Every year, being a reader (or reader and author) gets more…interesting. This past year two issues revolving around access and control became even more prominent.
For your perusal and consideration…
Local Book Bans
Background on the trend, including more specifics on the Florida-based group/website being used as a reference can be found in this USA Today article. (You might want to read to the end for an ironic anecdote about one particular book whose main character endures anti-Semitic attacks which has been marked to be banned because it contains anti-Semitic remarks.)
Update: Though designed for patrons served by the Boise Public Library, much of this Library Advocacy Toolkit [PDF] could be useful statewide.
Ebooks Are Not Books?
There is something called the first sale doctrine in copyright law that lets you take a physical book that you’ve purchased and, without further payments to the publisher, give it to your best friend or donate it to your local library or list it on BookMooch or sell it on eBay or put it out in your Little Free Library or even leave it in a coffee shop (along with its Bookcrossing label) to be found by a stranger.
Ebooks, not so much. The Big Five (Big Four soon?) publishers filed suit in June 2020 against the Internet Archive, a nonprofit which, at the start of the pandemic, scanned and released electronic versions of books via Controlled Digital Lending during a time when public libraries were closed. However, the complaint went further and seemed to indicate that ebooks should be classed as “a temporary, rental-only media—a new class of unownable goods, like streaming-only films from Disney or subscription-only software from Microsoft” [quoted from first article, below].
Read more about it:
- “A Book is a Book is a Book – Except When It’s an e-Book” The Nation (Aug. 23, 2023)
- “Libraries Need More Freedom to Distribute Digital Books” The Atlantic (Mar. 30, 2023)
- Opinion piece by Brewster Kahle, digital librarian and founder of the Internet Archive (Oct. 9, 2023)
- “Internet Archive Defends Digital Rights for Libraries” (Dec. 15, 2023)