Sunday, March 11, 2012

Library authors petition

I ask for your assistance. If you are a librarian, or have written a book for the library professional audience, what do you think of this idea?

* We create a petition, circulated among all professional library publishing houses.

* The petition states our strong desire to donate an e-book copy of works we have written to a library of our choice. I'm not asking to "lease a copy to a library through a third party." I'm petitioning, perhaps in violation of contracts that were framed a long time ago, to give ownership of a copy to a library that can check it out to one person at a time, with DRM-management. Or without, if you have strong feelings about that.

* We assert, as authors and librarians, our belief that books should be owned and managed by libraries. We protest the disappearance of ownership.

* We assert, as authors and librarians, that it's absurd that a book that costs nothing to print, bind, and distribute should cost MORE than print. It should cost less. Yet, again, the idea is not to demand that publishers charge less. It's that we believe we should have the right to donate a copy of our works to a library.

* We assert, as authors and librarians, that having our works in libraries helps people find us, and that matters to us.

* We assert, as authors and librarians, that we want our works to endure. Libraries preserve the memory of our culture.

* We assert, as authors and librarians, our intent to adopt an addendum to any contract with a publisher, our desire to sell copies of our works to libraries. Not lease. Sell, under the doctrine of first use.

I recognize that some of us don't HAVE e-book versions of our books. But we could create them, couldn't we? And that might be a useful skill to develop, don't you think?

We would be the first group of authors that I'm aware of to set a new expectation for the agreement between authors, publishers, and libraries. And why wouldn't we be first?

I think this just might bring some attention to e-book issues not only within our field, but in the larger business world, and perhaps as important, the world of public opinion.

Please post your thoughts below. I'm interested not only in the substance of the petition, but how we might begin to publicize it.

3 comments:

Michael Sauers said...

Jamie,

I'm so all over this one. Count me in 100%. Considering that I've had discussions with at least one of my publishers who still won't release eCopies of my books I'm ready to sign on. (Oh, and I've downloaded pirated copies anyway so they might as well try to monetize them.)

Also, and I don't know if this is too-short of a time-frame, but I'll be attending a dinner meeting with another one of my publishers at Computers in Libraries next week, and they're looking for each author to bring "one idea" on how to better market their books. Any chance we could have something presentable by then?

Michael Sauers

waltc said...

While I would say that creating an e-version of a book isn't always that simple, I'd probably sign this petition. (Dunno if Livermore Public would really want e-copies of my books, though.)

Jamie said...

Thank you, gentlemen. Let me see who else responds to this over the next few days, and we'll see how much farther we can take it.