Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Another mystery

Did our eyes deceive us? We're sure we saw a post on the Good Library Blog about Lewisham, where campaigners held a large demonstration last week.
Now it's gone, lost, disparu. We wonder why


  1. As do many bloggers, we post, and then pull, and Coates is no exception (the trick is to catch them before they are deleted, some of them have some really good writing ;)

    I bumped into this from 2004:

    Brian Osborne says we must do more to promote the added value of libraries.

    Quoting from the article it appears that Coates' was not the first to critisise public library administration:

    'For evidence of this failure you need only look at the words of an intelligent and knowledgeable Scottish publisher, Hugh Andrew, Managing Director of Birlinn Ltd ... who was quoted in the Sunday Herald of 30 May as calling on libraries to "reform their elephantine and self-perpetuating bureaucracy."'

    I think if coateswatch is going to have any credibility and self-respect as a stalker then him/her/they are going to have to compile a thorough Stasi'esque file, so there's my contribution ;)

    On a different subject, quoting yourselves: "It hardly needs saying that bookselling's loss is the public library's gain". I'm not sure exactly what you mean by this, but I bumped into the following quote:

    "indeed, were it not for library purchases of hardback fiction, it is probably that much novel publishing would cease to be commercially viable."
    - Leisure and the Rise of the Public Library, Robert Snipe, 1995

    I can't hunt down a link to the news story at the moment but a year or so back the libraries ended their policy of buying so many copies of all new publications (i.e., guaranteed sales). Publishers and booksellers took this personally as a diservice to our (their?) literary culture, but also financially it was a blow as well.

    The issue is still very much open as to the coexistence of libraries and writers/publishers/booksellers (our values here are still not fully understood I think it is fair to say), but on the whole, writers believe libraries a good thing, and publishers recognise they increase sales. No one can deny that they do indeed put our culture in the fast lane (shared goals). Ref. here for a misc. collection of articles on the subject: http://libraryweb.info/articledir.php#129

  2. A quick postscript to the above, at the moment with the emergence of e-books, publishers and libraries are very much still jockeying for position -- publishers are doing their damndest to maximise their return from the emerging trend for libraries to lend e-books. When the dust settles we'll be able to tell what happened, but I hope the libraries don't lose it in the maelstrom.

  3. I've said above:

    "publishers are doing their damndest to maximise their return from the emerging trend for libraries to lend e-books"

    I think libraries have to get a grip of this and put their foot down here. Publishers are getting the upper hand, and it is not in the nation's interests. Libraries should make sure publishers know that the libraries serve the public, and it is their interests they represent. We are not going to do them any diservice, but the public's interests will be expected to be fully respected in the final outcome.

  4. It is, as you point out, a very interesting conjuncture, and there is a lot to say, not much of it good, about the relationship between publishers, booksellers and libraries.
    But the point we were trying to make about bookselling's loss, etc, was merely satiric, in that, for all the puff, we've never been sure what our hero actually did as a bookseller. We wish we had the intelligence-gathering powers you credit us with.

  5. But we would take gentle issue with one point. You say, 'as do many bloggers, we post, and then pull, and Coates is no exception'.
    This, we and many others believe, is unethical. Just as in any print publication, if amendments to a blog are made after initial publication, the reader needs to be told.
    It is one of the features of the Good Library blog that posts disappear without explanation, and critical comments made by others fail to appear. Amusing that, while our hero gets very agitated about CoatesWatch's anonymity, his own adherence to ethical publishing standards could well be questioned.