Jun 242012

Librarians, among the best friends any author could have, are meeting this weekend in Anaheim.  Changes in publishing have caused complications for them, and those complications come on top of budget cuts and growing patron demand for more computers, computer help, and ebooks. In short, writers aren’t alone in dealing with change–and strangers don’t ask us how to access the Internet or work a Nook.

Pew Internet released its latest study of libraries, their patrons, and e-books. Among the findings: twelve percent of Americans age 16 or older who read e-books have borrowed them in the last year from libraries, but 62 percent of library-card holders 16 or older don’t know if their library lends e-books. In fact, 75 percent of the nation’s libraries do. The study also looks at librarians’ changing roles, the ways libraries are dealing with e-books, and publishers’ reluctance or refusal to make e-books available for library lending.

E-book expert Mike Shatzkin thinks the Pew results justify publishers’ reluctance or refusal to make their most popular e-books available for library lending. He zeroes in on the 41% of respondents who at some time borrowed an ebook from a library but bought the most recent ebook they read. Shatzkin isn’t convinced the respondents purchased the e-books because they faced a long wait to borrow them from the library. Instead, he thinks the respondents purchased e-books because their libraries didn’t carry them. In short, he thinks publishers who sharply restrict the lending of popular titles will force readers to buy those titles.

Dear Author‘s Jane Litte summarizes key aspects of the Pew study and points out why Shatzkin’s opinion carries weight. Here’s Litte: “It’s worthwhile to pay attention to what Mike Shatzkin says even if you don’t agree with him because some of the big 6 pay him for consulting advice. Thus, when he says publicly that publishers are doing the right thing by restricting access, it’s important because publishers are likely listening to him.”

Listen to filmmaker Andrew Stanton’s TED conference talk, The Clues to a Great Story. (Jennifer Crusie recommended it on her Argh Ink blog.)

Kristine Kathryn Rusch asks why can’t writers get along?

Alison Presley, a writer and the online marketing manager for Chronicle Books, offers a self-publishing how-to.

Literary agent Joanna Stampfel-Volpe, has formed New Leaf Literary & Media, and agent Suzie Townsend joins her there.  Townsend specifies what she’s looking for, including “upmarket and issue-driven women’s fiction.”

Mystery writer Elizabeth Craig points out that social media offers advantages for the shy and time-pressed.

Have you been advised not to begin a query with a question? Agent Sarah LaPolla explains why.

If your inner critic keeps you from putting words on the page, pay attention to romantic-suspense author Colleen Thompson.

Thank a librarian this week.  See you next Sunday.

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