Japan: “Gibberish Book Draws Fire For Inclusion in National Library at Taxpayer’s Expense”
Empowered as the repository of the nation’s publications, the National Diet Library has paid a one-man Tokyo publisher about 1.36 million yen ($11,333) for copies of a nonsensical book he created as a “work of art.”
After the addition of the book “Asho,” published by Risu no Shobo in Tokyo’s Sumida Ward, drew fire online, library officials contacted the man on Oct. 28 about returning the copies to him.
Critics argue that the man is only interested in “compensation money,” which the library pays to publishers for copies that will be preserved in the repository.
Under the law, publishers are required to deposit a copy of their publications in the National Diet Library.
The step is aimed to contribute to a broader circulation of publications, and those that have been published in “certain numbers” are eligible to be included at the national entity.
In return, the National Diet Library pays the publishers half of the prices of the publications and shipping fees as “compensation money.”
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Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.