February 19, 2013

A post where I take on a troll...

So I've been obsessing over this article about author, Terry Deary.  A popular children's author has come out publicly against libraries.  In summary, he is upset that people are getting access to his books without paying for them.  He works very hard at writing his histories, they are one of the top books checked out at the library, but he sees very little in cold hard cash.

I always had in the back of my head that one day someone will just start quietly closing libraries.  No news story, no big "save the library campaign."  Just one day they will be empty and closed.
I've been harboring a fear that myself and other librarians will just one day not exist.  This article played into those fears, and sent me to the edge. An article about an author who negates the need for libraries.  What?!  These people are our champions!  I have heard from author after author how much libraries support and help promote them and their books.  Now one of them has turned.  You traitorous traitor!!!

But let's calm down...

First, he wants cash.  Understandable.  Author's are not the wealthiest, unless they hit it big like J.K. "Money Pants" Rowling.  But let's really examine this issue.  I know for a fact that libraries help the sale of books.  I personally have put money into the hands of many many many authors.  I promote books, show book trailers, gush over authors, have raffles for books (and book paraphernalia), invite authors to the library to promote their book-WHILE PAYING THEM, have sold their books at book fairs and other events, helped put on a tri-district author event that sold books and paid dozens of authors to come speak.  Not to mention all the books I buy for the library. Cold...hard...cash.

Which leads me to this scenario...
"Hey Ms. Workman I hate to read but I have to read a stupid book, what do ya got?"
"Well Timmy, how about this book by Patrick Carmen called Skeleton Creek?  It's a cool horror/ ghost story that is half book, half online.  You read this sweet story of a haunted old dredge, then come to a part in the book that tells you to watch a video online for next part.  It's scary, a good story, awesome characters, and you only have to really read half of a book.  Give it a try."
"Ok, whatever.  I hate reading."
"Here ya go Timmy, enjoy, but if you really don't like it come back after 10 pages and I'll find you something else."
"Whatever, I hate reading.  However, you do play an awesome ukulele."
"Thanks, Timmy."

2 days later...

"Um, Hi Mrs. Workman"
"What's up Timmy, what did you think?"
"Um, do you have the second one?"
"I'm sorry Timmy, I was playing my ukulele too loud?  Did you say you needed the second one?"
"Um yeah..."
"Gosh Timmy, I don't have the second one, and another kid just checked it out, so it might be awhile until I get it.  The public library is out of it too.  It is at the book store, but until you get the next one I've got another series you might like... "
"Ok, well I hate reading, but this one wasn't bad.  What else you got?"

Then he went and made his mom take him to the bookstore and buy the book!!!!  (Some of the above scenario were fictionalized).
What?  That's right.  Libraries help the sale of books.  They really do.  I started reading the Game of Thrones book series from the library, but eventually bought the books.  A series I just happened to pick up one day at the library.

So, suck it Deary.

Are libraries useless?  I don't know author of HISTORIES...did you use the interweb to find ALL OF YOUR INFORMATION, or did you probably go to the LIBRARY to do RESEARCH?!    That's right, all those primary sources, historically significant books can not be digitized overnight.  Not all of their information will can be found on the internet/ Wikipedia.  Centuries of non-fiction and fiction books are not going to be digitized by tomorrow, and then all read on an ebook.  Yes libraries are changing, yes we must adapt, yes the internet has destroyed independent bookstores and the sale of physical books.  But library patronage has gone up 20% during the last recession.  They are used by the poor, and by the affluent alike.

And they haven't caused you to earn less, but helped you earn more...respect...from children and parents who have found your lovely books on a library shelf.  Otherwise most of us wouldn't have known you existed.  That class/ person wouldn't have seen your book promoted, or recommended.
How do you think you established your audience?  How else do you think people know who you are?  Your friendly neighborhood librarian, a@#hole.


Ann said...

Well said!! I completely agree, libraries are what helps keep authors in business in the first place.

Ann said...

Well said!! I completely agree, libraries are what helps keep authors in business in the first place.