Horrible Histories Author Terry Deary On Libraries: ‘No Longer Relevant’.
Most authors support public libraries – but not Terry Deary, author of the children’s series Horrible Histories. He told The Guardian that “the concept behind libraries… is no longer relevant.”
He went on to say,
“Because it’s been 150 years, we’ve got this idea that we’ve got an entitlement to read books for free, at the expense of authors, publishers and council tax payers. This is not the Victorian age, when we wanted to allow the impoverished access to literature. We pay for compulsory schooling to do that.
“Books aren’t public property, and writers aren’t Enid Blyton, middle-class women indulging in a pleasant little hobby. They’ve got to make a living. Authors, booksellers and publishers need to eat. We don’t expect to go to a food library to be fed.”
The newspaper points out that Deary, who was the seventh most-borrowed children’s writer from UK libraries last year, will have been paid through the UK’s Public Lending Right scheme, “which gives authors 6.2p every time one of their books is borrowed, up to a cap of £6,600 (approx $10,250).”
However, Deary said, “If I sold the book I’d get 30p per book. I get six [thousand], and I should be getting £180,000… Why are all the authors coming out in support of libraries when libraries are cutting their throats and slashing their purses?”
Unsurprisingly, some prominent authors have taken to Twitter to express a different sentiment.