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January 23, 2012

FWIW, the publisher Penguin has discontinued library lending of its new e-books. Can they do that? you wonder.

Maybe. If I can start a paragraph with “FWIW” and have it be understood by most of you, possibly even accepted, then things are clearly different from a decade ago.

Penguin can stop selling e-books to Overdrive, the company that provides e-book service to most libraries that lend e-books. Whether they can legally prevent e-book lending in other ways has yet to be tested.

But since we’ve recently started lending e-books through Overdrive, I thought I’d keep you posted. There are more ups and downs, pushing and pulling, to come in this industry.

I believe publishers will eventually see libraries as their friends in the digital world rather than a threat, which seems to be their current stance.

Libraries have provided a major market for most books published. They bring money to the table and obey the law, a significant ally in an age when people don’t bat an eye about stealing digital things. Libraries also help maintain the culture on which their livelihood depends.

E-book sales are growing fast. Whatever the book marketplace looks like in the future, the happy fact remains that there is a book marketplace. Books will be written. People will read them.

Perhaps the presentation of text will evolve. It has already, since the idea of the “page” is certainly mutating. If you can re-paginate the page of a book on your e-reader by making the text larger and easier to read, what does it mean to cite something on page 29?

How does the index of an e-book work? Does the ability to search by keyword suffice?

Books, new and old, are being re-imagined these days. Every year we issue a challenge of some sort to artists and then display the responses in our “challenge show” over Art Walk. In recent years, we’ve encouraged collaboration between visual artists and poets.

This year, we’ve returned to a book theme: “Between the covers: a bookish affair.” As stated on our website, “All Arkansas Valley bibliophilic visual artists and writers are invited to enter. The theme of the show is the love of books, from bibliophiles to bibliomaniacs.”

So, bibliomaniacal artists are invited, too. It’s wide open, as you might infer from reading the parameters for writers and visual artists. Writing must be related to theme; poems 20 lines or less, prose up to 250 words. Artwork must also be related to theme and can be two- or three-dimensional.

Maximum frame dimensions for wall art are 18 in. by 24 in., plus there are some constraints for weight and the hanging system. Free-standing three-dimensional pieces are limited to a base of 18×18 inches and a height of 24 inches.

Otherwise … it’s up to you. Entry deadline is May 1; drop-off date for visual art is May 10; the show will run from May 12 to June 30. See our website for more information.

Phew. Just wanted to get this announced, with plenty of time for you to consider the theme and develop a piece.

The show really is open to any celebration of the book: sculpture, poetry, altered books, paintings, multimedia displays of all kinds. I can’t possibly list what you might imagine.

For more information, check out the library website,, or call Sally Mather at 539-9636, email:


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