Friday 3 June 2011

Commercial Activities in Libraries?

So there I am in our local town library. On a Saturday it's often a busy place with art exhibitions in the foyer and the occasional local authors signing (and presumably selling) copies of their books. There's a small annex with computers and internet access, racks of leaflets and plenty of noticeboards advertising local events and activities.

Now I recently had some vistaprint postcards printed up with the new and rather impressive cover of my thriller. I'm not a graphic designer, but these were nice - all glossy and smart with quotes from reviews on the back. I was pleased with the result, which surprised me as vistaprint's last efforts with a business card were disappointing and I threw most of them away.

What better place to leave book postcards than the local library?  But no - it's "too commercial". Eh? A PR postcard for an ebook is too commercial, but it's OK for local authors to sell books and local artists to sell art?  I thought libraries were trying to survive all the cuts - surely embracing and including the community would be a good place to start? I realise that ebooks may be a politically sensitive topic with libraries, given that the big publishers want to sell them "self-destructing" ebooks, to mimic the wear-and-tear (and subsequent need to re-purchase) of a real book, but casually dismissing us indie authors is not going to win us over to their side of the argument, is it?

I'm not naming and shaming here (yet - unless you're one of my facebook friends and you can see it there). I have emailed the council and asked for their opinion and I will let you know their answer.

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