I recently stumbled across an article about a bestselling writer who wants to either stop libraries from lending out books or force them to pay a substantially larger royalty.
Terry Deary, author of the children's series Horrible Histories, lashed out in The Guardian about the irrelevancy of libraries & the harm they cause writers, editors, and publishers.
Here's what he had to say:
What's difficult for me here is that Deary is a respectable writer, and to a degree, I agree with him that writers need to protect their sources of income. Like any other employee at any other job, things get rough when the pay turns sour.
However, pointing the finger at libraries and shunning "entitled" readers is a horrendous act. His comments seem so shortsighted for a brilliant writer.
First, libraries play a very important role for many people who want to expand their intellectual horizons. There is a vast amount of both informational & fictional texts. And for some people, this is the only way they can afford to read, not only for themselves, but for their children.
Second, if we're simply trying to look at the numbers here, libraries also serve an important role in many writers' careers. See, making your money on a book isn't an evil ambition. Without the exposure from libraries, your book could go relatively unknown. And if you're the kind of writer who only cares about the money, then you must understand that anonymity & obscurity are bad things. What good is a book that brings in a gross margin, yet never sells because no one's heard of it or seen it on a shelf?
Maybe I'm the one who is shortsighted here, but I still give a thumbs-up to libraries. How about you?
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