ARCs and Librarians and Bloggers

This morning when I logged on to Twitter, I glanced at the trending topics and was amazed to see in the list the following: “ARCs and Librarians and Bloggers”.

Intrigued, I clicked on the links and learned that over the last couple of weeks there has developed a brouhaha between, on the one hand, some librarians and, on the other, some book bloggers. Although the trending topic read ‘Librarians and Bloggers’, evidently it was more a case of ‘Librarians versus Bloggers’.

This perplexes me. I understand such oppositions as ‘believer/atheist’, ‘conservative/progressive’, even ‘Keynesian/monetarist’ – but ‘librarian/blogger’? Surely some category mistake. In fact, in my experience – as publisher and blogger – I’m inclined to think of librarians and bloggers as, at least some of the time, sub-sets of the same category, namely ‘people who know stuff about books and so can help me as a publisher’.

As I’ve noted on one of our publishing websites, as a publisher, I regularly consult librarians about our publishing plans. And I value the review and interview coverage of our books and authors provided by bloggers – for example, Lisa Romeo and Erika Dreifus.

As a blogger myself, I find some of my posts – for example, on grey literature and repositories – attract interest from, and create dialogue with, librarians. And I find the library sector itself a fertile source of classy book-blogging. (For example, I recently discovered Colleen S. Harris’s blog.) So somehow I don’t think the ‘bloggers vs librarians’ theme will prove very sustainable. 

Ironically, the posts on Monographer’s Blog that elicit most page views from librarians are those reviewing books that publishers have kindly presented me with copies of. (They include Cloud computing for libraries and Patron-driven acquisition.)

You may be wondering why I wrote “Ironically”. Well, evidently the spat concerns the fact that bloggers have been visiting the ALA’s annual conference and making off with supplies of review copies from publishers.

It is difficult to see any fundamental problem here. As a publisher, I would welcome genuine bloggers, who intend to publish a review, requesting review copies. And I want librarians to become familiar with our lists too. I would imagine most publishers feel the same.

The solution to the ALA problem is a boringly low temperature one: next year publishers just need to anticipate the demand by taking a larger supply of review copies with them.

Let me in the meantime seek to pacify the warring parties by extending some invitations to both:

  • . If you’re an academic librarian and you want to become better acquainted with our Creative Writing Studies or Professional and Higher Education lists, please let me know.
  • Or if you’re a blogger who reviews books in those areas, or interviews authors, please also let me know.
  • And if you’re both, you’re even more welcome to get in touch.

We can discuss review copies – and, while we’re about it, explore any possibilities regarding guest-blogging.

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5 Responses to “ARCs and Librarians and Bloggers”

  1. That is a little odd. I recently edited a book on school librarians and professional development, and there were dozens of librarian blogs referenced. As you said, not exactly an opposition!

    Was the problem that the librarians were unable to obtain review copies because nonlibrarian bloggers made off with all of them? I’d be interested to know who these book pirates are, who are attending ALA conferences and yet are not librarians.

  2. Certainly from the publishers’ perspective (as pointed out re: their lack of participation in the PW article), any publicity is good publicity. I understand that the ALA conference is meant for librarians. But then publishers simply need to bring more ARCs — your boring solution.

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