Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sincere Apologies to Librarians Everywhere

I have had a very, very angry (but not at all unfair) communication from a librarian regarding this post, in which I advise readers to buy a book.

I would like to offer my sincere apologies to librarians and library communities everywhere. When I suggested that readers buy the book they might have taken out of the library this week, I did not mean to sound like I was saying "always buy books! Never go to libraries!"

Librarians, not only do I love and respect you (there have been many, many librarians in my life), but I also know my publishing company (and other companies) count on you. After all, YOU buy books from us! You buy the core number of books off most print runs, and in many cases you are the reason we are able to afford to print, and the reason a book gets published at all. This I am not exaggerating.

Here's to you, librarians of the world!

35 comments:

Justus M. Bowman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Justus M. Bowman said...

I work in a library, and I forgive you; but I'm a lowly computer technician. Is my forgiveness truly enough? I spend more time reading your blog than I spend checking out books.

Susan said...

I spent fifteen wonderful years working in libraries, but I never took your previous post as meaning anything beyond, well, go buy a book. (I bought several actually...) No hurt feelings here anyhow.

Still, it's always nice to see a "Hurrah for Librarians" post, so I cheered! Thanks!

Anita said...

In a few weeks, I'm starting a new column for the Colorado Springs Gazette. The column is a book recommendation column (different from a review in that I always like the books I'm writing about).

Most of the books I'm recommending will be books available through our local library system, so in these rough times, if people cannot afford to buy the books, they can at least check them out.

However, I'm hoping the column will light up a fire for books, and people who can afford them will get out and BUY books, too.

Buying and borrowing do not have to be exclusive activities. I do both. Possibly to a fault.

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

I think librarians do a stunning job but I'm afraid I'm probably the sort they hate - although I love libraries (my current WIP starts in one...), I'd always much rather own a book than borrow one. Of course, this has its drawbacks it means I fall over books wherever I go in the house.

Jeff said...

I'm a former librarian and didn't find your post at all offensive to librarians.

It's true that a lot of people who borrow from libraries can afford to buy books but just choose not to do so for whatever reason. So you're right to encourage those people to buy a book every now & then.

Anyway, libraries are about much more than just books.

Aerin said...

Yeah, I had to re-read the previous post, and I'm still stuck on why any librarian would find it offensive. You said "this one week" - and certainly no slams against libraries.

Very classy of you to apologize, though. :)

Becky Mushko said...

I both use the library and buy books (from Amazon and my favorite independent bookstore). Plus, I buy books from the library's used book sale. And when the library sponsors an author talk, I buy the author's book.

My first job as a teenager was in the children's room of the city library. I think being around all those books must have made me want a library of my own.

Charles Gramlich said...

I didn't take your post that way either, and I've been a librarian, and Lana is one now. I buy a lot of books, but I also use libraries alot.

ChrisEldin said...

I also didn't read the post as 'either/or.' I think it's really nice of you to post this, even though I saw nothing at all wrong or offensive about your previous post.
I tend to take my kids to the libray, and buy books for myself....Happiness found in both libraries and bookstores. And Amazon.
:-)

Anonymous said...

That was a sweet apology. Though I'm a bit surprised that librarians would take umbrage to your remarks to buy a book.

Kiersten said...

I often take library books on a trial run. If I like them enough, I go buy them. If not, I'm glad that I'm not stuck with them! Libraries probably make me buy more books, because I'm not worried about wasting my money on a book I won't want to own.

Crimogenic said...

I have room in my heart for both library books and purchased books. Come on, Big hugs everybody. :)

writtenwyrdd said...

Any librarians who took your buy a book post wrongly must have forgotten how to read. In no way did your post indicate that libraries were a bad thing, or that people should avoid them. You only, after all, asked people to buy one (a) book.

It's nice to know, however, that libraries are what keeps smaller print runs going.

Anita said...

Anon 10:40,

I had to look up "umbrage". Thanks for new word. Will have to make someone angry with me so can use it.

jnantz said...

I'm a little concerned that any librarian would get his or her knickers in a twist over your post. I took it to mean, "Hey, if you normally go to the library, maybe pick one of the authors whose works you've read, and go buy one of their books instead of checking it out. The library won't miss everyone buying just one instead of checking it out, as long as they continue their patronage from there on out, and the publishing industry could really use the bump."

Well, if that isn't what you meant, then we're in trouble, 'cause I did just what I wrote above, and I still have two library books I'm working my way through.

Wiedbrauk said...

re:there have been many, many librarians in my life.
Do they know about each other? Or do they think they're the only one when really you're seeing other librarians.

Nancy Hightower said...

I wouldn't feel too bad, for you've spared libraries everywhere from the Horrible Book Borrower (that's me). I never ever ever treat my books right, breaking their spines, folding the corners, underlining (gasp), and turn them back horribly late. Your post helped to save one more library book from my evil clutches....

Heidi said...

I went out and bought a bunch of books for Christmas presents (you can't give a library card.. it doesn't work that way here), and then went and checked out a book an agent recommended to me.

I often check out books I don't know much about. If I read them and like them, I buy them. And I buy them for friends. I think it ends up working out for all parties involved!

Kim said...

I like libraries but not for fiction. For that, I need to have the crisp, new fresh smelling book in my hand. Unfortunately, in most of the libraries I've been in, the tattered, twisted spine, and crumpled pages just make me feel dirty. But, on the flip side, I don't feel the same with non-fiction books. How weird is that?!

Love your blog moonie!

Ali said...

Huh? That's like an art museum curator being offended by you telling people to support their local artist by going out and buying some art. (My God! What if everyone bought all their art and stopped going to museums?).

I have 94 library books checked out right now. If I buy a book or two, I promise I'll be no less supportive of my lovely library system.

Lisa Schroeder said...

I heart librarians!!

I buy books to support my fellow writers AND I use my library on a weekly basis. I'm sure many others who read your blog do as well. :)

Anonymous said...

Ali: 94 books checked out? Aren't you supposed to return them after you've read them?

Conduit said...

Hey, Moonie, I found your comments about print runs and library buying power interesting. I think there's a useful post in this because I've often wondered what the deal is with libraries and copyright and all that. Is the trade off for the publisher (apart from direct sales to libraries) the extra exposure this gives the author? From a hard-headed business point of view, rather than the vital cultural and educational aspects, what is the role of the library system in modern publishing?

I should point out I'm a staunch supporter of libraries. My mum worked at the regional library HQ when I was a kid, so I always got my pick of books.

PS - I'll hopefully have a little announcement to make over the next couple of days. :)

Chelle said...

First, just let me say that I absolutely love books and love to read. I love libraries, but I also love to have my own books. The first book by my now favorite author was one I borrowed from the library. I now own over forty books by that author. Libraries are great for finding new authors to buy books by.

Anonymous said...

I haven't used a library since law school. And then I only used it for research. For pleasure reading, I want to own the book. As a writer, I read and re-read and try to figure out how the amazing ones amazed me. I'm not going to run to the library every time I need to consult Jhumpa Lahiri or Annie Proulx. And as a mother, I can't tell you how many times we've misplaced a book and had to pay for it anyway. At least if I've paid for it in the first place, I can avoid the stress of the frantic search and the walk of shame to the stern librarian to let her know that, oops, I've done it again.

Anonymous said...

I think maybe the librarian in question was pmsing or something....I use libraries and I buy....and in the last few weeks I've bought about 6-7 books.....felt wonderful!

Maria said...

I love libraries. My daughter has had a library card since she was 2.

We go once a week. At least. But, yes, if I could afford it, I would always buy the book and with certain authors, I bypass the library and go out and buy it. Have to have it permanently on my shelf.

nancydrew212 said...

Libraries are a ticket to the world. We had no money when I was a child, and I used to steal books just to be able to read them. Until one day my mom discovered the library and came home with a libray card -- and saved me from a life of destitution. Libraries will always hold a special place in my heart. That said, the smell of a new book... that's all I have to say. :)

Ello said...

I love libraries and I love librarians. They are wonderful peeps!

And I think it was just an overreaction by the librarian - and I'm sure it doesn't help to hear about library cutbacks happening all over the place. I'm sure there is more there than your post. Because in his or her heart they must know that real booklovers love libraries and bookstores. I go to the library every week. I write there, use the internet, research, talk with the librarians and ask for advice, and of course check out books. Do you know that there is never a moment that I dont have a library book in my house? And I don't even mind if I pay fines because it goes to support my library.

B. Nagel said...

But what of the smell of an old book that generations of people have read and loved (or hated)? I do love the smell of old books, leather bindings, etc. I borrow books from the library almost exclusively. Of course, with what I get paid for working in one, I can't afford to buy many books. But even when I was a student with "disposable income" (credit cards and irresponsibility), I borrowed. I guess I am the barnacle on the bottom of you readership. :(

Word Verification: story. How freaking cool!

ClaireD said...

fyi, the librarian was just having a giggle. you are all very serious. also, this person:

Anonymous said...
I think maybe the librarian in question was pmsing or something....I use libraries and I buy....and in the last few weeks I've bought about 6-7 books.....felt wonderful!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008 5:59:00 PM

sucks. end of that.

- the librarian (un-umbraged)
xxx

Carl in Charlotte said...

I'm a librarian too. It's a great big world, with plenty of room for bookstores and libraries. Have you ever heard of one that seriously cut into the business of another? Booksotres may close because of competiton with other bookstores (or chains) or libraries may lose funding, but has B and N ever closed a library? Or has the library put a Borders out of business?

Julie Weathers said...

I'm so sorry this was taken the wrong way. Since my computer died, I have been going to the library to check emails every few days. While waiting for the computer, I browse books. While browsing books I noticed the book nook where they sell books to help support the library.

I bought 25 very nice books to ship to the soldiers in Iraq. I noticed a new Bernard Cornwell book and it's predecessor in the series, I really think I need to own.

There are so many times I try something out in the library first to see if I want to invest in the author and oftentimes, I find a book in the bookstore and then head to the library to get the others in the series.

I think buying books and frequenting libraries is a mutally beneficial relationship. I doubt I'm the only one who does this.

Julie

TerriClark said...

I am a librarian and YA author and I took no offense. I know people buy keepers and use the library to discover new reads. There's room for both. ;)