Never have libraries been in more danger of becoming commercial mouthpieces.
I founded Fencetree Press after years of practicing law with a multinational law firm, where all my clients were massive organizations. I saw that these worldwide enterprises, which now eclipse nation-states in wealth and power, threaten liberty, diversity, and individuality in ways we could never have imagined a few decades ago. Most crucial in our struggle against them is the battle to stop them from controlling all of the world’s information, and librarians are its heroes.
80% of trade books come from just five companies, which hide behind hundreds of imprints, and the majority of these mega-publishers are themselves subsidiaries of larger media conglomerates. In today’s information age, information is controlled and manipulated more than ever before.
We’ve been made to believe that so-called traditional publishers screen for “good” books, but while they do have a minimal set of standards, their process targets only a segment of potential book buyers, not all book readers. Literary agents ask writers to demonstrate how their work is similar to books the agents have sold before, because those are the most predictable sales. This death-spiral of creativity chases the corporate market, selecting the most conformist stuff and selling to small presses after the giants turn them down, so even small presses often produce the same material that was pre-selected for corporate agendas.
Meanwhile, the publishing industry has opened, allowing anyone – and I do mean anyone, regardless of talent, knowledge, or dedication – to produce books. Rest assured, you are not required to purchase garbage, even if it comes from within your library’s community.
We – and by “we” here I mean all of us, society, humanity – we need to struggle against this information conglomeration, before it’s too late. Libraries are our fortresses in the information war, and they must be able to arm us with knowledge that hasn’t been manipulated and tainted by conglomerates. I’ll show you how to develop a broad-based, unbiased collection without blowing your budget on terrible spiral-bound first drafts.
ALA Unit/Subunit: UNO
Meeting Type: Exhibitor Session
Cost: Included with full conference registration.