ALDL demanding copies they aren’t entitled to?

A letter arrives today, addressed to my company, Chieftain Publishing, from the “Agency for the Legal Deposit Libraries”. 

In the UK there is a duty on publishers to supply a free copy of each of 6 libraries: The British Library, Oxford, Cambridge, National Library of Scotland, ditto of Wales, and Trinity College Dublin.  It is a much resented provision among publishers, especially publishers of expensive limited-run books.  It’s not that useful a provision, when you consider that none of these libraries will make copies available by inter-library loan to people like you and I. 

The letter demands 5 copies of the Eusebius book paperback, under the Legal Deposit Libraries Act 2003. 

But they’ve already had 5 copies of the hardback, and indeed I have an acknowledgement of receipt.  So I’m rather baffled.  Can they really be entitled to yet more copies of a book which are basically the same?

But the web is a wonderful thing.  The Act itself is here, and laid out — thankfully — in a very readable form.  And what do I see at the top?

Duty to deposit
1.Deposit of publications
2.New and alternative editions

“New and alternative editions” sounds relevant, so I open it up.  And I find…

(1)This Act does not apply to a work which is substantially the same as one already published in the same medium in the United Kingdom.

So I have written back and queried their request.  After all, whatever would the libraries whom they represent do with TWO copies of the book?  I shall await a response with interest.

But I wonder how many publishers just sent copies regardless?  And what happens to them?


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