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American Library Association Fires Back at Turow's NYT Op-Ed

Maureen Sullivan, Presidet of American Library Association - peoplewhowrite

Maureen Sullivan

Earlier this week, Authors Guild President and bestselling author of Presumed Innocent Scott Turow wrote a New York Times op-ed that called a new SCOTUS ruling on copyrights a factor in “The Slow Death of the American Author.” Turow wrote: “It seems almost every player — publishers, search engines, libraries, pirates and even some scholars — is vying for position at authors’ expense,” and American Library Association President Maureen Sullivan did not like it.

In a response NYT op-ed of her own, Sullivan fired back:

First, librarians love authors. Our business is knowledge-building and imagination, and writers form the backbone of our nonprofit exercise in supporting and promoting lifelong learning.

Second, there is nothing nefarious in our goal to offer e-books to local library cardholders; rather, it is an extension of our desire to connect authors and readers regardless of format.

I think everyone involved in publishing is trying to figure out how to survive all the changes that have upended the traditional business model, and alliances continue to shift. That said, I don’t think libraries are out to get writers by loaning readers new ebook releases. Sullivan makes sure to point out, “Libraries want to buy your work at a reasonable price so that we may continue to grow readers — and writers — in the digital age.” I just think the money talks need to be had in light of all the changes so writers get compensated fairly wherever and whenever the sale is made.

You can read Sullivan’s full rebuttal “Libraries and Authors” here.


6 responses to “American Library Association Fires Back at Turow's NYT Op-Ed

  1. indytony

    OK, I feel better about pursuing a part-time career in writing again.

    Perhaps I need to negotiate some sort of contract directly with libraries?

  2. Dee

    Libraries are facilitators for literature. Get it how you live, all games are resetting themselves in preparation for newer business models as technology makes its way more and more into the big picture. The efficient hardworking will survive due to virtuous traits, unfortunately but fortunately others will be shed like snakeskin leaving room for the birth of newcomers. Nothing stays the same. Evolution is the unwanted elephant in the room for many.

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