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February 23, 2011



I love to know that even just checking books out from a library helps their author. Three cheers for libraries.


I don't understand piracy, period. Or rather, why there seems to be a debate on the subject. If you download something (a song, a movie, a book) that doesn't belong to you on the Internet without paying and without the permission of the author, that is STEALING someone else's booty. It's just that simple, pirates!

My sister used LimeWire for a long time and it made me so MAD. I'd annoy her with a bunch of lectures. "If you really love that artist so much, you'd buy their music legally instead of stealing it from them." I think I might have even called her a poo-poo head once. I won't tell on you, Shannon, if you don't tell on me. ;)

Great post!


Yes, that is how it works in libraries. Also, if your book gets checked out and/or put on hold frequently, we buy additional copies to meet the demand. And extra copies of your next book, etc.


Another reason I wouldn't read pirated books: I really don't want to be called poo-poo head by Ms. Hale.


I think libraries and bookstores work well together. Sometimes I just want to give a book one read--maybe to try out a new genre or maybe because I've heard a lot of buzz about something--so I get it at the library. If I want to reread a book and keep it on my shelf forever, I buy it. Pirating makes no sense when you think about all the options that are available to readers. It's just people not wanting to pay for a service, which is totally ridiculous.


What about public domain books? The author is dead and the book is owned by no one. Is it pirating if you download a public domain book for free instead of buying it from a bookstore?

Abby Minard

You hit the nail on the head with the libraries and how they buy the books. I work at a library, and while I don't work in our collections department, I know they look back on history check outs of an author to determine how many copies they order of their new book.

Plus, libraries aren't free! We pay for them with our taxes, so pirating a book is not like getting a book from the library. Plus our library charges a yearly fee for out-of-county patrons (I know not all libraries do that).

Wonderful post, Shannon. And I agree- I also love to buy certain books that I love, and now that I'm more serious about writing, and getting published some day I buy more books knowing the author needs to sell their book :)

Louisiana Kid

I love the library! I visit it twice a week even when i do not need a book. It is my favorite place in the entire world. <3

Michael Linton

To add a different perspective, and not a declaration in favor of piracy, there are arguments for increasing an author's readership and sales through free, digital distribution of their work, whether or not that it is done at the behest of the author. Cory Doctorow is an author and a well-known advocate of free distribution and releases all of his works digitally for free on his website. Of course, that is his choice and based on his background and feelings about copyright law. The primary premise of his argument being that anonymity is a bigger detriment to an artist/author than piracy. Having the ability to read his entire catalog of novels digitally encourages me to look for his new novels, check out his old ones at the library, and purchase copies as gifts for friends. While I agree with his reasoning, the decision to distribute free digital copies should be the decision of the author in question.

Of course, since I purchase a lot of books at the MPS annual "returned unsold" book sale, I'm not sure how those purchases end up benefitting the author. In fact, that's how I originally found out Shannon was an author. I bought Goose Girl and Princess Academy at the MPS book sale and saw her face and said "I know her from high school." And since then, my kids have sought out copies of Book of a Thousand Days, Rapunzel's Revenge and have Calamity Jack on hold at the library. Not entirely sure of my point, but having the works of an author enter my brain, through borrowing, buying or otherwise, is much more likely to ensure that I seek their works out.

Emily G

I am glad to know that library check outs benefit the author because my budget has seriously cut into my book buying.

Also thanks for the seminar information. My husband keeps talking about wanting to write and illustrate a children's book and this would be wonderful for him!


I live in a tiny apartment so I just don't have room for many books (although we have WAY too many still). So I love the library! I feel like we're kind of a spectacle when we go because we check out sooo many books.

Karen Adair

My oldest son checked out Harry Potter from his school library YEARS ago, and believe it or not we had never heard of the book. Well, I can't tell you how many copies we've bought for our children since then. We too like reading books on a whim. Libraries are a great way to get introduced to new authors and children who can't afford their own books (and parents who are sure which ones to invest in for the child's interest).

Speaking of multiple copies...I bought a copy of Princess Academy many years back and read it out loud to my children at night (It's fun and they all wanted to read it at once) I caught more than one sneaking off with it to read ahead and so I promptly went out and bought multiple copies so we wouldn't have to share anymore. :) Sometimes all it takes is one book to get the ball rolling.


I liked this post. Libraries are truly a gift, bookstores are wonderful and pirating is bad. One thing I would like to add is a note about Project Gutenberg. They "publish" out of print books and copyright expired books on the internet. There is definitely nothing illegal about what they do. Perhaps someone else would have a moral qualm with it; I am personally a big fan. My library happens to be relatively new and lacks a lot of the dusty old books with the wonderful musty smell. I have discovered "new" old authors like Laura E. Richards and begun buying up their books from antique booksellers.


In case what I just wrote wasn't quite clear, I meant that I have begun buying up those old books because I discovered them on Project Gutenberg. My library simply doesn't have many. Just to note: I do support modern authors as well (such as the awesome Shannon Hale ;-). Sorry about this double comment clutter.


Ashley-- public domain books online aren't pirated-- there's no one to pay, so they're ok.

To add to the library thing-- if someone's books are very popular at the library YES we will automatically buy the author's next book, often in bigger numbers because we're sure we'll need them.

BUT! Not only that, if a book gets checked out a lot, we'll buy more copies of that book to meet demand AND! if a book gets checked out a lot, it'll fall apart and we will buy more copies to replace the ones that fell apart.

Anna P

i love libraries. i turn to them when there is abook i know i liked in the past that i'd like to read again. or when a brand new book comes out that i want to read before i purchase. but chances are, if i loved the book, i'll buy it. then i can, like you, read it on a whim!

Je Reve

Bathroom word! That's great. And thank you, so much, for this post.

Kelly C.

Library's are awesome! I usually have 10+ books out at once, a huge stack on my radio. Once I had 34 books out at once.
Library's are awesome!
Thanks for the post Ms. Shannon!

Amy Chillog

I know this is true in Canada, I dont know if it is in the states, but we have a program where every year books are selected from libraries across the country and the authors are paid a small fee for every time the book was checked out. It doesn't make for a huge check but hey, its better than nothing :)


On a related note, I was wondering what your thoughts are on ebooks--the non-pirated variety? Are they good/bad for bookstores? What about authors? Personally, I love that I can buy up books and not have to worry about finding the space to put them or having to decide which I have to give away when I run out of shelf space. I love that I can even check out ebooks from the online library. But I was curious about your opinion.


You are hilarious and so right!


Hey-hey! And, as a librarian, I was absolutely not offended by your last post, particularly as you gave Hicklebee's a shout out. Librarians love bookstores too. :) And I'm totally going to implement the concept of "bathroom words." Awesome.

Alexandra Wood

I love libraries so much. Walking out of one, I always feel slightly embarrassed carrying lots and lots of books, so many they barely all fit in the bag. I found out about your books from a friend, then after reading the Goose Girl (I took it from her for about three months until she made me give it back), I rushed to the library and got the other three. I now own them :) I have found so many books at the library, and then bought them. So, thanks to the libraries that I am buying so many books!!!

Alexandra Wood

Oh, and I loved your use of "the bathroom word":) You are so definitely one of my four main role models. The others are Candice Night, J.K. Rowling, and Emma Watson.


Poopoo head checking in?

I love my library system and use it every week.
I love book stores and buy books.
I also download books off of bit torrent.

Because I'm slightly nerdy, I keep track of what books I read and buy. 2009 I read 60 books (all library or swapped with friends) and bought 5 books. 2010 I read 54 books (mostly library) and bought 15 books. So far in 2011 I have read 19 books (library and pirated and a few Christmas gifts)and bought 8 books. I started pirating books latter end of last year, and I didn't even realize it was causing me to buy more brick and mortar books until I looked at the numbers.

I don't know if my perspective would change if I were an author or not, so I apologize if I am being obtuse. But as far as I can tell, I've supported more authors since I figured out how to download books.


My library has an ebook system where they purchased a type of license for each ebook available for patrons. If all the licenses are currently 'checked-out', you will go on a waiting list. The nice thing about the ebook system is the book becomes unreadable after the due date and there are no late fees.

I imagine that each license would be the equivalent of purchasing the same number of books from the publisher.


The last area I was in, the people in the library were evil. Evil, I tell you! They stared at me like, "How dare you even think about taking a book out?" I don't know how on earth library people could be evil, but there you go. They were. Where I'm living now the library people are awfully friendly, but the library's awfully small. I prefer the school library, to be honest (but that's because I've spent about half my life for the past six months in there studying. Love by osmosis?) But I borrow a lot of books off friends/random people as well. And lend them too. Because I'm broke and can't afford to buy them, or I lend them out because I want people to read them. Or just because it's a nice little bit of human contact.

By the way, last night as I lay dreaming, it suddenly struck me, and I know this is probably the wrong place to ask, but I have to ask anyway. Bayern people. They don't have last names, do they?


I didn't realize that library circulation helped authors! That is wonderful news. I practically grew up in a library (we went once a week and checked about about 50 books between all the kids in my family!) Now I'm raising my own kids with weekly library trips. We love it!


I sometimes feel guilty for not having enough money to frequently buy books. It's good to know that my frequent library visits DO make a difference.


Hey-hey! And, just to say it in a one sentence way: The difference between checking it out from the library and pirating it is that when you get it at the library, SOMEONE is paying for the book. The author is still benefiting at least a little.


I do both. I have my authors (You being one of them) That as soon as the book comes out I have to buy it to have it in my personal collection. But When I am trying out a new author I will get it through the LIbrary and if I like it then I go and buy it. One of my favorite things to do is go to the book store with no children and wander. I could spend hours in a book store. Freak, just this week I went and bought 4 bags of books. Well over 20 books! It is a good thing my husband loves me! He just told me that in our next house he is going to have to build me a library! YEAH!


There's nothing like the feeling of receiving your very own book, a brand new, fresh one. But don't misjudge me. A library is great! I would die if they weren't around! Where else do you get a book as your own for free for two weeks?! Plus, with libraries, you don't have to take chances. If you don't like the book, it's okay, because you didn't buy it. You RENTED it.
The kind of people who NEVER read books, well, they kind of annoy me. They don't know the feeling of being surrounded by shelves and shelves of books. Some would feel trapped, but I'm delighted. In movies and such, the librarian always comes around the corner and goes, "SHUSH!!" But that's not what happens. A library is just naturally quiet. You can lose yourself in a world of wonder, mystery, fantasy, action, adventure, or romance, and not remember to pick up the kids at school untill they feel so forgotten they have to call you. But when the call comes, you feel refreshed, like you just got the eight hours of sleep you keep promising you'll get tomorrow night.
There's one MAJOR perk only in bookstores: Starbucks is just a few feet away!

Princess Luna

I never saw why people do piracy (Arr =D ). It isn't benificial for anybody and can people in BIG TROUBLE. And libaries rock and so do bookstores. A place holding books are awsome! Long live stories!


For the people who truly do not understand piracy, I will play some devil's advocate.

1st, you come from the assumption that everybody who is a pirate is living in the west world, having the upbringing, education, job options, salaries and lifestyle.
Where you are dead wrong.

I want to point something out. My country is part of Europe. I want to point out that the minimum wage is 235 lv. which is roughly 146 $. I would love you to think about this for a moment and to consider that the prices of art, magazines, books, software, games, movies and music produced in the West world are the same as what you are paying.

Just for the record, the average salary teachers get is between 400/600 lv per month or 300/400$. If you receive around 1000 lv. (700$) you are considered well paid.

So... many people just do not have the option to be able to always pay the kind of prices which are low or normal... for your part of the world.

Also, in regards to books, ebay and Amazon are not making deliveries so my only way to read your books if someone send them to me or if I travel international and fin them in foreign library.

Please, take these things into consideration before taking off on your high horse.


I love the lybrary! Every time I walk in it's like majic pulls me to the books. And the majic lets go of me intell I grab a book off the shelf. As if it called me to it to release itself from the shelf. And I immediatly read it's pages.


Hey-hey! That's what I do when I'm buying books. And thanks to everyone for all the "shout outs" to libraries. Makes me happy for my profession and that people do love and use us!



They reviewed "Princess Academy" over at Bookie Woogie and I thought you'd like to see their artwork!


An example of how libraries help authors: My friend Jacqueline Jules recently won a Cybils for her early chapter book, FREDDIE RAMOS TAKES OFF. I mentioned it to our children's book selector, and she ordered 8 copies (for the 22 libraries in the system) of all 3 FREDDIE RAMOS books. She said "we'll see how it does" and plans to order more copies if demand is high. That's a nice amount of sales right there.

On a related note, I just wrote a blog post in support of library funding. I'd love comments! That's at http://sonderbooks.com/blog/?p=2785


Thanks so much for the comment, Shannon!


I absolutely LOVE (must emphsize) the library. Sometimes I check out as many as 20 books from the library. EEK! Can you write more books?


Another librarian here. Yes, we do base our buying decisions, including the number of copies to buy, on how well an author's book has circulated in the past. As others have indicated, we also purchase extra copies of high demand books that have a lengthy holds list. And when a well-loved and oft-circulated book finally falls apart, we buy a replacement copy.

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