In a message dated 11/23/08 8:14:15 PM, email@example.com writes:
> Re your comment below:
> "The argument that Constantine's Mad Russian makes is that each time
> the book is borrowed he is losing royalties on a copy sold. I don't
> know that there is a valid argument against this."
> I can think of a few.
> First, for most mid-list authors (and this includes most mystery writers),
> the bulk of their sales are not to individuals, but to libraries. If the
> libraries weren't buying their books and putting them in their collection, a
> significant portion of their income would be gone. The idea that private persons
> would buy the books if the libraries weren't making them available is
> flawed. Indeed, there are some publishers, like Avalon and Five Stat, that are set
> up primarily to provide material to libraries. If those books aren't sold
> to libraries, they're unlikely to get sold at all.
> Second, the "library equivalent to broadcasting" analogy is flawed. When a
> song is broadcast, many people are hearing it simultaneously. When a book is
> borrowed, usually only one borrower, perhaps two, are reading it. How are
> you supposed to calculate a royalty on one or two readers?
> Third, the library is the owner of the physical book, if not the
> intellectual property contained in the book, in the same sense that at individual who
> buys a book is the owner of the physical book, but not the intellectual
> property it contains. If an individual buys a book, doesn't s/he have the right to
> loan it to someone else? Does s/he owe the author a royalty every time s/he
> loans it to a friend? Why should a library?
> Finally, a book's being in a library is a benefit to the author, even if it
> doesn't pay off in immediate royalties, because it's a permanent piece of
> advertising. If a borrower takes a book out of the library, and enjoys it, s/he
> is more likely to be on the lookout for future books by the author s/he
> enjoyed after being exposed to their work through the library. That's a benefit
> that's lost to the author if the library doesn't buy the book (as is most
> likely to be the case if the library has to pay a given author a royalty every
> time one of their books is borrowed).
> Once a library (and the taxpayers who support it) are required to pay an
> author royalties, my guess is that you'll find libraries stocked only with books
> that are in the public domain. Speaking as an author, I don't think that's
> going to do me a lot of good.
great arguments. to which I'd add that libraries are one of the last
bastions of literacy. as such, it should be considered an honor to be immortalized
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