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Tim Coates’ speech at the Frankfurt Book Fair:
Ebooks, Publishers and Public Libraries
Every week we read in the publishing trade press and in the newspapers of arguments between senior publishers and the administrators of the public library service about the supply of ebooks to libraries. The language is fierce, the problems appear unsolvable and the progress is very slow. But such arguments and such news stories cannot make sense to the public who believe and assume that both publishers and librarians hold the joint responsibility of providing a library service and for producing the books they want to read. Authors create the books – publishers and librarians are the enablers who give a service.
In this room we, who work in the industry, know of the importance of publishing and the wonderful things it creates as a media industry.
And we know and understand better than anyone why public libraries are so important.
In the UK we are forever seeing Government studies being conducted to find out whether libraries are still relevant, in a way that makes one suspicious of their motives, but I can explain to them in two minutes.