WILL UNWOUND #704: “Is it a Crime for a Librarian to Make Money?”March 11, 2012
In the comment section after yesterday’s post about the fallacy of Nancy Pearl’s so-called “Rule of Fifty,” it came to light that Ms. Pearl, America’s most beloved librarian, is not so beloved anymore. Here’s the link: Nancy Pearl: Caught in the anti-Amazon Backlash.
It seems that she had the temerity to try to make some money. I guess some folks don’t think it’s right for a librarian to turn a buck in the publishing trade. Her money making idea is one that any librarian can applaud. She wants to see some of her favorite out-of-print books get back into print. So she shopped her idea to 20 different publishers, all of whom turned her down. But not Amazon. Amazon knows a good business opportunity when it arises.
Did Amazon care about bringing out of print books back to life? Maybe, maybe not. I’ll let you decide that. But Amazon definitely did see the wisdom of teaming up with the iconic Pearl. She brings credibility and a sense of warm fuzzies to their new and controversial publishing enterprise.
And Amazon definitely needs warm fuzzies. Problem is this move backfired both for Pearl and for Amazon. They are both being widely and viciously attacked by the retail book selling industry.
All of which I think is very unfortunate. Isn’t this America where the entrepreneurial spirit should be applauded not condemned? Is it wrong for a librarian to make some money?