Writers & Libraries

So I guess Terry Deary, who authors those Horrible Histories books, said something about how libraries are outdated and cost taxpayers and authors money. And then big authors like Neil Gaiman and Joanne Harris stepped out to say, "Oh, deary! No, Deary!" or something along those lines.

Okay, I'm not going to defend Deary. I understand his argument, but I do still believe libraries fill a certain place in society. They're where people who can't afford books can borrow them. Because these people can't afford Kindles either or whatnot, so, you know . . . And we do want them to read, don't we? I was pretty sure that was one of society's goals (or at least authors' goals, considering readers are our bread and butter), but . . . Whatever.

My question lies in bestselling authors defending libraries. Because, really, these people have made a ton of money already. So they don't have as much reason to care if they're "losing" money in having people borrow their books rather than buy them. So while I understand their influences, too . . . And the idea that they will use that influence for good and not evil (and defending libraries is one of the ways they do that) . . . The cynic in me can't help but want to pinprick their balloons.

Of course, pretty much any writer will tell you all he wants is for people to read his work. Writers don't go into it for the money, or at the very least they shouldn't because (for most of us, anyway) there isn't a lot of money to be had. And most of what is available goes to people like Neil Gaiman, so . . . yeah. And I'm pretty sure no author says, "I hope libraries don't carry my book." Because as an author you pretty much want your book on as many shelves as possible. Including library shelves. Even if you don't get any money for that, people might find your book, and then go looking for more of your books, and there you go: you've added another reader. Always a good thing.

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