers.

At the same time, libraries also foster an expectation that books should be available for free and can potentially undercut an author's sales. They're absolutely indispensable and important for people who can't afford to buy books, but I have to admit that I cringe a bit when well-off people borrow from the library instead of buying the book. Here in the US those print circulations don't result in extra income for the author, though there are some different approaches when it comes to e-lending.

More broadly, as we move to to a world of near-universal Internet access and with it an unprecedented amount of information online for free, are libraries as crucial as they used to be? What role should they play in an electronic era? Should they continue to lend free e-books to customers and what should the economic balance there be?

Art: In der Bibliothek by Maurice Leloir






43 comments:

Matt Borgard said...

The person who borrows your book from the library today is very likely the person who preorders the hardcover edition of your next book tomorrow. Libraries spur interest in reading in the general population, and that can never be bad. Add to that, getting rid of libraries would just increase piracy, which is not a preferable solution for authors.

Scalzi also had a great response to this:

http://whatever.scalzi.com/2013/02/23/a-personal-history-of-libraries/

Johanna Garth said...

I'm a big supporter of libraries. We tend to think about access to books in upper middle class terms, but I don't think that frames the question correctly.

There are still plenty of children and adults who rely on libraries as their main source of reading material. As for author sales, people reading is always a good thing, whether it's free or not.

Isaiah Campbell said...

As a kid who grew up poor and learned the power of literature only through the public library system, I can't imagine a world in which libraries aren't free to lend freely. And the idea that libraries are only for the poor, but that those with more money ought to buy books before they read them, is laughable at best and detrimental to the very nature of art and literature at worst.

On the flip side of the coin, I'm an author. I'd like to make money from my books. So, what to do? What to do?

I think we are in an era where the purchase of a book should be accompanied with more benefits than just the book. Much like the benefit of buying a blu-ray over renting it from the redbox (which is a stripped down, no special features edition of the disc). There should be added bonuses to purchasing an e-book or a hardcover. Perhaps libraries should receive special versions of the books which contain only the book itself.

Of course, I don't know how the 12 year old me would feel about that. But he didn't like his vegetables, either. So...

Crystal said...

@Isaiah,
There are already benefits to purchasing a book that you don't get with borrowing from a library. Namely, you get to keep it. Also, no one is going to reprimand you for underling and writing in the margins of a book you own. (When you do this in a library book, the librarians don't appreciate it. Trust me...)

I always see if a book is available at my local library first. However, many times I end up purchasing the book I borrowed because I want my own copy. (Just did that this weekend, actually.)
Libraries are for reading books you would not otherwise come in contact with, and for discovering authors you would never have discovered otherwise. I discovered my favorite author of all time via a library and now own all but one of her books. (I must admit I bought them used, but since she's been dead about 40 years, and until recently most of her books were out of print, I really don't think she minds.)

We live in a consumer-driven world, and as long as there are consumers, there will be consumers who want things for free. If the library does not fill that void, something else will.

Michelle Roberts said...

I totally agree with Crystal. I consume an inordinate amount of books every month (usually including several books that sounded good, but that I just didn't like). I could not possibly buy that many books (10-14, not including the DNFs). Also, those authors I end up loving, I go back and buy the book I borrowed and the books they release next.

So, for me and many others, libraries are absolutely necessary.

Jaimie said...

I never use libraries so I don't really care about them not offering entertainment books anymore. However, I do really believe in having information available to the public, so I'd willingly continue paying taxes (not like I decide where my taxes go...) to keep them providing the internet to those without a computer. Also Wikipedia. And maybe a few classics thrown in.

lee8phillips said...

Libraries also serve as a place for writers and readers to meet! You can join a discussion, a book club, an author's reading, or check out every book an author ever wrote and read them all ( I read everything written by George Sand, via inter-library loan). Libraries today are community centers, gateways and portals to new ideas, new collaboration, and new ways of being. We are about the past, we are present, we can provide the source code for the future!See you at the Library!

Steve Masover said...

The American Library association gives the number of libraries in the U.S. as 8,951 public libraries; 3,689 academic libraries; and 99,180 public and private school libraries. That's a lot of library customers for books. And in my city's multi-branch library system, multiple copies are acquired when a book is popular.

I agree with many of the comments above who suggest that library readers are also, now or in the future, book buyers; and that avid readers (even if they make a decent living) may not be able to fit all they want to read into their discretionary budget.

I'm of the strong opinion that libraries help authors, they do not harm authors. Their 'day' is far from over.

Carmen Webster Buxton said...

I don't remember who said it (possibly Neil Gaiman) but libraries create readers; people who take their children to the library on a regular basis teach them to read for pleasure and for edification. This is a very good thing!

The main enemy of publishers and authors is not libraries. It is that giant mass of everything else people can do for recreation: TV, movies, video games, etc.

Maybe libraries will change and become places you can visit virtually as well as physically, but it will be a much sadder world for readers and writers if libraries go away entirely.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the others that libraries were and continue to be important. Of all the things my tax dollars contribute to, this is the one I mind the least.

Apart from that, though, Mr. Deary makes a lot of presuppositions in his position. Namely a) that schools can fill the library gap (clearly, he hasn't experienced a school library recently), and b) that each time his book was loaned, it was to a unique individual who would otherwise have bought the book. Neither of which I believe is true, but I think the latter is important.

When my kids go to the library, it is not uncommon for them to choose the same book over and over. It would surprise me if mine were the only kids that did this. Also, I buy books when I can, but my resources are not infinite. His assumption that each one of those library loans translates to one book sale lost is erroneous at best.

I agree that people should be willing to pay for books as entertainment. But just because they should, it doesn't mean they will. Those who will pay will do so regardless. Those who won't...won't.

Delia said...

Hmm. Don't know why that went through as anonymous.

Therese said...

Well, a borrowed book and a bought book are two different experiences, and there are some sacrifices the reader makes in exchange for reading the book for "free" (though not really free since taxpayers paid for it). Time limits, and sometimes having to wait for the book to become available. Someone else's tea drips or flu germs, dog-eared pages. Not being able to reread the book easily or lend it out to a friend. Not being able to underline passages, etc.

Given the choice, I prefer my own bought books to borrowed ones, and I imagine I'm not the only one, so I would think libraries would tend to serve those who need them more, i.e., those who can't as easily afford bought books.

I'm a case in point. When I was a childless salaried professional in the city, I used to go into my favorite independent bookstore, drop $100 or on five or six books from the tables, go home and read them, then come back for more when I was done. Then I got married and had a kid, and my then-husband and I decided to make some financial sacrifices so I could stay at home with her the first few years - I hated asking for money from my husband and my savings were limited, so I became a heavy library user. All the library research I did helped me when I started writing novels of my own.

When I went back to work and had my own salary again, I also went back to buying a lot of books.

Conclusion: Libraries are a good thing. They allow people to read books they wouldn't otherwise have access to, and they foster the Creation of Art and general Thoughtfulness in Society.

Elissa M said...

I live in an extremely poor, rural area. Our village library is a community hub. It not only lends books, magazines and videos, it gives internet access to people who would not otherwise be able to get online. Our library also hosts lectures, presentations, and other gatherings. Recently I attended a talk about mountain lions specifically aimed at how law enforcement officials can ensure that everyone involved in an encounter can come out alive, including the cat.

I have noticed over the years that people often assume something they don't use is obsolete, without stopping to consider if their personal experience might not be the experience of everyone else.

Not everyone lives in a city. Not everyone has access to the internet. Not everyone even has electricity available in their area. People should be careful of the assumptions they make.

Anonymous said...

No. Libraries do not damage authors or booksellers. The complete opposite is true. A term I came across recently is library author, an author whose books are mainly purchased by libraries not the bookstores because the authors don't have a large following. They are published but too much of a risk for a bookstore to carry their books.

Consider also that I have been n the queue for the most recent Nora Roberts for three months and it will probably be another month or more before I get to the top. This is true for all of the most popular books that the library has. You have to wait months before the new release becomes available. If you've got the money, it's better to just go buy the book.

You also have to take into consideration the exposure that lesser known authors get from having their books in the library (if your local library doesn't have your books, then give them a copy. seriously.) I've discovered several new authors browsing through the stacks. It costs me nothing to borrow the book, but if I like it, then I've found a new author to read. That's a win for me and the author because now I am going to go out and buy their books.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I have donated my books to libraries myself. I was the little girl who couldn't afford the books, but learned to love them at the library.

And ebook lending would be all right with me if they limited the numbers in the same way you'd be limited by a real book. Only one person at a time until the book comes back!

Jess said...

I don't write for the money. We all know that the chances of becoming rich off of book sales are slim, and if that's your driving motivation for putting pen to paper, you're headed down the road towards lots of disappointment.

I write because I want people to read my books. I want to transport young readers to worlds that excite their imaginations and get them thinking about life. I want to create characters that become their best friends. I don't really care where people get my books as long as they read them. I'm not even worried about people buying used books.

Sure, getting a royalties check from lots of sales would be really nice, but it's a side benefit, not the goal. Piracy aside, when we start splitting hairs over how people are accessing our books and whether we're making a profit from it, we are essentially polluting the life-changing power of reading with commercialism.

Just my two cents.

Anonymous said...

I am probably one of those people that you call "well off" who borrows books from the library. Not that I'm a trust fund baby, or a billionaire, or anything like that. I make a nice salary, as does my husband, and we live a pretty comfortable existence with enough disposable income that I don't feel I can complain about money.

That doesn't mean my income is bottomless. And I do read a lot of books. As do my children. As does my husband, though less so than the rest of us. Just counting myself, I recorded somewhere over 50 books last year on Goodreads. Had I bought each and every one of them, brand new, in hardcover, at $29.99 each, that would be over $1500 in books just for myself. Even with what I consider to be a nice disposable income, I would not choose to spend that much just on one form of entertainment for myself.

And that is assuming that all 50 books that I want to read can be found available to purchase. And that I want to actually keep all 50 books on the shelf.

When we moved 1.5 years ago, we packed well over 100 boxes of books, after purging (and we purged a LOT of books). We have two separate rooms each with an entire wall dedicated to books, plus more in the kids' rooms, plus more still stuffed away in the basement in boxes.

I guess I could buy the books, and then re-sell or give them away--but then the next person won't be paying the author a royalty either. I could buy them all in digital so I can just delete them when I'm finished, except that some titles I want to read (e.g. book 2 of a 10-year old mid-list fantasy series that I'm finally getting around to reading) are simply not available digitally (thank you publishers). Heck, some books aren't in print or digitally, but the library has a copy...

And don't even suggest that I should be forking over $50+ each per non-fiction book tha the kids need for research. (Good gawd, I shudder to think how many hundreds of thousands of $ I would have spent just for my literature classes in college had I been required to purchase each and every research book and scholarly journal in order to do my homework...).

The library is one source of reading material for me and my kids. One. Amazon, the one local B&N, the Scholastic bookclub flyers, my friends' shelves, local resale shops, etc are more.

Obviously, I'm pro-library. I think authors ought to make a point of encouraging local libraries to buy their books. First off, a sale is a sale, and there must be thousands of libraries in the country (imagine if each one bought one measely copy of your book). Second, it hooks readers who might start prioritizing purchasing your new releases. Third, you have to invest in the future in order to keep any income source from simply burning itself out--investing in literacy and the next generation of readers seems to me like a logical choice for folks who want to make a living writing books.

Kirsty said...

In Australia authors get money (Public Lending Rights) for having books in libraries - I'm still getting money for books that were published 15 years ago. Not a lot but enough to go Ooo. Libraries also do a lot to promote authors as well as paying authors to give author talks. An author (particularly a kids author) who was popular and didn't mind talking in schools and libraries could earn a decent income just giving talks.
And then there's all the incidentals of finding information, internet, help with printers, storytimes..I'm just getting started...
But I'm a librarian. Give me a cliche (libraries are hospitals for the soul) and I'll cheer!

anya* said...

I am in the pro-library camp as well. I have six kids. Every Wednesday we go to the library (it is early release day). This is the highlight of several of my children's week. We fill our baskets with graphic novels, cookbooks, early readers,, (including Jacob Wonderbar books… ). We make our pit stop at the 'hold shelf' where I have meticulously placed the books on hold that I want to read (no way would I be able to browse while there— to many hands to hold). Ms. erika is the children's librarian. She hosts a book club for 3-6th graders once a month. It is a highly looked forward to event for my 8 and 11 year olds.

We check out probably 50 books a week. There is no way I could afford (even though we are 'well-off' ). Nor would I want to. I can't image the storage it would take to purchase all those books? Insane amounts.

I agree with several other commenters, libraries are not the thing writers need to fight— it is the consumer driven society who buys their kids iPads, iPhones, kindles, ect (no judgement, my kids have these devices as well) with the sole purpose video games, tv shows and apps. NOT BOOKS.

And like another person wrote, people who go to the library still buy lots of books. We go to Powell's books in Portland, OR several times a year and stock up on the ones we love to much, or can't wait any longer for. It sucks to be #114 on the waiting list!

Christine Monson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy Kelley said...

I work at a library. Every day, I help:

People who cannot afford to buy books but love to read

Families with young children who devour books and could not possibly keep up with their reading habits

People who are looking for work in a day when all job applications are online

and

Students looking for research help

It's deceptive to say that the information is all online, so libraries aren't needed. People still need help finding the information--if anything, the vast quantity of stuff on the internet makes it harder to locate the piece you need.

Deary's post deeply offended me with the implication that we no longer have poor people in the world who need free access to information and books. I also found his complaint about not getting paid as much for the books far more entitled than the belief people have in libraries. (Additionally, his comment that libraries sprang up in the Victorian era is erroneous--Alexandria, anyone?)

Rebecca Klempner said...

Terry Deary may be a children's author, but has he gone to the library with a child lately?

My kids BEG to go to the library multiple times a week. We could never, ever afford to buy all the books they consume.

When they go to the library, they can explore. There are books on display in a wider range (classics, graphic novels, SF, fantasy, non-fiction, the latest award winner) not just the TV or holiday tie-ins that get top billing at many brick-in-mortar bookstores (what few of them are left). (Online is still worse: you can't sample the wares in a tactile sense nor see each and every page before purchase).

The librarians are knowledgeable and develop a relationship with the kids. They can offer suggestions based on first-hand knowledge of the kids.

Our kids are not anomalies. When we go to the library, it's often packed with kids. It's so much fun bumping in to friends and swapping book recommendations.

Misses Rivera said...

It's nice to see so many comments in support of libraries. I live in a small community with a library thats only open a total of 8 hours a week. We drive into a another town for our family library trips.

What is is about modern culture that makes us want to think they're this obsolete piece of the past that we can simply replace with an iphone, ipad, kindle, etc?

Books are food for the mind. They need to be freely available to anyone and everyone. Not just to those with the right device.

robinellen said...

I read well over 100 books a year, and if we didn't have libraries, that number would be drastically reduced. Although I can afford *some* books, I'd never buy all those...and since I only buy when it's either a friend's book or when I've read and loved it (after borrowing it from the library), I think not having libraries would actually cut down my buying potential. I personally think that if libraries didn't exist, it wouldn't improve the sales of books; instead, I think reading would quickly become something only afforded by the wealthy (and since many of the wealthy folks I know -- a small group, admittedly -- don't like to read, that wouldn't help sales, either).

Chris Bailey said...

A vote in favor of public libraries! I don't believe lending books costs authors, or that authors would benefit from books becoming more exclusive.

Regina Richards said...

I pay a yearly fee to belong to my library, but I still buy an additional 3-5 new books a month. The library is like a sampling center where I can find new authors, but in the end I still buy eBooks to read on my Kindle and, if they're really awesome, I buy the paper copy as well.

I'm guessing I'm not the only one who does this. So I think personal libraries are evolving from just a ton of books someone has read, or even the better books someone has read, into the very best books the owner has read. Whoever inherits it when the person dies will have a pre-screened collection.

I haven't borrowed an eBook from the library yet. I can see how that could save me a lot of money and potentially damage the author's and publisher's bottom line. I'll have to think on that one a while.

MaryAnn Pope said...

I love libraries. They are the very reason I love to read today. If I had a book published, I would want it to be in every library.

People will borrow a book that they may not be willing to buy just to give it a chance, and if they love it they could spread the word or buy your next book. I think the goal as an author is to get as many people reading your book as possible, so you can find your fan base to spread the word.

Besides, I want to live in a world where anyone who wants to read can read, and books are still expensive for many poor and middle families especially those with lots are children. Selling books is great, and I know a writer needs to eat, but everyone needs access to books, and books are still too expensive for a lot of people.

Everytime I go to my library it is packed. That's a good thing.

Mira said...

Great topic, and I appreciate that the comments are so much in support of libraries.

I absolutely shudder to think of a world without libraries.

I think people in the comments have covered the importance of introducing children to books through the libary, but I'll add that children usually have little money and need books that are free. Deary is not losing any customers by letting children check out his books - they could not afford to buy them.

And without this access, so many children would never learn to love books. Which means fewer readers for Deary in the long run, fewer people to grow up, make an income and then buy his books.

As for putting the onus on school libaries, that is truly laughable when schools can't even afford to provide children with enough textbooks to cover a class, much less a full library.

As for what Deary said - other forms of entertainment are not free - well, that's not true. Movies and music are also available at the library, as are streaming T.V. shows. And all of these are also available on-line.

But a much more important point - books are so unbelievably important to the advancement of both the individual mind and society as a whole that they cannot be confined to the middle and upper classes. The loss to society of minds who, born in poverty, could not access information, much less the impending threat to the freedom of the lower clases, both would be incalcuable.

But all of the above is not the main reason to continue to support libaries. The most important function of a libary (imho) is in collecting the body of knowledge created by humans. Knowledge and information is stored in libaries, and without that, it could be lost. Adn you might say: well, it could be stored on-line in a database. And I would say: Yes. That's a library.

My last point - Deary talks about fiction, but the main use of the library is in non-fiction. It makers information available to the populace regardless of income.

And that would make me want to ask Deary this question:

Did you research your books? Did you pay for that research? Did you ever use any non-fiction book without paying for its contents? Did you ever use the library to research anything in college? Did you pay for it?

Do you think writing a non-fiction book is easy? Don't non-fiction writers deserve to be compensated for each and every use of their knowledge?

Or is there something beyond the mercenary in everything humans create?

Libraries are so important that we forget how essential they are.

Steve Fuller said...

Without public libraries, people won't buy more books, they'll read less literature. That is a scary thought.

wendy said...

Libraries are indispensable for authors providing free promotion and exposure. I've found some of my fave titles there, and then gone on to buy other titles by the same author. I speculate that authors write more for the sake of it then to earn a living, and libraries provide vast access to books that people wouldn't have the opportunity to read otherwise. I don't see any difference to electronic media and the printed media in this regard.

Dave said...

Have you been to a library lately? It sounds like you haven't. Libraries not only provide books at no cost to lenders, which, regardless of what one's income is, is one of the few public services we can count on to foster our education as a society, but they offer computer services, author visits, employment assistance, professional help with research. I can't agree with any anti- library sentiment at all. In fact, libraries need to expand, if anything. Pour federal money to jump start the economy by building additions to libraries, and then, perhaps we'll see a change in our children's educational performance, unemployment, and ability to carry pn an educated conversation.

stacy said...

Libraries do not foster a sense that books should be free. The Internet does that. Libraries create readers. The real problem here is that major publishers simply haven't been able to adapt quickly in a changing market. Besides, I don't know a single person who hasn't bought a book that they originally checked out of the library. I'm pretty poor right now, but I do it all the time.

Magdalena Munro said...

My son (3 1/2) loves our library every bit as much as I loved the library when I was a child (I'm 44). In fact, he begs to go almost every day after school. When it's time to return books, we make a list of those we wish to purchase as he struggles to part with them. The crush he has on "miss Donna" the librarian can't be found on Amazon.com nor can the Internet hold his hold his hand and walk him to the whale shark section. I really think we can all live together in this world...hell, I still buy vinyl at the hip little record store in Hollywood.

Craig said...

Don't know if you saw this post on Chuck Wendig's blog here: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/03/03/the-art-of-asking-for-writers-and-storytellers/. I see the two discussions as part of the same larger discussion. Publishing has a big opportunity right now to take the lead in creating an industry that protects libraries, fosters creatives, gives indies their voice, and creates jobs at every level of publishing. The question is, will it happen? I'll be posting something largely illiterate about this over on cowboysdontswim.com shortly.

Garrett K. said...

As the ebook specialist at a public library, the concern about ebook lending that Elizabeth Seckman raised earlier in the comments is really troubling, because it's a commonly held misconception. With some exceptions, the ebook lending programs in public libraries ARE one book to one user, just like print books. I purchase multiple licenses for any single ebook based on demand and budget and only that number of users may access the book while all others wait in line. When the first borrower's time is up, they lose access and the next person in line can check it out (one of the very very few positive aspects of DRM). In some cases there are simultaneous access systems available where an "unlimited" number of users may access a book at the same time, but they are always priced at a premium, or billed on a monthly subscription basis, or priced according to usage. But unless given consent by the publisher, I don't know of any library that is actively making copyrighted books available with unlimited access. Libraries are not pirates, even with ebooks. The president of the American Library Association reported that in a meeting she had last year with a Big Six publisher, they cited this incorrect assumption as one of the reasons they choose not to distribute ebooks to public libraries. Just a crazy way to do business; misunderstanding the fundamentals of how one of your primary distribution channels does their business.

On a non-ranty note, some great comments about how libraries promote exposure to authors' works, but I think we tend to think just in terms of new works and the potential for stealing sales. Libraries also extend the life of books that don't qualify for reprints in perpetuity, and provide a place for those quality works whose marketing muscle simply can't keep them on constantly shrinking chain (or even indie) bookstore shelves. I know it doesn't necessarily translate directly into sales, but the breadth of a public library collection provides (IMO) the best chances for the serendipity of matching the right reader to the right book at the right time.

Emily Wenstrom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Emily Wenstrom said...

Libraries have and continue to be a central element to knowledge and learning. To get rid of libraries would be a serious mistake--particularly if the reason for it is that petty authors are more concerned with lining their pockets than sharing their art. (And I say that as an author who would kill for a way to support myself on my art.)

Not everyone can pay for technology -- in fact it seems to me that while technology is growing in prevalence, it is also causing the cost for access to increase, bc the tools (computers, ipads) are going up in price.

I see a modern library being more about providing access rather than a book collection. And let's not forget the other function of a library -- education and community. And in an increasingly digital, global, anonymous world, that is something that will only increase in value.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I didn't know libraries could lend free-ebooks, hmmm. I think that in spite of e-books and all the other technological advances, libraries are still important. Being able to walk into a room filled with books is definitely a different experience from just visiting Amazon.com and clicking on a selection of book titles. I like both experiences, and I do order books (both e-books and print ones) online, but I still like going to libraries and bookstores.

JD said...

I've recently discovered the wonders of borrowing e-books from my local library. They also lend movies, which hasn't seemed to hurt Hollywood at all. Take away lending libraries, you slam the access door for every person who can't afford the luxury of expanding their mind with books and other media. Just because internet access is common now doesn't mean everyone can access it.

Rebekkah Niles said...

If I hadn't had libraries as a kid, I don't think I would have ever started enjoying reading. I would certainly not have fallen in love with as hard as I have. It's giving young adults unrestricted access to free books that's crucial to making them want to purchase books when they're old enough to have income of their own--get them hooked on books young, and they'll be lifelong readers. But books are expensive, especially on a limited allowance. So losing libraries? You're losing your future market. Don't shoot yourself in the foot.

Deb Nam-Krane said...

This is a silly trend. Bookstores are more endangered with each passing year; now we want to marginalize libraries? And please, don't say ebooks. There are plenty of Americans who can't afford cell phones, much less ereaders.

Anonymous said...

Libraries do all the wonderful things everyone stated. I buy anywhere from 35 to about 100 books a year (excluding used ones it would be about 8 to 50). I patronize 3 libraries regularly I would hate to buy all my books because: 1) I couldn't afford the number of books I take out; 2) many books that have great opening pages turn out to be duds (at least for me); 3) I often buy library books so I can underline and make notes (doing it on an ereader isn't the same). And I have 3 (yes 3) different Ereaders for different purposes. Bought Kindle first, wanted to help Amazon not dominate everything so bought a nook, and want to buy and download ebooks from independent bookstore so bought KOBO. The person who wrote the article does not love to read, does not read a lot, and probably is a pretty horrible writer.

Anonymous said...

"...but I have to admit that I cringe a bit when well-off people borrow from the library instead of buying the book."

Wait, seriously? It makes me cringe to think of people buying a book they'll likely only read once, when they could have borrowed it from the library. Talk about consumeristic, not to mention wasteful.

I am all for compensating authors, especially as I aspire to be one, but I don't think artificially limiting access to art that benefits humanity is ever the way to go. Amanda Palmer gets it right, imo.

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