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?
“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?