New Zealand Author Claims Libraries Are Involved In Grand Theft By Loaning Books

from the this-has-to-be-parody,-right? dept

Via Family Holloway, I came across a short opinion piece by Brian Edwards bitching about how libraries are facilitating book theft. At first, I honestly thought it was a joke or a parody, to make fun of those who complain about online “piracy,” but I actually think he’s serious. I’d never heard of Edwards, but apparently he’s a big media personality and author in New Zealand. And, boy, does he hate the fact that libraries don’t pay him every time someone checks out a book:

What pisses me off as an author is that for every person who buys your book, dozens of other bludgers get to read it for nothing. Let me give you an example. A few years back I wrote a biography of Helen Clark. It took about six months to write and during that time I had effectively no other income. The book retailed at $45. On the standard author’s royalty of 10%, I got $4.50 for every copy sold. Helen, Portrait of a Prime Minister sold 9,000 copies, a reasonable if not spectacular figure in the New Zealand market. So I got $40,500 before tax for my six month’s work.

I’m not complaining about that either. But…

Every public library in New Zealand bought at least one copy of Helen. And they lent each of those copies to other people to read for… nothing. Last year there were still 227.4 copies of the book in New Zealand public libraries. If each of those copies was taken out by one person a month, that’s 2,729 people who read but didn’t pay for my book — my six month’s work. At $4.50 per unsold copy, that’s a theoretical loss of income to me in one year of $12,280.

While he later admits that not all of those people (and he made up the numbers anyway…) would have bought the book, but them immediately follows that statement up with this doozy:

But there’s a principle here: when one person buys a book and lends it to another person to read, they effectively become an accessory to theft. Their generous act amounts to little more than stealing the author’s work. When a public library buys a book and lends it to thousands of other people to read, it’s grand theft copyright and really no different from illegally downloading music or movies or copying CDs or DVDs on your computer.

For someone who positions himself as an expert, he seems to have almost no understanding of the purpose of copyright law or of the public library systems. In the end, he says that libraries should pay him 1/4 of the usual book sale royalty per loan of his book. So, in his case, $1.13 every time the book is loaned out. Apparently, he doesn’t quite realize that he’s basically asking the public libraries, funded by public tax dollars, to subsidize him. The original Holloway link above does a nice job schooling Edwards, and then discusses things in more detail with Edwards in the comments — though Edwards seems unwilling to budge on his claims of libraries being theives, or to understand basic common sense. Someone points out to him that if he bought a chainsaw, it would be ridiculous to stop him from lending it to someone, and his response is: “There is no intellectual property in a chainsaw.”

Edwards also seems fully enamored with the myth that copyright law is based on some sort of “labor theory” — that the more time you put in, somehow the more money you deserve to get out. While I’m unfamiliar with New Zealand copyright law, in the US, such theories have been widely discredited in the courts repeatedly. And, of course, they make no sense when viewed alongside the actual purpose of copyright law. Edwards seems to believe that copyright is welfare for creators, rather than an incentive to create.

In the meantime, perhaps the public libraries of New Zealand can do Mr. Edwards a favor next time he publishes a book: don’t buy it. Ditto for anyone who might think of lending it… er… I mean, being an accessory to a crime in distributing copyrighted materials.

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Comments on “New Zealand Author Claims Libraries Are Involved In Grand Theft By Loaning Books”

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william (profile) says:

pay the library first

Brian Edwards must have used the library during his 6 month to research for the book.

Why didn’t him “pay” the library for all the books that he read and all the resource he used first before bitching about the library not paying him?

Oh wait, you say that your tax covered that? But it’s not enough for paying the “royalties” for the “authors” of the books that the library stocks. I say about 50% of your new book’s usual royalties to cover the library’s cost would be about right. Don’t forget they have to manage the books, not just store them, and also they have to provide all the other materials, not just books.

When you pay your dues, then we’ll talk about your “book borrowing royalty”.

PS. Judging from his opinion, his intellect must be quite poor. No good books is going to come out of a poor mind like that. Kind of reminding us of another not-so-intelligent author, yeah, I am looking you, Helprin.

mertz says:

Re: Pray for an update

i hope consumers win, but i don’t think consumers will (hopefully we can just outnumber the opposition), because we will still consume despite the $cost (although it seems like that’s pov has been battered down for a couple years now)and in the end the creators and even the consumers will win because the relationship continues. but apparently consumers are too cheap and stingy in this me first society where we want what we think is right and nothing else. i can completely comprehend what brian edwards is saying without the crazy comments. he’s not making enough money or he’s not making the amount of money he feels is rightly deserved. he made it. he worked hard. he should be paid. so there’s obviously a problem there because some way instead of contributing directly to his pockets, consumers are taking away from his net income/possible income and that hurts. so i say we do him a favour and come up with other ways that he can make that money from his creations/products (be easy with the f brian edwards suggestions). here’s mine…don’t buy his books. next. there’s plenty of writers out there who are just happy people are reading their shit and buying their shit in the first place. lets not forget the library buys these books first, so some money is already going somwhere.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Pray for an update

“he’s not making enough money or he’s not making the amount of money he feels is rightly deserved”

Sucks to be him. I wish I could make $40,000 for 6 months of work. Hell, I wish I made $40,000 a year. But no, I had to go and live in reality, where I’m not payed nearly what I’m worth (hell, who is?).

mertz says:

Re: Re: Re: Pray for an update

lol. yeah we don’t hit the 40 thousand in the 6 months mark either. i worked 1 job for a year and made 10 thousand bucks. i basically had to sell my art and work two other jobs. i know how it is to be struggling, like how he did when he was writing in the zone, for money, and not working a bunch of other jobs to supplement his livelihood. sometims i don’t understand people.

Ima Fish (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Thanks for the correction. However, Brian Edwards is still wrong about his chainsaw analysis.

What he’s basically saying is that there is a consumption/use right associated with copyright. That he should be paid for every use of his copyrighted material.

Why should patent holders not have the same right?

When you buy a chainsaw you’ve paid your patent use right. If you let someone else use those patents, the patent holder should should be paid again for that additional use.

Basically, the guy borrowing the chainsaw is using someone else’s patent without paying a dime. That’s grand theft, right?

Richard (profile) says:

No different

Borrowing books is really no different from illegally downloading music or movies or copying CDs or DVDs on your computer.

Exactly – which is why there really isn’t anything wrong with downloading either.

The problem is the slippery slope of copyright thinking which is why my feeling is that it’s best not to get on the slope in the first place!

:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

Ben Franklin

Benjamin Franklin (founding father guy, innovator and inventor of LOTS of stuff) came up with the concept of the public library (in it’s present format) and as this whining guy has done not a single iota of actually contributing to society (especially when compared to Ben) then he’s obviously an ignoramus.

Solution: Attempt to educate. If education is impossible; remove capability of passing on genes & ideas.

Tor (profile) says:

If one ignores the obviously stupid parts of his text for a moment I think he has one good point: if there are to be any kind of payments through this Author’s Fund then it’s more reasonable to base the distribution on the number of times a book is lended rather than on how many books the libraries keep in store.

It doesn’t mean that the total sum of money necessarily needs to grow or shrink with the lending, just that the available money is distributed according to the interest of the people lending the books. I mean, why compensate authors whose books nobody reads?

This is how the system works for example here in Sweden. Basically, authors get 11 cent for each copy lended – a system that only applies to Swedish authors (or if it’s language dependant – I’m not sure which). The politicians are however very clear about this being a subsidy for the cultural sector and not a compensation per se.

ChurchHatesTucker (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“This is how the system works for example here in Sweden. Basically, authors get 11 cent for each copy lended – a system that only applies to Swedish authors (or if it’s language dependant – I’m not sure which). The politicians are however very clear about this being a subsidy for the cultural sector and not a compensation per se.”

What? The cultural subsidy is the copyright monopoly. Why would you add another one on top of that?

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:


Coming from a smaller economy, I can tell you that there are rational arguments for subsidizing the local culture above and beyond US levels.

The reasoning is that in Sweden they have, what, 10M peeps? Many of whom speak English and can consume English media. An agument can be made that if they want to incentivize domestic, local language artists, the 10M global audience for Svenska lit is probably not the goldmine that the Anglo market offers. The Olga Book Club probably pales to the Oprah Club.

So they decide to throw a little sweetener in the mix. If that’s their choice, and it is presented as a deliberate subsidy, so be it.

English authors, with a massive global reach, require no similar additional stimulus. Hope that answers “Why would you add another one on top of that?”

Tor (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“That sounds kind of racist to me. You must be so proud.”

No it’s not racist. It’s nationalistic. I think it’s quite common for small countries to susidize the people who write books and produce movies in the native language. Of course one may feel that this if unfair too, but remember that it’s not a compensation but a national subsidy. Can you give any examples of where a state uses their tax money to subsidize other countries? The whole system of subsidies is of course both very nationalistic and protectionistic, and I think it is in your country too.

One can object to that on liberal grounds, but calling it racist seems like hyperbole to me.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

No it’s not racist. It’s nationalistic.

Racism and this type of nationalism are very similar. Both are based on the idea of discriminating against people based on some group they were born into.

Can you give any examples of where a state uses their tax money to subsidize other countries?

Except, that’s not what were talking about, is it? We’re talking about Sweden discriminating against people withing it’s own borders based on national origin. Your attempt to spin it otherwise makes me think you know it’s wrong.

And by the way, you should check out the amount of foreign aid the US provides to other countries. Sweden? Ha! What a joke. No wonder you think no country does.

The whole system of subsidies is of course both very nationalistic and protectionistic, and I think it is in your country too.

Copyright laws in my country apply equally to everyone regardless of race, creed, religion, gender or national origin.

One can object to that on liberal grounds, but calling it racist seems like hyperbole to me.

It still sounds similar to me.

Tor (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

There are different types of nationalism. Caring for the preserval of national traditions and the national language is one form. It doesn’t necessarily exclude people based on where they were born as long as foreign people are welcomed to take part in these traditions and learn the language – and they are here.

Now, like most swedes I’m a very unnationalistic guy. I value traditions to a certain degree, but I don’t see any point in linking it to the nation or tossing around silly nationalistic symbols.

We’re talking about Sweden discriminating against people withing it’s own borders based on national origin.

There’s no such discrimination in this area. If you are a Swedish citizen you can get a share of these susidies irrespectively of where you were born. The same goes for foreign citizens writing in the Swedish language. A big part of the money also goes to translators.

And by the way, you should check out the amount of foreign aid the US provides to other countries. Sweden? Ha! What a joke. No wonder you think no country does.

That’s hilarious. The one who needs to check it out is you. According to this Wikipedia-article Sweden’s foreign aid is 5 times (!!) as large than that of the US expressed as a share of GNP. A bit south of Stockholm there is a small Swedish city that has received more Iraqi refugees than all of the US and Canada combined – and now we’re talking absolute numbers. Surveys show that Sweden is one of the EU countries whose citizens are most positive about including Turkey in the European Union (just compare it to France and you’ll realize that this says quite a lot about my people).

Copyright laws in my country apply equally to everyone regardless of race, creed, religion, gender or national origin.

They do in my country to. The culture subsidies are something else and have nothing to do with copyright. They just happen to be based on lending statistics.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Anon Coward:

“Swedish” refers to a nationality and also a language, but not a race.

A government offering incentives that only apply to its nationals is not racist.

Thus, neither Tor, not the Swedish government can logically be accused of racism from what is written above. Find something real to get angry about. No need to invent incidents of racism when credible ones can easily be found.

You argue below that the US would not discriminate in such a manner.

Isn’t there some kind of current debate here in the US about providing subsidized health care? And one of the hot-button issues is whether the country should provide health services to non-citizens (Mexicans)? As I recall, almost nobody (D or R) is in favor of government money being used that way. Ergo, by your logic, most Americans are racist.

Tor (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Another good example is the car industry. When the US state bails out the car industry you can be sure that they take extra care that the deals they provide protect jobs in the US rather than in other countries where those companies operate. Sweden’s two biggest car companies happened to be owned by GM and Ford so this behaviour was very clear.

Now I don’t see any reason to call that racist. It’s certainly nationalistic and protectionistic and it hurts free trade which is bad for all of us in the long run, but it’s not that surprising.

Anonymouse Zorro says:

To Brian Edwards:

Amazing! I love your satire! The subtle irony you use to illustrate ludicrousness is superb. Have you considered writing for The Onion? You should!

Your gift of stating an ill-informed illogical idea in an impassioned manner–almost as though you believed such tripe–is astounding!

I beg you, please do not let this gift of yours go to waste; we need more satire illustrating just how asinine the present ‘entitlement’ beliefs about copyright have become.

Thank you.

mertz says:

Re: I love you, Brian Edwards

i’ve heard a lot of authors speak…and although some of them might feel this way, i haven’t heard someone just come out and say that I AM STEALING their income. it makes me so sad. i buy books and i use the library, granted i don’t know who this guy is and have never read anything from him, but now i’m probably never going to read anything from him. i wonder what he thinks about socialism and capitalism, because this guy talks as if he’s never been in a library or used a library or gone to school. it’s amazing. he must have never got anything for free or paid a reduced price on anything before. i wonder if he’s a black card carrier…well obviously not since he provides the money numbers for us and then goes on to do some nice averages.

mertz says:

i was listening to an interview on the radio last night, because there’s an upcoming reading festival coming up, where the head of libraries in the country said that the library actually pays into a publishing fund negotiated by the libraries and the publishing industry reps. so everytime i sign something out the library makes a payment on my behalf, and i guess when i take something out past the due date i pay fines that go to the library. it’s a freaking system. what is this dude complaining about. i use the library everyday and i’m quite thankful for it. aside from that i also buy a lot of books. i’ve never heard of this guy but now i know who he is because of his comments. thanks for posting this.

Christopher Gizzi (profile) says:

It's About Time!

NOTE: I hope the sarcasm is obvious. If its not, I’ll work on it for the next time.

I, for one, applaud Mr. Edwards for touching on a topic that, I’m sure, many of his fellow authors feel is important to them: maintaining the elitist class.

See I agree with Mr. Edwards that educational and cultural pieces of art in all its forms should be limited to those who can afford to pay for it. The freeloading and theft perpetrated by libraries & museums across the globe must stop now.

I submit to you that it is perfectly normal to exclude the non-payers from receiving any educational or cultural experiences. Can’t afford all art? Too, bad. Can’t afford any one piece? Sorry. In fact, I suggest that society as a whole is better off NOT having the very young, the very old, and the poor – who generally can’t afford culture such as the kind Mr. Edwards is attempting to bestow on us rich elite who clearly recognize the value in paying for such artistry – because they might learn of human rights some say are inalienable. Should they read more than they should, they might rise against us and force us to give things away for free against our will!

I believe those who would consider enjoying a book for free are the worst kind of person; “libraries” are guilty of crimes against humanity. When we live in a world where those who can’t pay for culture, don’t get to enjoy it, I’ll be happy just like Mr. Edwards.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: humor is not his long suit

Edwards’ piece, assuming it’s tongue-in-cheek, is not as funny as Lore Sj�berg’s Fire, work with me.

While I haven’t seen it much lately, the “fire” example has been presented here on Techdirt several times over the past few years. OH MY GOSH! DID LORE STEAL THAT IDEA FROM HERE?!?! THIEF! THIEF! GET A ROPE!

ChimpBush McHitlerBurton says:

Of Chainsaws and Chumps...

“A few years back I wrote a biography of Helen Clark. It took about six months to write and during that time I had effectively no other income. The book retailed at $45. On the standard author’s royalty of 10%, I got $4.50 for every copy sold. Helen, Portrait of a Prime Minister sold 9,000 copies, a reasonable if not spectacular figure in the New Zealand market. So I got $40,500 before tax for my six month’s work.”

So, let’s see…As a writer, I know that you may have taken 6 months to research and write that book, but you sure as hell didn’t work 10 hours a day, 5 days a week. I know too many people who work HARD jobs, putting in 50 hours a week to get $40,000 A YEAR, not every 6 months. I can see you sipping tea half the time TALKING about the book you are writing and patting yourself on the back.

Give it a rest. If you are too stupid to understand the value of the Library system to society, then I can’t imagine your books have much worth reading.



mertz says:

i don’t know if i can continue because this will make me too sad. i’m such a criminal. i buy books and lend them to my friends and FAMILY. that must mean that schools are stealing books too because you know what some schools do, they don’t ask their students to buy all the textbooks required for the curiculums, some schools buy books EN MASS, and then you know the other criminal thing they do, they LEND their bought texts to STUDENTS, and the neat thing is some of them lol recycle by using the for many years and millions/billions of students. and yet they still en mass, buy texts, give them to students, students move on but the texts still stay (or they buy new ones), and it’s an entire system. so these schools are also stealing too right…but these schools are run by intelligent adults who teach people to obey the law and rules, etc…so i don’t think they would really condone stealing. i can understand what he’s saying but you can tell he needs a hug. he needs a smile, a hug and maybe for someone to lend him a book. maybe he needs to spend some time at the library. great things those libraries…granted they’re moving online now so you don’t really need to physcially be in that space, but the library is one of the best things in this world.

Anonymous Coward says:

Here’s another thought…

Whenever you create something, invent something or have an idea, you either:
A) share it with the rest of humanity, thus becomming a part of our collective knowledge and all that has brought us, such as housing, proscription drugs and television, or
B) be an ass, keep it to yourself and go live in a cave, eat mushrooms and look at charcoal drawings.

Pickle Monger (profile) says:

People will pay for good product

I know it’s been said and said and repeated again by authors and commenters on this blog all of who are smarter than me but since I am feeling particularly self-centred this afternoon I will repeat it. People will pay for a good product. Few years back I bought a book by Christopher Moore called “A Dirty Job”. Having never heard of the author before I was totally a random gamble – I just really dug the cover. It turned out to be one of the best works of fiction I have ever read. I loaned my copy of the book (for free) to most of my friends all of whom liked it so much that they ended up buying copies of the book for themselves. Even though they had read it already. For free. People will pay for the product if they feel a connection to it, if it means something to them.

mertz says:

Re: People will pay for good product

he’s the guy who wrote lamb, fluke and the angel book. i agree. i didn’t know who he was either till i was working at a bookstore and one of my co-workers gave me the book (which i read for free in the store, borrowed it from the library, bought one for myself, gave it away to the 2nd hand bookstore), saw the cover and had to read what was inside.

Tor (profile) says:

Understanding the secondary market and the purpose of copyright

He also wrote: “As for the second-hand market, while it’s nice to know your book has a second life, there’s no financial return in it for the author.”

Clearly he doesn’t understand how removing possibility to resell a product would affect the price of the new product.

Here’s another interesting respond by Brian Edwards to someone who didn’t feel Edwards understood copyright:
“You really are an arrogant bugger. Not only have I been involved in publishing for more than 40 years, I have written and lectured on the subject of copyright. I know what it is. And for all your high-minded rationalisations, the principal function of copyright is to vest in the originator of a work the sole right to reproduce (or perform) that work or to authorise others to do so. I already agreed that what public libraries do is not technically a breach of copyright. But the effect is the same as reproduction.”

So he seems to think that the primary function of copyright is to… give authors copyright.

Chris Rhodes (profile) says:

Bad Comparison

Edwards seems to be missing the fact that copyright is about . . . copying.

A library lending a book to someone is no different from me lending a CD I own to a friend. It’s mine, I paid for it, and I can sell it/loan it/trade it if I wish.

To make his comparison with illegal music-sharing valid, the library would have to be making photocopies of his book to lend.

Tor (profile) says:

Re: Bad Comparison

“Edwards seems to be missing the fact that copyright is about … copying.”

I’m not sure how this works in the US, but at least in my country copyright law covers both copying, renting, and lending. Take for example the companies that let you rent videos. They need a special deal in order to do that, they cannot just go out in the store and buy a DVD and use that in their store.

The libraries have an explicit exemption from these rules.

Elder-Geek (profile) says:

He knew the score

Any author living since the time of the printing press knows the score. If someone buys a book, they can lend it to a friend to read and you will “lose” a sale.

So at this point the author has a choice. Decide to invest their time writing a book knowing that the income they get from it will only come from those who actually purchase it. Some people who will have read that “loaned” copy will be happy having read it once and will never read it again. Others will want to buy a copy. So sometimes a “loaned” copy hurts their sales, sometimes it helps their sale.

If they don’t think they will make enough money from the sales of their book. They can spend six months digging ditches, flipping burgers, or writing a book that would generate the kind of revenue they would like to see, even with “loaning” happening.

Any author living since the time of Benjamin Franklin knows the score. In addition to friends loaning a book to friends, they have to deal with libraries loaning out books. Again, some read it at the library and never feel a need to buy it. Others won’t buy it but recommend it to friends who do.

If you don’t think the book will turn a profit at this point. Don’t write it. He knew from day one this is how the system works. If he does not want patrons of the library “freeloading” off of his work and research. Then he should not have written the book in the first place.

Anonymous Coward says:

Copy- Privilege not Copyright

This is what I don’t get. He has already been paid for everyone of his books by his publisher. Does he mean to say that he should be paid a second time? This is the most confusing thing about copyright and his analogy regarding the chainsaw illustrates it.

If he is claiming that his intellectual property – his writing – is in some way different to the intellectual property of a patent holder I’m not sure how he can explain his reasoning.

He has sold his intellectual property to a publisher (regardless of the terms) and they have produced a product exactly the same as the chainsaw has been produced from the intellectual property of the patent holder/s.

That’s the simple reality of the situation. What happens to the product after that is none of his business as far as I’m concerned. I can understand that most authors and other creative individuals have very strong feelings about their work but it doesn’t change reality, it just makes it hard for them to accept it.

Think of how many authors get upset by the movies made from their books. Some won’t even allow the rights to be sold and that’s their right but you just can’t hold onto an ‘idea’ for ever which is why copyright should be called ‘copy-privilege’!

It’s reward for your effort, yes, but it doesn’t infer that ideas (no matter how well expressed) exist without external inspiration and therefore don’t exist in a vacuum.

Vincent Clement says:

Re: What a cock-knocker

Exactly. Perhaps he should be complaining to the government for having a standard royalty. He probably could have made more money selling the book digitally or entering in an agreement with a publisher.

I’ll ignore the fact that over $1,000 of his $40,500 in sales came from libraries purchasing his book.

Richard (profile) says:

NZ Public Lending Right

The guy already has the thing he’s asking for. Is he too stupid to register for it?


The Public Lending Right for New Zealand Authors scheme was established by the Public Lending Right for New Zealand Authors Act 2008.

The act set up a statutory scheme to provide annual payments to New Zealand authors in recognition of the fact that their books are available for use in New Zealand Libraries. The scheme replaces the now disestablished New Zealand Authors’ Fund and transfers administration from Creative New Zealand to the National Library of New Zealand.

The purpose of the Public Lending Right scheme is to compensate New Zealand authors for the use of their books in public libraries.
Authors are entitled to receive annual compensation based on the number of copies of their title/s determined to be held in New Zealand public libraries.This is determined by a survey undertaken by The National Library.

An author must register with the scheme each year in order to be eligible for payment. The registration period is between 1 January and 30 April each year, any payment owing is made in mid December.

mertz says:

is he serious?

how can this guy say something like this statement (will just copy and link below because i don’t want to put words in his mouth)and what the hell information is he basing it on. so he’s talking about cost right because he’s not really talking about ownership, but ownership for cost. so if i sell a paiting for x amount of dollars that should be able to sustain me? i mean he’s a writer…yet he can’t even say anything relevant about artists. ugh. he’s responding to another commenter.

September 24th, 2009 at 13:33

“Do Rita Angus or Dick Frizell complain that their work is up on display at Te Papa? I don’t even have to pay them a cent to enjoy what they’ve made, but I guess Te Papa spends quite a bit to acquire them on my behalf.

Most of this seems reasonable, Timothy. Two points, however.

When an artist sells a painting, it seems to me that he/she transfers ownership of that painting entirely to the purchaser, who may do with the painting what they think fit – show it to lots of other people, exhibit it, lend it to others to exhibit, re-sell it, hide it in the basement, destroy it. The price of the painting reflects this. This one sale will or hopefully should reimburse the painter for his work. The author requires volume sales to survive.

As to whether reading a library book encourges the reader to buy copies of the author’s other work, I think it’s much more likely that that library-user will look for the author’s other books in the library. I went through a Thomas Keneally phase some years ago and read virtually everything he’d written. Got them all delivered by the Auckland Central Library to the Leys Institute in Ponsonby. Wonderful. Cost me a dollar though. Shocking!”‘

mertz says:

Re: is he serious?

and then he does this more than once responding to a commenter where he uses the fine artist as an example because apparently based on what he knows (i wonder why he doesn’t mention where he got his information from or is it just his opinion or is he just pulling this out of thin f’n air. we are not all damien hirsts or dan brown who he even happens to mention in his post. he’s an artist, a creater. he works in business and he’s an AUTHOR, yet what he’s saying just points out that he might not know what he’s talking about when it comes to artist. ugh. it’s so furstrating because his intent can entirely be in the right place but the language he’s using isn’t alright. i mean someone pointed out that he uses bludgers which he admitted isn’t appropriate but that he’s sticking with theft, but the words he’s using to make his case aren’t the right ones. he’s making the case that because fine artists own their products they, unlike authors, have a greater oppertunity of selling their art and SURVIVING from it. really? really? like what? okay i understand that he’s making genralizations, uhm and that there is a degree of creating a sustainable livelihood from art more than books, because art is expensive (assumed) and books aren’t (set at fized price, often marked down…i think it depends on what art products he’s talking about really uhm because you can have art that is inexpensive just like you can also have cheap books…i feel like he’s comparing two different things/degrees of uhm sellability (not a word)/value (maybe better term)) because a single art sale of single product will net the artist more than an author gets with a book…so i think he’s right (willing to give him that credit)when he’s talking about opperunity for point of sale and value of product, but another commenter pointed out to him that he needs to instead of lashing out at fans or libraries (because he clearly is trying to figure out a way he can net more money…maybe because he needs it, or maybe he’s taking on a matter like lily allen because he feels there’s something wrong in the system (which he mentions a little when he talks about uhm libraries haveing a robin hood complex, shifting money from the not so poor to the poor like all people who use libraries and read are poor. wow.)and i think it’s good that he’s passionate about something. writers have been and are getting shafted. lol. thanks for stating the obvious and welcome to the starving artist community that you are already a part of (unless on top of your art job you have another means of making money))take it up with publishers.

Cody Jackson (profile) says:

I don't bitch that I'm not paid for my book

I wrote a book last year and, though it would be nice to make money off it, I haven’t. Because the book is about programming, the market is pretty saturated. When I contacted a publisher about printing it, I was told there just wasn’t a market for an intro to programming book like mine. This is after I spent 9+ months researching, writing, and creating code examples.

So, I self-published it online as a free ebook, even putting it on The Pirate Bay and Mininova as a torrent. It’s been downloaded more than 6000 times and I have received no money from it. Naturally it would be nice to make some money but I feel it’s more important to share the knowledge and give back to the Internet community where I learned to program in the first place.

Maybe when I revise the book I will set up some way to make it financially beneficial to me. But, I certainly don’t think people are stealing from me; I borrowed plenty of ideas from other programming books and web sites.

And that’s where Mr. Edwards runs into a vicious cycle: in his world, would I be responsible for paying the authors of my research data, especially web sites? Obviously any library books should be providing a cut to the authors but what about all the “free” tutorials on the web? I would suspect that Mr. Edwards feels that ad-supported sites aren’t enough and anyone that gained knowledge from a site should chip in with a donation, just to ensure the author can make a living.

I wrote my book on my own time; I have a “real” job in the military. As a matter of fact, I wrote my book while deployed to Iraq; I didn’t have a nice, cozy little house to stay in while writing. It may not be a professional book with paid copy editors, but it was a work of love, if you will, not greed.

It would be nice to be paid to spend just a couple hours a day writing and then do whatever I wanted for the rest of the time, because that’s exactly what I did while writing my book. I’m not a professional but there is simply no way someone can spend a full work-day writing. In reality, Mr. Edwards probably made $40000 for 4-6 hours a day of work for 6 months. Not that bad.

Simply put, I feel no sympathy for these so-called “struggling artists”. If you aren’t making enough money, then get a real job and write in your spare time. I did, in a war zone even, so it can be done.

mertz says:

Re: I don't bitch that I'm not paid for my book

he’s not struggling. he has another job (he mentions he’s a consultant or something in a response to a commenter), and he is a library user as well as he thinks the idea of the library is a good one, although he feels that it is a “noble” institute, it is flawed and he goes on to explain this, but it’s already stated here a bit. he mentioned how he took out a bunch of books and wasn’t charged for them or something like that but that he would gladly pay if there was a charge. he seems like a pretty legitamate human being.

that is complete b.s. that there’s no interest for a beginnners guide to programming or an intro to programming. i was at the library last week searching for books because i don’t have a starting point. i found a couple of books and the dummies guide to programming and i will read it when i have time, but i went to the library because i don’t know where i need to start off, and i can’t just go to the bookstore and buy a book. if this dummies guide is good (will probably skim it b/c i’m busy)i will go and actually purchase it because i need to own it. i also worked at a big bookstore and yeah the market is saturated (lots of programming books) and that publisher is right in that aspect but if your beginners book is good, then it can’t be just like all the other books on intro to programming or getting started or w/e titles authors use.

Cody Jackson (profile) says:

Re: I don't bitch that I'm not paid for my book

Clarification: I didn’t mean to imply that libraries need to be paying the authors directly every time the book is checked out.

When the libraries purchase their books, obviously the publisher gets the money and then doles it out to the author. Whatever the author’s contract states is what he is paid; no “double dipping” by having extra cash every time someone borrows a book.

I believe libraries have the same sort of contracts as movie rental stores: they pay a different price vs. standard retail, usually more to compensate for the payback in rentals. Hence, I suspect authors actually get a larger paycheck when libraries buy their books.

Chargone (profile) says:

personally, i’ve never heard of this guy…

that said, i don’t read biographies much and have no interest in stuff about Helen Clark, nor a good memory or names.

that aside, most libraries in this country are owned by either city or district councils. local government. we also have a unitary system, functionally they can only do what the national government lets them [but the national government doesn’t interfere with them much most of the time].

if you’re not from the appropriate district, there IS typically a fee of some description to use the library.

most people who buy your book? probably never heard of it before encountering it at a library.

the libraries are payed for by the rates [local utilities and amenities taxes, basically], there for, technically, what’s actually happened is that every citizen of that district owns a part share in the book. they can go read it whenever they like because they’re part owner.

some of them then go buy their own copies so they don’t have to share.

the way i figure it, the authors should LOVE libraries. libraries = almost guaranteed sales [to the libraries themselves] as long as you make them aware your book exists [or it seems that way, given the amount of utter garbage that floats around there with the good stuff]. they also = free advertising.

this argument annoys me no end. books on my shelf? the vast majority that is not manga i found via a scanlation site or random gifts by relatives when i was a kid? found at the library.

libraries do not cost yous sales. they result in people who couldn’t afford your book anyway or have never heard of you actually becoming aware of it’s existence, and yours, and ensure the information contained there in is available and accessible as part of the local knowledge base.

you know, all the arguments people put forward against libraries periodically,here at least, can often be answered with ‘so… you’re rather they DIDN’T pay you for the books?’ hehehe.

yay for big rant.
I’m a fan of books, libraries, and so on. True education is Win.
i am not a fan of stupid people, ignorance, or avoidable error.
thus the above.

Anon says:

Anyone that favors people paying royalties every time they check out a book from a library to the author has no idea what a public library is.

Public libraries are taxpayer-funded institutions. Every time a library owns a book, the public is collectively giving money to purchase it. Everyone in the community ALREADY owns the book.

Screw copyright law, and screw anyone who supports this.

Dustin (profile) says:

Let’s do a little math. I don’t know about everyone else but when I make a book purchase I tend to buy books I’ll hang on until the day I day. So let’s say that this book is one of them. Let’s also say that a library loans out books for one week (my local average).

For this book, over the estimated duration of time I’d own it, we’re looking at a value of $0.013 per week. He’s complaining that he’s not getting paid $8.74 for the same time period.

That’s a 650x markup over the value of the book. If he gets his way that’s possibly the best markup I’ve ever seen.

To bad the anonymous commenter is right when they say that, because these books are payed for with taxpayer money, we already collectively own them. In which case charging for lending would be pretty much the same thing as requiring all home bookshelves be converted to pay-per-use vending machines.

Steve says:

All notions of copyright aside, it’s libraries (both public and academic) that keep the publishing industry humming along by buying books at a steady rate.

In fact, it’s unlikely that Edwards’ own book would have even found a publisher if it weren’t for the fact that libraries make regular orders of books like his, which in turn means that publishers can afford to publish them. If he — and most other authors for that matter — had to rely on the book-buying individual to make up their numbers, they’d be truly sorry.

This is also why cutting library acquisition budgets is such a serious problem. Not only does the library lose the ability to serve its patrons, it also loses the ability to play an important role in the publishing industry — that is, to provide a market for books that should be written and read but otherwise wouldn’t be profitable and to buy books so that people who cannot afford to read them can.

JM says:

No different

Actually…there IS a difference.

the deal with Piracy is that you’re making a copy of it and keeping the original while giving away the copies. Here you’re loaning out the original one at a time. It’s not like they’re photocopying the thing or something

Just like you SHOULD be able to loan out or sell a video game to another person, you should be able to loan out or even sell an already bought book.

This is why DRM pisses me off to no…freaking….end.

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