Libraries are magical places. I am absurdly lucky in Oxford to spend a great deal of time in some of the most remarkable reading rooms in the world, from the eccentric rotunda of the Radcliffe Camera to thousands of the world's earliest printed texts in Duke Humfrey's Reading Room. Libraries are doorways for the mind, paths into the heart of the sum of human knowledge, journeys through the greatest minds that have ever lived and everything that has been conjured therein. Yet, despite Oxford's Bodleian being a legal deposit library, with a right to every title published in the UK, increasingly libraries are gateways only onto a partial vista, one that lacks many indie voices. There are many ways in which the landscape of ideas we leave the future will be incomplete, but ensuring our presence in libraries is an incredibly important way of mitigating that incompleteness.
Indies in Libraries
So it is great to be able to start with news that Draft2Digital have finally added library access to their toolkit for indies. D2D have partnered up with Overdrive, offering authors 46.75% of list price. And the perfect counterpart is this piece on No Shelf Required, advising librarians how they can get indie titles into their catalogues.
What Amazon has Added and What Kobo has Taken Away
We recently brought you news of the beautiful ebooks you could create using Vellum software. Now Amazon have got in on the act, bringing us Kindle Create. Kindle Create enables writers to format books manuscripts for kindle using various preset themes. There is also a plug-in that you can use directly in word to format your chapter headings and the like. While Amazon are adding services, Kobo have announced they will be withdrawing pdf downloads from November 1st. Anyone who has a library of pdf downloads will lose access to all of them from that date. Passive Guy has some interesting thoughts on this, suggesting it will not inspire long-term confidence in the integrity of Kobo's library. It's an interesting story to come hot on the heels of W3C's discussion of the long-term integrity of proprietary ebook formats. On the subject of platforms, Whatsapp has just passed the 1 billion daily user mark!
Two Legal Rulings on Copyright in the US and Canada
US Copyright seems to have been on my radar a fair bit recently. And forums are always full of questions about whether you should register your copyright (in the US). The answer is that for a legal pursuit of an infringer you need to have registered (although you don't in order to own the copyright). This week, a ruling shed a little light on what that actually means – the ruling stated that copyright registration needed to be completed and not pending at the time of infringement in order to be enforcable.
Meanwhile in Canada the courts have circumscribed the so-called education exception to copyright law – meaning you can't just copy anything without paying a fee because it's for educational purposes.
Where Are the Indies?
Two stories this week left us asking just that. The first is a regular offender – the Association of American Publishers, whose 2017 first quarter figures show, surprise surprise, a fall in ebook sales (5,3%) and a rise in audiobooks (28.8%). Meanwhile, a list of the 11 top earning authors, all of them traditionally published, and with a starting figure of $11m annual income, raised the question of where indies fit in this financial jigsaw puzzle.
Where to get Reviews
Reedsy are always doing things to make life easier for indies, and their latest offering is a list of indie book review blogs. Each site listed has some very helpful information attached to it including visitors per month, genres preferred and information about submission guidelines.
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