May 20, 2022

Washington Post Editorial: “Free Books Online? Who Could Be Against That?”

From the Editorial Board of the Washington Post:

Imagine a repository full of free books, available at the click of a button to anyone, anywhere, anytime. Whether this is a utopia, a dystopia or something in between depends on whom you ask — but thanks to the Internet Archive, it’s a reality. Now publishers are suing to stop it


The Internet Archive’s approach is much like piracy and less like a library. The repository ought to negotiate with publishers to get more books to more people — but also more money to more authors who’ve rightfully earned it. Yet what this kerfuffle over a non-library reveals is really a library problem. The legal and business landscape lags a public that more and more is reading digitally. Publishers impose fees and conditions that they consider necessary to stay afloat and librarians consider draconian. It’s past time to catch up: The National Emergency Library isn’t really a library, but libraries are facing a bit of a national emergency.

Read the Complete Editorial (approx. 500 words)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.