I’m on a mailing list where we discuss book issues. There are authors, publishers, industry people, and librarians on this list. Recently we’ve been discussing the Internet Archive’s ongoing legal dispute with the AAP (Association of American Publishers). If you recall the Archive made many copyrighted books available on their website via the National Emergency Library (NEL) during COVID. Publishers did not appreciate this and sued them. There has been a lot of paperwork and blog posts going back and forth. Most recently the Archive requested “comps” or sales data for not only the 127 books that the Archive made available that are the core of this suit, but also similar books to get an idea of what sort of market effect the NEL had on these publishers. The publishers pushed back on this claiming “… since books are not fungible widgets [the request] rests on a false premise…. There is no such thing as a ‘comparable book’—even if ‘comparable’ is defined as some undefined period of sales data. Should Catcher in the Rye have similar sales to a bestselling cookbook, no one could plausibly contend the two works were ‘comparable.” I decided to push back a little on this idea, from a librarian perspective and talk about whether books are fungible….
I am the lead on the Vermont Library Association website. One of the things we do a LOT of is post jobs. Many of these jobs are in small or rural libraries and don’t always pay well. We made a decision to start strongly encouraging people to post the pay range and here was our explanation for why.
We’ve been talking amongst ourselves on the web team and wanted to put in a friendly encouragement for people to put salary or hourly $$ ranges and description of benefits in their job ads if they’re posting them on the VLA web site.
We’d like this for a few reasons, primarily because of equity and diversity issues. This slightly tongue in cheek blog post has a good enumeration of the reasons that this is a positive move for employers to make.
And here’s a slightly more serious post from NTEN
- People don’t want to apply for a job if they don’t know the salary and if it will pay what they need a job to pay (i.e you will get more and better applicants if you include this information)
- Transparency with salaries leads to better equity among staff (i.e. “harder negotiators” don’t necessarily get paid more, people know what to expect)
- If the salary isn’t on the job ad, ask yourself why it isn’t (I know many of our jobs don’t pay well, but this is a separate issue, not one that should lead to pay being left off of a job ad)
If people would like to discuss this as a group, or email me directly, please feel free. Thank you for considering it.