Issue 83: Author’s CDL Thoughts, WWE’s Monopsony, Child’s Library Book

Posted on 4 minute read

Greetings from the wintery mix that is central Ohio. The local school district called off school yesterday afternoon in preparation for what came today. Also yesterday: Ohio’s own “Buckeye Chuck” predicted an early spring. Let’s be grateful for snow days (and teenagers who shovel snow) and for predictions of early spring.

In the meantime, the threads this week:

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Author Speaks Up for Controlled Digital Lending

Screen capture of Maria Bustillos tweet saying 'ebooks are books! CDL is Controlled Digital Lending, and it means treating ebooks like paper books, so you can borrow them from libraries. This is COOL and GOOD
The controversial tweet.
The Big Five publishing houses’ share of the approximately $25 billion book publishing market is estimated at 80%. And it’s Big Publishing that is indeed throwing its weight around by suing the Internet Archive (the “org making reproductions” referenced here, which is actually a California state library and leading institution for digital preservation, not some random “org”). Again, [Controlled Digital Lending] provides the legal framework for any library to make **one copy** of **one paper book** that it owns and loan it to **one patron** at a time.
What Kind of Writer Accuses Libraries of Stealing? Maria Bustillos on Popula, 22-Jan-2022

Maria Bustillos wrote approvingly of controlled digital lending (CDL) in a quoted tweet of the Internet Archive. In response, she received a flurry of negative responses that seem to misunderstand a fundamental tenant of CDL: the own-to-loan ratio. If a library owns a copy of a book and takes the steps to physically sequester it, the library can loan a digital copy to patrons. I’ve read a lot on the library’s perspective of CDL, and it was useful to hear how an author’s perspective aligns with the goals of the library.

The Wrestling Monopsony

In the 70s, there were 32 wrestling promoters in the North American market, all competing for audiences and performers, all bidding to sew up TV rights with different broadcasters. Wrestlers like Andre the Giant were able to improve their working conditions by playing off rival leagues against one another. In a single lifetime, the market has collapsed, with 85% market-share going to WWE and McMahon, the billionaire major Trump donor whose loyalty was rewarded when his wife Linda, a WWE executive, was given a plum job as head of Trump's Small Business Administration.
Grappling with Big Wrestling: Vince McMahon has a monopoly on violence , Cory Doctorow's Pluralistic, 31-Jan-2022

Pulling through a thread from last week about Worldwide Wrestling Entertainment’s video archive…I included a quote from WWE’s Director of Media Technology Bryan Staffaroni: "We owned so much of the WCW library, but we just never opened some boxes, because we just had so much stuff." It came from a section near the end of the article. The last paragraph explains why they have so much archival material: “Recently, WWE acquired one of the few North American organizations it had yet to own: Mid-South Wrestling…”

Cory Doctorow’s post provides a perspective on an article from The American Prospect. Not only do we know why there are so many unopened boxes, but we know how WWE can afford its digital preservation infrastructure.

Self-publishing the Local Way

Photograph of the cover of Dillon's addition to his local Idaho library. In a child's handwriting, the cover says 'The Adventures of Dillon Helbig’s Crismis by Dillon his self'
The cover of Dillon's book.
The staff librarians who read Dillon's book agreed that as informal and unconventional as it was, the book met the selection criteria for the collection in that it was a high-quality story that was fun to read. So, [library branch manager Alex] Hartman asked [Dillon's mother Susan] Helbig for permission to tack a bar code onto the book and formally add it to the library’s collection.
An 8-year-old slid his handwritten book onto a library shelf. It now has a years-long waitlist , Washington Post, 31-Jan-2022

We know how modern self-publishing works—Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing allows anyone to put their words onto paper and sell them to the world, for instance. This is a more homespun version. Dillon inserts his own book into the collection of his local library. If he wants, I think Dillon has the storyline for his second book.

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

Photograph of two cats sitting on each end of a bed. Between the two cats is a square pillow standing upright. The white cat with black spots is in a cat bed with its head turned towards the black cat. The black cat is on a multicolored blanket with its head turned towards the white cat.  They eye each other with suspicion.
Alan and Mittens can coexist...under the right conditions.

Alan and Mittens share the spotlight this week. They can get along with a little help from the humans.


This revival of Thursday Threads has made it a month! I’ve learned a lot along the way that I’ll summarize in a blog post next week, and I hope you have found a useful thread or two that has made you think or has brightened your day.