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posted by Fnord666 on Thursday April 02 2020, @08:28AM   Printer-friendly
from the writers-gotta-eat dept.

Authors fume as online library "lends" unlimited free books:

For almost a decade, the Internet Archive, an online library best known for its Internet Wayback Machine, has let users "borrow" scanned digital copies of books held in its warehouse. Until recently, users could only check out as many copies as the organization had physical copies. But last week, The Internet Archive announced it was eliminating that restriction, allowing an unlimited number of users to check out a book simultaneously. The Internet Archive calls this the National Emergency Library.

Initial media coverage of the service was strongly positive. The New Yorker declared it a "gift to readers everywhere." But as word of the new service spread, it triggered a backlash from authors and publishers.

"As a reminder, there is no author bailout, booksellers bailout, or publisher bailout," author Alexander Chee tweeted on Friday. "The Internet Archive's 'emergency' copyrights grab endangers many already in terrible danger."

"It is a tarted-up piracy site," wrote author James Gleick.


Internet Archive Suspends E-Book Lending "Waiting Lists" During U.S. National Emergency

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  • (Score: 2) by Joe Desertrat on Thursday April 02 2020, @09:46PM

    by Joe Desertrat (2454) on Thursday April 02 2020, @09:46PM (#978456)

    I does seem that most good artists are compelled to make art - however, they are even more strongly compelled to eat. And if making art doesn't fund their eating habit, then they have to do something else to fund it, rather than making art.

    The problem is in the distribution system. An author usually can't sell a book to a major book publisher until they have an agent, it is very rare for an agent to have any interest in an author until a publisher is interested in their work. Before an author makes a dime, they have already fallen prey to a parasitical system. Their only hope is to land as big an advance as possible, in most cases that may be all they ever get off any particular work unless it sells at stratospheric levels, like Rowling somehow managed with her Harry Potter books. Otherwise, publishers will quickly shunt the book off to whatever format makes them the most profit and pays the fewest royalties to the author (Authors, read the fine print!) after a minimal stretch in the better royalty paying formats.

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