WOW! So last week I posted ALA’s banned books information, grudgingly because if I mentioned more than once that I do not view ALA as a valuable or effective advocate for Libraries.
Then this happened: American Library Association Open Letter to Publishers on E-Book Library Lending. I highly recommend you read the whole letter but here are a couple of my favorite snippets:
“Librarians understand that publishing is not just another industry. It has special and important significance to society.”
What? Is the insinuation that publishers do not understand the significance of their own business? YIKES! This is not going to make future conversations and negotations go very smoothly–in fact, it is rather insulting to publishers. Ms. Sullivan seems to be dismissing the current pilot programs at New York Public Library.
Am afraid this is an all too typical response from Library Land where we tend to get wounded and hurt and angry, we tend to jump to conclusions that we are being disregarded and we tend to assume that we know and understand all the facts. And what’s with the victim mentality? Has anyone ever had any measure of success in negotiating by whining and being a victim?
I don’t think any of us really understand the complexity of the rapidly changing e book issues. If anyone does, it would be the publishers themselves. In fact, the Association of American Publishers provides a clear and concise response to Ms. Sullivan’s letter:
”The issues surrounding e-lending, however, are not as simple as Ms. Sullivan claims. Publishers support the concept of e-lending but must solve a breadth of complex technological, operational, financial and other challenges to make it a reality. Each publishing company is grappling individually with how to best serve the interests of its authors and readers, protect digital intellectual property rights and create this new business model that is fair to all stakeholders. And while the 9000-plus library systems’ non-profit status permits them to convene, debate and reach consensus on these issues, commercial publishers cannot likewise come together due to antitrust restrictions.”
*chuckling* I think my favorite part is that, “while the 9000-plus library systems’ non-profit status permits them to convene, debate and reach consensus on these issues, commercial publishers cannot likewise come together due to antitrust restrictions.”
AMEN to that! See, in a world where profit and bottom line ACTUALLY MATTER, there is little to no time to sit and pontificate, spend two to three weeks in conferences with each other each year to debate and philosophize about such issues. See, it’s that little thing called ANTITRUST that folks in the public sector just don’t seem to get. Feel free to do some research on antitrust law in the U.S. And while you are at it, please try to put yourself in the position of a business owner with a bottom line.
Read the entire response from the AAP here and as you do, ask yourself, do we catch more flies with honey or vinegar?
DANG. I think the thing that gets me the most is that ALA seems to be speaking for all of us. Not this little library marketer, no siree.