Best-selling author Neil Gaiman recounts his at-first rocky relationship with the interwebs, which led to progressive (and, as it turned out, brilliant) experiments with offering American Gods for free online. Piracy led to discovery; person-to-person book loans the same.
"You can’t look at it as a lost sale. You are advertising."
This is exactly the benefit libraries offer (but they always pay for the content, mind!). Thank you, Mr. Gaiman.
For most of the human race, pretty much all of the lifespan of the human race, information was currency. Information was like gold. It was rare, it was hard to find, it was expensive. You could get your information, but you had to know where to go, you had to know what you were looking at, you had to know how to find your information. It was hard. And librarians were the key players in the battle for information, because they could go and get and bring back this golden nugget for you, the thing that you needed.
Over the last decade, which is less than a blink of an eye in the history of the human race, it’s all changed. And we’ve gone from a world in which there is too little information, in which information is scarce, to a world in which there is too much information, and most of it is untrue or irrelevant. You know, the world of the Internet is the world of information that is not actually so. It’s a world of information that just isn’t actually true, or if it is true, it’s not what you needed, or it doesn’t actually apply like that, or whatever. And you suddenly move into a world in which librarians fulfill this completely different function.
We’ve gone from looking at a desert, in which a librarian had to walk into the desert for you and come back with a lump of gold, to a forest, to this huge jungle in which what you want is one apple. And at that point, the librarian can walk into the jungle and come back with the apple. So I think from that point of view, the time of librarians, and the time of libraries—they definitely haven’t gone anywhere.
And I stand by every word of it.
Fiction is dangerous, Gaiman explained, because “it lets you into others’ heads, it gives you empathy, and it shows you that the world doesn’t have to be like the one you live in.” That imaginative leap into other minds and other worlds is surely the reason many of us read fiction.
Mahnaz Dar, Associate Editor, LJ: Words in Your Face: A Guided Tour Through Twenty Years of the New York City Poetry Slam by Cristin O’Keefe & Francesca Lia Block’s I Was a Teenage Fairy.
Shelley Diaz, Associate Editor, SLJ: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender.
Kate DiGirolomo, Editorial Assistant, LJ: Isaac Marion’s Warm Bodies.
Josh Hadro, Executive Editor, LJ: Kraken by China Miéville.
Stephanie Klose, Media Editor, LJ:Catriona McPherson’s Dandy Gilver and the Proper Treatment of Bloodstains.
Molly McArdle, Assistant Book Review Editor, LJ: Marilynne Robinson’s Home.
Chelsey Philpot, Associate Book Review Editor, SLJ: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Flappers and Philosophers as well as A LOT of new June and July YA novels.
Meredith Schwartz, News Editor, LJ: Suzanne Joinson’s The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind.
Henrietta Thornton-Verma, Reviews Editor, LJ: Suzanne Joinson’s A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar & Pól Ó Murchú’s A Grammar of Modern Irish.
Wilda Willams, Fiction Editor, LJ: Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane.
Neil Gaiman 7-years-old, Radio Interview BBC Radio ‘World at Weekend’, August 1968.
“Keith Graves: What is Scientology?
Neil: It is an applied philosophy dealing with the study of knowledge.
Keith Graves: Do you know what philosophy is?
Neil: I used to, but I’ve forgotten.
Keith Graves: Who told you that meaning of Scientology?
Neil: In clearer words, it’s a way to make the able person more able.
Keith Graves: What does it do for you — Scientology — does it make you feel a better boy?
Neil: Not exactly that, but when you make a release you feel absolutely great.
Keith Graves: Do you get what you call a release very often, or do you have this all the time?
Neil: Well, you only keep a release all the time when you get Clear. I’m six courses away from Clear.” Read the rest.
Neil Gaiman reads “The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury,” a short story from the upcoming anthology Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury.