Lifeblood of reading

Alan Jacobs gets to the crux of the ongoing Hachette v. Internet Archive lawsuit, which pits publishers against libraries in the quest to determine who has the right to distribute digital books:

Whatever forces are arrayed against libraries are also arrayed against readers. But publishing conglomerates don’t care about readers; they only care about customers. If they had their way reading would be 100% digital, because they continue to own and have complete control over digital books, which cannot therefore be sold or given to others. They are the enemies of circulation in all its forms, and circulation is the lifeblood of reading.

I went long on the business of library ebooks a few years ago when Macmillan took its turn trying to screw libraries—and therefore readers.

Publishers might think they want to sue libraries out of existence because it will help their bottom line. But ultimately they’d end up like the Burgess Meredith character in The Twilight Zone episode “Time Enough At Last”: surrounded by a decimated literary landscape with nowhere to go.