“Libraries are Doomed!” – Oh Deary, Deary, Deary.




Terry Deary, the author of the Horrible Histories books has come out and said Libraries are no longer needed.

No, seriously….an AUTHOR…who is saying we no longer need libraries!!


This is what he said:

“I’m not attacking libraries, I’m attacking the concept behind libraries, which is no longer relevant,” Deary told the Guardian, pointing out that the original Public Libraries Act, which gave rise to the first free public libraries in the UK, was passed in 1850. “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,”

“People have to make the choice to buy books. People will happily buy a cinema ticket to see Roald Dahl’s Matilda, and expect to get the book for free. It doesn’t make sense,” he said. “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.”


His Logic.

Each time his book gets borrowed he gets 6.2p, up to a maximum £6600 per annum.

Now, assuming he is to sell a book, he gets 30p, with no maximum.

As he is the 7th most popular borrowed children’s author, he reckons, libraries are doing him out of money.

500,000 copies of his books were borrowed in 2011/12.

Terry says:

If I sold the book I’d get 30p per book. I get six grand, and I should be getting £180,000. But never mind my selfish author perception – what about the bookshops? The libraries are doing nothing for the book industry. They give nothing back, whereas bookshops are selling the book, and the author and the publisher get paid, which is as it should be. What other entertainment do we expect to get for free?”

But does Terry think that EVERY one of the lends is a missing book sale?

And Bookshops are closing because of libraries??

Have libraries not existed all this time in companionship with libraries?

My son has become a voracious reader(Woohoo!). And as we live across the road from the library, he is over there at least 3 times a weeks. He is constantly ordering and reading books.

I couldn’t afford to buy all those books!!

So, without the library, I would be in jeopardy of my son not getting his literary fuel!


Not Everyone Thinks The Same As Mr Deary


julia donaldsonJulia Donaldson, Children’s Laureate and author of the Gruffalo (And 3rd most borrowed Children’s author!), thinks Deary is quite far off with his reasoning…..



She says:

“When I did my recent library tour from John O’Groats to Lands End, I interspersed the library visits with signings in local bookshops, and the booksellers all blamed Amazon, and to some extent ebooks, for their decline,” she said. “If yet more bookshops close and people can only find books online, without public libraries there would be no place for children to physically browse and discover their tastes in reading. And publishers would only be able to publish the most popular titles, so that far more authors would be out of a living.”

And on the topic of libraries:

“I think it’s brilliant that libraries are free. Not only do library users also buy books, but if some users genuinely are too poor to buy books, then it’s great that we’ve got libraries for those people … [And] If libraries have any bearing on bookshops, it’s the other way – libraries are creating readers,”


So, we have two conflicting ideas……Who is right?

Well, as the average author having an income of around £16,000 per year, and considering the Top 10 authors take 50% of the total income, I would say the humble 6.2p, soon adds up, and becomes a substantial percentage of the average authors income.


What do you think?

Are libraries out dated?



Filed under General

2 responses to ““Libraries are Doomed!” – Oh Deary, Deary, Deary.

  1. For me, the feeling of being in a library, the smell of books, silence that everybody respects and walking among book shelves can never be replaced by anything else.

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