Monthly Archives: November 2011

How I Went From Writing 2,000 Words a Day to 10,000 Words a Day

24 November 2011

From fantasy author Rachel Aaron:

When I started writing The Spirit War (Eli novel #4), I had a bit of a problem. I had a brand new baby and my life (like every new mother’s life) was constantly on the verge of shambles. I paid for a sitter four times a week so I could get some writing time, and I guarded these hours like a mama bear guards her cubs – with ferocity and hiker-mauling violence. To keep my schedule and make my deadlines, I needed to write 4000 words during each of these carefully arranged sessions. I thought this would be simple. After all, before I quit my job to write full time I’d been writing 2k a day in the three hours before work. Surely with 6 hours of baby free writing time, 4k a day would be nothing

. . . .

But (of course), things didn’t work out like that. Every day I’d sit down to add 4000 words to my new manuscript. I was determined, I was experienced, I knew my world. There was no reason I couldn’t get 4k down. But every night when I hauled myself away, my word count had only increased by 2k, the same number of words I’d been getting before I quit my day job.

Needless to say, I felt like a failure. Here I was, a professional writer with three books about to come out, and I couldn’t even beat the writing I’d done before I went pro. At first I made excuses, this novel was the most complicated of all the Eli books I’d written, I was tired because my son thinks 4am is an awesome time to play, etc. etc. But the truth was there was no excuse. I had to find a way to boost my word count, and with months of 2k a day dragging me down, I had to do it fast. So I got scientific. I gathered data and tried experiments, and ultimately ended up boosting my word count to heights far beyond what I’d thought was possible, and I did it while making my writing better than ever before.

. . . .

Drastically increasing your words per day is actually pretty easy, all it takes is a shift in perspective and the ability to be honest with yourself (which is the hardest part). Because I’m a giant nerd, I ended up creating a metric, a triangle with three core requirements: Knowledge, Time, and Enthusiasm. Any one of these can noticeably boost your daily output, but all three together can turn you into a word machine. I never start writing these days unless I can hit all three.

Side 1: Knowledge, or Know What You’re Writing Before You Write It

The first big boost to my daily wordcount happened almost by accident. Used to be I would just pop open the laptop and start writing. Now, I wasn’t a total make-it-up-as-you-go writer. I had a general plot outline, but my scene notes were things like “Miranda and Banage argue” or “Eli steals the king.” Not very useful, but I knew generally what direction I was writing in, and I liked to let the characters decide how the scene would go. Unfortunately, this meant I wasted a lot of time rewriting and backtracking when the scene veered off course.

This was how I had always written, it felt natural to me. But then one day I got mired in a real mess. I had spent three days knee deep in the same horrible scene. I was drastically behind on my wordcount, and I was facing the real possibility of missing my deadline… again. It was the perfect storm of all my insecurities, the thought of letting people down mixed with the fear that I really didn’t know what I was doing, that I wasn’t a real writer at all, just an amateur pretending to be one. But as I got angrier and angrier with myself, I looked down at my novel and suddenly realized that I was being an absolute idiot. Here I was, desperate for time, floundering in a scene, and yet I was doing the hardest work of writing (figuring out exactly what needs to happen to move the scene forward in the most dramatic and exciting way) in the most time consuming way possible (ie, in the middle of the writing itself).

As soon as I realized this, I stopped. I closed my laptop and got out my pad of paper. Then, instead of trying to write the scene in the novel as I had been, I started scribbling a very short hand, truncated version the scene on the paper. I didn’t describe anything, I didn’t do transitions. I wasn’t writing, I was simply noting down what I would write when the time came. It took me about five minutes and three pages of notebook paper to untangle my seemingly unfixable scene, the one that had just eaten three days of my life before I tried this new approach. Better still, after I’d worked everything out in shorthand I was able to dive back into the scene and finish it in record time. The words flew onto the screen, and at the end of that session I’d written 3000 words rather than 2000, most of them in that last hour and a half.

. . . .

Every writing session after this realization, I dedicated five minutes (sometimes more, never less) and wrote out a quick description of what I was going to write. Sometimes it wasn’t even a paragraph, just a list of this happens then this then this. This simple change, these five stupid minutes, boosted my wordcount enormously. I went from writing 2k a day to writing 5k a day within a week without increasing my 5 hour writing block. Some days I even finished early.

Link to the rest at Pretentious Title

Don’t Sign Dumb Contracts

24 November 2011

Since news in the book world slows down over Thanksgiving and Mrs. PG informs PG that he needs a break, we’re going to reprise some of the most popular posts on this blog. Many went up when The Passive Voice had far fewer visitors than it does now.

PG will probably have some new posts during this long weekend, but Greatest Hits posts will also appear.

Kristine Kathryn Rush is writing some important essays about the publishing world (“blog post” is too lightweight to adequately describe her analyses).

In her latest, Kris discusses contracts with publishers and agents, dirty tricks in some contracts and a worrisome trend of agents becoming more concerned with the interests of publishers than the welfare of the authors they represent.


We used to recommend agents, but we slowly stopped doing that. Some of it was simple: we didn’t want to endorse any one we weren’t intimately familiar with. But it became more complex than that. Some of our agenting friends had left the business. Others had moved to companies that had rather unseemly business practices, and still others had morphed their agenting business into something unrecognizable.

Rather than walk through the thicket of ethics, friendships, business partnerships, and individual monetary policy, we just stopped recommending any particular agent. Over time, we stopped recommending agents at all.

During that same period of time, we saw a lot of publishing contracts that were…dicey…at best. We figured that because the contracts were for newer writers, the contract itself was a lower level of contract.

. . . .

I was noticing a few other things at the time, but not putting them together because my own career had hit a crisis point. My agent and I would negotiate a contract. Then we’d get the contract, and we’d have to remind the publisher that we had changed certain terms. The terms would get changed back.

Or we’d negotiate a contract, then sell a second book six months later on the same terms. Only when the contract arrived, it would be a completely different document. While the terms we had explicitly discussed would be the same as the ones we negotiated, the other terms, from the warranties to the deep discounts, would be extremely different.

. . . .

I was thinking of getting a new agent (yet again) and I asked him what his super-famous really big agency could do for me that a smaller agent couldn’t. Maybe because he’d had a few drinks, maybe because he is a very savvy man who has a finger on the pulse of publishing’s future, maybe because we were friends, he told me that he couldn’t do as much for his writers as he could have ten years before.

Clout counted for less and less in this business, he said. And since his business was all about clout, he was quite morose about it.

Then he told me stories about canceled contracts and misfired deals, stories like the ones I just told you, only these had happened to big name writers—writers with more clout than I ever had, more clout than that poor textbook writer could ever hope to have had. And the agent said he could do nothing about it.

Now, honestly, I’m not that shocked that publishers take advantage of writers. Writers and publishers enter into a business relationship, and business relationships can be adversarial. Personalities factor in, but so do the structure of companies. The smaller the company, the more likely it is to be on less solid ground financially, but the more likely it is to be a friendly place to work with.

Writers have always (usually?) been unarmed as they went into these business relationships with publishers. The writers would hire advocates to take care of them, to handle the adversarial part. Early on in my career, I hired an agent not just because I believed the agent knew more about publishing and publishing contracts than I did (and at the time, he did), but also to stand up for me when the time came, to fight for my needs and wants, to be my advocate.

Slowly, over time, agents stopped advocating for writers, and instead, started advocating for their agencies. Again, I noted the change, but believed it was only a few agencies, working on the Hollywood model. In fact, the agencies that pioneered this behavior came from Hollywood, and then branched into publishing as a side business.

I knew that many agents had forgotten who they worked for when the agent started refusing to mail books that “weren’t good enough” and refused to do things in their clients’ best interest because it “might hurt our other clients.” I always felt those were firing offenses, but a lot of writers put up with those things and more. And, it seemed, the behavior got worse, which I blamed mostly on the cutbacks in publishing. Those cutbacks forced a lot of laid-off editors into agenting, and editors didn’t know business nor did they know how to keep their hands off a perfectly fine manuscript.

But I was wrong.

I hadn’t realized until a few months ago that the adversarial relationship that sometimes existed between writer and publisher had moved into the agent/author relationship.

Link to the rest at Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Passive Guy has previously admitted to being a recovering lawyer (“I didn’t file a lawsuit yesterday. I didn’t file a lawsuit the day before yesterday. It has been 12 years, 153 days, 7 hours and 13 minutes since I filed a lawsuit.”).

While he does not practice law any more, he occasionally looks at publishing and other contracts for family members, friends he has known more than ten years, etc. (Please don’t send PG contracts to look at. It isn’t a recreational pastime.)

So, what basic publisher and agent contract advice does PG have for you?

1. Read the contract, every word of it. This isn’t like a credit card agreement that is regulated up one side and down another. There are no consumer protection laws for publisher’s and agent’s contracts. What is on the paper is what you give. What is on the paper is what you get.

2. Every contract is negotiable, so negotiate what you don’t like. “This is our standard contract” is the oldest scam in the world. Standard contracts are for banks who print them by the million. Publishers and agents may want “standard contracts,” but they probably also want world peace. You don’t have to accept their standard contracts. If a publisher or agent is interested enough in your book to want a contract with you, they’ll be willing to change some things. Negotiation is the process by which each side to a potential contract discovers how much they want the contract.

Authors are in a terrible psychic spot in negotiating their first contract with an agent or publisher. They sent out a million queries before they got an agent. Ten publishers turned down their manuscript before one became interested. Authors are inclined to think, “I’ll sign anything. Just don’t tell me no again.” Don’t get into that mode. Your old buddy, Passive Guy, will guarantee that you’ll be in a worse psychic spot if you and your manuscript are treated like trash under the terms of a bad contract. You must be ready to walk away from a bad deal.

3. Make certain every contract ends at some time. In recent publishing contracts PG has examined (and some that Kris describes in her essay), the contract goes on forever. So long as a product page exists for your book on some online bookstore, the contract continues. If the publisher decides your book should sell for $5,000 per copy in ebook form and you last received a royalty check for $2.93 ten years ago, under the terms of some “standard contracts,” the contract continues forever.

Don’t fall for a “life of the copyright” clause. In the United States, the copyright for your book ends 70 years after you die. When you are finally free of your agent, he won’t have returned a phone call for more than 70 years.

With both publishers and agents, PG recommends a “minimum wage for authors” – a dollar (or Euro, etc.) amount that the author receives every six months or year for a book. If the author doesn’t receive that amount, all rights to the book revert to the author, free of any publisher’s or agent’s claim.

An example of a minimum wage clause would be if an author doesn’t receive at least $5,000 in royalties in any year for her magnum opus, Dogs and Cats Can Get Along Just Fine, she can send a letter to the publisher and/or agent notifying them that she is retrieving her rights and they don’t have a piece of the book any more. The publisher has a year to sell out any hard copies in stock, but can’t print any more.

Don’t go for “out of print” provisions, particularly those that will require someone to count how many books are in warehouses. “Out of print” is meaningless for an ebook listing on Amazon.

This is a business relationship, not a tree-house club. If the publisher isn’t producing dollars for the author, it’s over. If the agent isn’t producing dollars for the author, it’s over.

4. Don’t give either the publisher or agent any option on your future work unless you’re writing a series. In that case, give them an option for the rest of the books in the series, but nothing else. If you write a sequel to Dogs and Cats, it’s reasonable to allow the publisher and agent to have rights to it, perhaps on the same terms as the first book or perhaps not. However, they don’t have rights to your manuscript for War and Peace and Zombies.

If you’re happy with the way things are going with the publisher and/or agent, you will almost certainly want to give them first shot at W&P&Z, but if you’re not happy, you should be free to pursue other options. Is your publisher guaranteeing it will publish your Zombie book or whatever else you write in the future? Is your agent guaranteeing the same thing? If not, you’re just asking that obligations and freedom from obligations be be the same for you as they are for them.

Watch out for “rights of first refusal” in their many guises. PG never saw a ROFR that he couldn’t break, but you don’t want to have to hire a lawyer and sue somebody just to find the right home for your Zombie series.

There are other things to watch out for in publishers and agents contracts, but PG has rambled for way too long.

One overriding principle to remember whenever you read a contract is to don’t assume that everything will go just fine. If the relationship with your publisher and agent is filled with bliss, nobody will ever look at the contract after it’s signed. The contract is for when something goes wrong.

Everybody loves one another when the contract is signed, but, as a student of human behavior, Passive Guy will assure you that love sometimes fades and dies. Love can even turn to hate. As a useful exercise, read your publisher/agent contract with this question in your mind: “How does this work if I hate my publisher and my agent has stopped speaking to me?”

Because all things change, also read your contract with this question in your mind: “How does this work if my publisher gets purchased by a Chinese steel company and my agent is fired and replaced with somebody who is six months out of Wellesley and believes anime is the next big thing?”

Link to the 46 comments on the original post. Feel free to comment here if you like.

Lawyers enjoy a little mystery

23 November 2011

Lawyers enjoy a little mystery, you know. Why, if everybody came forward and told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth straight out, we should all retire to the workhouse.

Dorothy L. Sayers

Penguin eBook titles for lending to Kindle restored

23 November 2011

From the Overdrive Digital Library Blog:

‘Get for Kindle’ for all Penguin eBooks in your catalog has been restored as of this morning. Penguin titles are available for check out by Kindle users and the Kindle format will be available for patrons who are currently on a waiting list for a Penguin title. This does not affect new releases, which remain unavailable.

We apologize for the inconvenience this caused for your library and patrons.

At this time, no further information is available. We hope to share more details in the near future.

Link to the rest at Overdrive Digital Library Blog

Italian Dreaming

23 November 2011

It’s becoming gray and cold.

When Passive Guy was reading a review of Rome: A Cultural, Visual, and Personal History recently, he started thinking about Italy. He knows it can be gray and cold in parts of Italy, but it never feels that way.

Since he can’t travel to Italy, he can look at pictures.

Lucca is an ancient (founded by the Etruscans in 1 zillion BC) walled city in Tuscany, not far from Florence. For centuries, it was a center of the silk trade. (PG has a very nice tie he bought there.)

More recently, Lucca is famous as the birthplace of Italian composer, Giacomo Puccini. (La Bohème, Tosca, Madame Butterfly, etc.) You can visit the graceful old church where Puccini was baptized, visit another lovely old church where Puccini said he was “baptized into music,” and see a statue of the Maestro sitting in a chair, looking very relaxed.

In yet another ancient church, Italians sing Puccini arias every night, voices reverberating through the high stone spaces.

Medieval cities are not very conducive to automobiles. While a few cars make it past the walls, Lucca is mostly a walking and bicycling city. You can rent bicycles and ride around the city on top of the old wall.

PG took a photo of a typical Lucca street scene in the late afternoon, not far from the square where Puccini’s statue resides. If gray days are making you think of brighter places, you may like it.



Crossover Appeal

23 November 2011

For Passive Guy, BookRiot is one of the more innovative blogs about books. Today, BookRiot continues a series on Crossover Appeal.

Here’s the premise:

Crossover Appeal is a weekly feature that challenges the idea that you have to choose a side between YA and adult fiction. Each week we’ll feature a book that has been marketed as YA and a book that has been marketed as adult and tell you why everyone should be reading them, no matter what happens to be your comfort zone.

This week’s two books are If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman and Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward.

Link to the rationale at BookRiot

Releasing a Novel in the Digital Age

23 November 2011

From Dave Farland:

In an ideal world, when an author finishes a novel, it would attract a lot of attention. He’d take the manuscript out on his doorstep and hold it aloft, gathering admiring crowds. He’d speak the novel’s name, and teenage girls would swoon, the way that they did when the Beatles first sang on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964. Better yet, older women would throw off their clothes and then swoon, as they used to do at Edgar Allen Poe’s poetry readings. Cameras would flash and sizzle. People would chant and shout your name!

Of course, that doesn’t happen. Most new authors don’t make a splash. They can’t. Following are just some of the obstacles I see stacked against any new or rising author these days.

In many ways, the bestseller lists are manipulated. The easiest way to get high on the list is by getting your books noticed—getting them put at the front of the store in large retail chains. But that space is sold to publishers through various cooperative advertising programs. In short, you can’t get in that space. Someone else is paying for it. Even if you had the money to buy it, you couldn’t. The stores want to sell it to regular customers, not some newcomer.

There are other ways that lists get manipulated. With self-help books, for example, authors hire sales reps to sell books to large corporate accounts at a steep discount. If they can make a few thousand sales per week, it allows them to rack up numbers and keep the books high on the lists. Take a look at any bestselling book that has been on the list for a year, and you know what they’re doing.

I’ve talked recently about how publishers manipulate lists. They’ll back their own bestselling authors time after time, and will even sabotage the covers of their own lesser-known authors in order to maintain the status of their A-list authors. In other words, you can’t move up on the bestseller list with your big publisher because they’re pushing your competition.

. . . .

So the bestseller lists tend to be dominated year after year by the same old people. It’s business as usual.

The authors who do climb up the list generally have to claw their way up on their own strength.

So what does that have to do with releasing a novel today, when we’re going digital?

Well, in some ways the playing field seems leveler. Anyone can publish. You can get better covers than ever before, put your books out on your own schedule, and even try to get better quotes than you’ve had in the past. Yet even now, most of the bestselling digital novels are coming out from the major publishers.

There are good reasons for this. A novel that is getting a lot of promotion in hardcover just has more credibility with readers. Such novels usually have well-established audiences and a lot of hype behind them. The big publishers have access to big reviewers who won’t even look at your work. Potential readers for e-books often pick their books simply by looking at bestseller lists and buying there—thus maintaining the status quo.

And once a novel hits the bestseller list, the other novels floating around in cyberspace don’t seem to exist. The buyers don’t even see them. Many of the main reviewing organizations won’t read e-books and review them, or if they do, they charge extra fees to the new author. In other words, you can’t get much traction with advertising.

In cyberspace, no one can hear you scream!

. . . .

Now, I should point out that to me, [my latest novel] Nightingale is a special novel. It’s one that I believe has huge potential. Back in 2002, one of my writing students asked me what it would take to become the “bestselling YA fantasy writer of all time.” I made some suggestions, and realized then that I knew how to do it. She went ahead and wrote her first novel incorporating most of those suggestions, and actually made it! (Hint: she has a movie releasing this week. Something about How to Break Dawn, or something or other.)

With Nightingale, I followed my own best advice on how to write a big teen novel for a wide audience.

It tells the story of a young man named Bron Jones, who is abandoned at birth. Raised in foster care, he’s kicked from home to home. At age 16, he’s kind of the ultimate loner, until he’s sent to a new foster home and meets Olivia, a marvelous teacher. She recognizes that Bron is something special, something that her people call a “Nightingale,” a creature that is not quite human.

Suddenly epic forces combine to claim Bron, and he must fight to keep from getting ripped away from the only home, family, and girlfriend that he has ever known. He must risk his life, and the lives of everyone he cares about, to learn the answers to the mystery of his birth: “What am I? Where did I come from?”

As you can see, there are no vampires or werewolves in my story. There is wonder, horror, mystery, adventure and romance aplenty, though.

I want it to do well. So my first piece of advice is this: write the best novel that you know how. With Nightingale I got my big agent on the second draft, but I wrote eight more drafts before I felt that it was ready to show to the public.

Try to write a big novel. I’m seeing professional authors talk about how great it is to write “little novels” and release them. A little novel is one that doesn’t have a wide audience appeal. Sure, if you’ve got an established fan base it might work okay, but writing a little novel doesn’t make a lot of sense. Give your readers your best work.

. . . .

But making a good book requires more than just designing the products, you also have to market them.

That’s tricky. Here are some things that you have to do.

1) Put up a web site.

Big deal. Putting up a web site is a must, but it’s only a small part of the puzzle. No one will come, because they don’t know that it’s there. They don’t know where to look. So you have to figure out how to point people to your web site. You have to advertise.

2) Try social marketing.

You can advertise on Facebook or Google + or Twitter, or similar sites, and let your friends know about your book. You can go even further with paid ads, but that can be expensive. So for the moment, I’ve just put up info for my friends to peruse.

3) Blog.

You can also advertise by writing articles. I’ve now got about 40 blogs that I’ve written posts for, and I think that that will be a continuous effort. We’ve got another 40 bloggers who will be posting notices to their readers. (If you’re willing to post a notice or an article, email me at

4) Write for newspapers, magazines, and news sites.

I got a subscription to PRWeb. I will soon be sending out articles to various news agencies and blogs, hopefully expanding my reach.

5) Paying for advertising.

I’m trying out Kidsbuzz, a service that links authors to librarians, book groups, and readers around the country. I will most likely try some paid ads, on Facebook, too. Here’s the truth: no one will advertise your work for free. Even on the internet, places like Facebook and Google make money by advertising. So you need to advertise.

6) Entice readers with gifts.

I’m setting up a few giveaways. Authors usually try using books, but there are other things that you can do. I have a big short story writing contest that pays $1000. I’m hoping that that will lead people to my site. I also am going to have people do “video blurbs,” so that visitors to my site can see real readers give their responses. In order to jump-start that, I’m putting up $500 for the reader whose “blurb” most impresses the viewers. I’m hoping that teens will review the book, tell their friends that they’re up on my site, and that will bring more viewers.

7) Get your book reviewed.

Getting cover quotes from professional authors and reviewers can be helpful. I got a nice cover quote from James Dashner, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Maze Runner. He called Nightingale a “Thrilling ride, packed with twists, action, and amazing characters. . . . Highly recommended.” Other reviewers are giving it exceptional praise, too. Our first reviewer of the enhanced novel said that she couldn’t believe how engrossing it was and “words failed to describe how good it is.”

However, many of the bigger reviewers, like Publisher’s Weekly, won’t look at the hardcover until it’s in print. We didn’t have the six-months of lead time that I would have liked to get pre-publicity. Still, those will come.

8 ) Catch people’s eye.

Putting up book trailers is helpful. We’ve got one up on our website and on YouTube. I think we might be doing some tweaking on it, though, and then we’ll send a link to it on PRWeb. We’re hoping that that way, we’ll get a bit more attention.

9) The best advertisement, at the end of the day, is still word-of-mouth.

Eventually, every author faces the same problem. I don’t have an unlimited supply of money to spend promoting this book. Right now, I’ve already put over $10,000 into this. For an honest shot at the bestseller list, I’d need closer to half a million. Still, I know that it can be done on a shoestring. I don’t know what Amanda Hocking spent to get on the lists, but it wasn’t a lot.

Link to the rest at David Farland

Passive Guy is not a book blogger and almost never promotes specific books, but he’s going to make an exception for Dave Farland.

Dave is enormously generous with his time and advice. He’s a terrific teacher and many people learned how to write fiction for a living from him. As Dave mentioned in his post, Stephenie Meyer is a former student. So is Brandon Sanderson, whose Mistborn trilogy is one of the best fantasy series PG has read in a long time. However, there are many more who are not that famous yet, but who manage to support themselves writing because of the principles Dave taught them.

So, PG says, buy Nightingale on Kindle or Nook. It was released on October 31 on Kindle and it sounds like print versions will be forthcoming shortly. Or email Dave at if you’re willing to post a notice or article for him.

Why Might A Publisher Pull Its E-Books From Libraries?

23 November 2011

From Paid Content:

Following yesterday’s news that Penguin, citing security concerns, is pulling its new e-books from libraries—and making none of them available for library lending through Kindle—many are wondering why the publisher would do such a thing. (Penguin and Random House had been the only two “big six” publishers to offer unfettered access to e-books through libraries; now Random House is alone in doing so.)

Here are some possible reasons, none of which are “Penguin is stupid and is trying to make itself obsolete”—but all of which are a response to high demand for e-books in libraries, and I might argue that attempts to curtail or impede that demand are, at a minimum, counterproductive.

Penguin is mad about Amazon’s deal with OverDrive and is retaliating. If you have a Kindle and have checked out a library book on it, you will notice that clicking “Get for Kindle” sends you to straight to Amazon’s website instead of having you check out the book from within the library’s site.

. . . .

I have to be logged into my Amazon account to get the book. Publishers Lunch notes, “Though OverDrive had promised in April that patrons’ ‘confidential information will be protected,’ in implementation their program is an engine for turning library users into Amazon customers.” (Publishers Lunch also notes that, since libraries had already bought the e-books from Penguin, it’s surprising that Penguin is simply allowed to withdraw access to them.)

And a lot of people are checking out library books through Kindle. The NYPL’s Christopher Platt recently told Publishing Trends that since Kindle added library lending, “Our average new patron registrations have more than doubled from 80 a day to 172 a day. Average daily e-book checkouts increased from 1,161 to 1,511 [23.2%]. Kindle downloads account for 33% of that use” (Kimberly Lew, Publishing Trends, November 2011).

. . . .

Penguin thinks people are checking out e-books from non-local libraries: I currently hold four different library cards: One for the New York Public Library (I currently live in Manhattan), one for the Brooklyn Public Library (I used to live in Brooklyn), one for the public library in the city where I went to college, and one for the public library in the town where I grew up. As far as I know, all of these cards are still active and I could use them to check out e-books from any of the libraries, even though I do not live in four places. Steve Potash, the CEO of OverDrive—the leading distributor of e-books to libraries, and the company that Penguin is contracted with—acknowledged in a letter (PDF) to the company’s library partners earlier this year that some publishers (not just Penguin!) are worried about library patrons gaming territorial restrictions:

…[O]ur publishing partners have expressed concerns regarding the card issuance policies and qualification of patrons who have access to OverDrive supplied digital content.  Addressing these concerns will require OverDrive and our library partners to cooperate to honor geographic and territorial rights for digital book lending, as well as to review and audit policies regarding an eBook borrower’s relationship to the library (i.e. customer lives, works, attends school in service area, etc.). I can assure you OverDrive is not interested in managing or having any say in your library policies and issues. Select publisher terms and conditions require us to work toward their comfort that the library eBook lending is in compliance with publisher requirements on these topics.

Link to the rest at Paid Content

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