AAP Sends Letter to President-Elect Donald Trump

AAP, books, ebooks, sales, publishersThe Association of American Publishers (AAP) sent a letter to President-Elect Donald Trump this morning.

The letter, signed by Allan Adler, general counsel and vice president of government affairs for the AAP, runs five pages and discusses, in part, why effective copyright legal protections are critical for publishers; how publishers make significant societal contributions; China’s “failure to live up to its commitments to lift restrictions on foreign investment in publications importation and distribution”; and why Congress must fix the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

After introducing what the AAP is, the letter continues:

Among AAP’s highest public policy priorities are the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, defense of the freedom to read and the freedom to publish, and promotion of research, education and literacy.

While the Internet and smartphones have added texting, tweeting, emailing, instant messaging, social networking, and blogging to the ways individuals communicate privately with a few or publicly with a crowd, publishing an original work remains a compelling way to tell a story, explain any subject, offer a viewpoint, or spread facts and ideas. Some authors choose to self-publish, but the more traditional approach of an author teaming up with an established publisher is still a tried and true means for people with something to say to reach those willing to heed them, even amidst the constant flow of so many digitally-enabled voices, texts and images competing for their attention at all times of every day wherever they may be.

Click here to read the full letter.


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One thought on “AAP Sends Letter to President-Elect Donald Trump

  1. Michael W. Perry

    There’s much to like in that letter, but this illustrates a problem with its tone: “This is not industry puffery, Mr. President-Elect. You and your daughter Ivanka are part of the proof, having authored some 18 popular books in the past thirty years…”

    Open letters often fail by either being patronizing, stating things the expected recipient already knows, or being misdirected, having as their real audience someone other than the person to which it is addressed. This one seems to fail on both counts.

    My own attitudes differ from those of the AAP. I don’t think the difficulties that publishing faces are remotely comparable to those being faced by people in our Rust Belt. There, millions of once good-paying jobs have been destroyed by a global economy that creates a nasty race to the bottom with wages. Even worse, efforts to create robotic vehicles and drones could mean an end to many of the good-paying jobs that remain. That matters the most, and that’s where this new administration should focus. We need to use our technical expertise not to put truckers out of work but to enable well-paid workers in American factories to compete with low-paid workers elsewhere in the world. That’s what matters.

    Publishing doesn’t face disasters on that scale. It faces challenges. The new technologies have more advantages than disadvantages. In 1996, a small publisher like myself had severely limited distribution options. Now I merely check a few boxes and my books are available within days at retailers around the world. POD means no inventory woes. Digital means I make 70% on each sale rather than 25%. And for the foreseeable future my English language skills are not threatened by a labor force moving into large cities from Chinese villages. I have it easy and see no reason to whine.

    Publishing needs to keep something else in mind. I’m currently reading Charles Koch’s Good Profit, with its stress on how businesses, their employees, and customers can benefit one another. Publishing isn’t an island. Chronic unemployment reduces the money people have to buy books. Serious issues with health, drug abuse and alcoholism are not likely to lead to a more literate and eager-to-read public. Bad news in the Rust Belt means bad news in Manhattan publishing.

    The AAP needs to realize that the best way to revive a stagnant publishing industry is to create a more vibrant national economy. Compared to that, the issues that the AAP mentions in that letter aren’t of much importance. They can wait and receive a lower priority. None of the executives at the big publishing houses fret about being able to afford toys for their kids this Christmas. Millions of Americans do.

    –Michael W. Perry, Inkling Books

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