Sunday 22 December 2013

The wrong kind of library is demanding my books!

This has happened with all my books. First I get a request from Edinburgh to mail five copies of the book to the legal depositories of the five UK and Ireland non-lending libraries. Then I have to do the same for the non-lending British Library. This exercise costs me around £50 every time I have to do it, for each book. Yet all they do with these books is to store them in some deep, dark vault for ever and ever. They are of no use to anyone whatsoever. So, in effect, the royalities of the first 25 copies of every book I publish go to fund this pointless exercise. In a digital day-and-age this practice is ludicrous. But it is British law, so I have to go along with it.

What rubs salt into the wound even more is the fact that, back in the summer, I went into my local public LENDING library (a different thing altogether from the above storage libraries) to ask if Leeds City Libraries would be willing to put my books onto their shelves.

I was told that the only way I could get them onto the shelves would be to donate copies. So I said, okay that's fine, because all I want to do is to help other families facing this deadly illness.

So they asked me to leave my books with them and they'd send them down to the 'powers that be' at the central library or wherever for them to OK things.

However this would only get one copy of each book into 'the system'. Presumably if I want more books on more library shelves then I'd have to donate more copies. And, of course, this would only be on the shelves of Leeds City Libraries, not any of the hundreds of other public lending libraries across the UK.

Although I love donating my books (as I've done with various eating disorder charities across the UK, etc and would, in an ideal world, love to do for every lending library in the UK), I can only donate 'so many' copies before I end up seriously subsidising my activities.

Which brings me back to our local lending library in Leeds...

I've been checking the Leeds lending library catalogue and, despite leaving my books with our local library in the summer, I don't appear to be on it yet. And I'd already contacted the Leeds Central Library to chase this up, but received NO reply.

So I popped into our local library on Friday to ask why. It is now several months since I first took in a copy of Please eat and When Anorexia Came To Visit.

No-one had any idea, and suggested that maybe the books had been shredded as being 'unsuitable' for public lending libraries.

Well, I was furious!

Not only are these copies that could have been put to better use, but here we have the six UK non-lending libraries hounding me for copies of my book... the latest being the British Library today... just to bury them in some deep, dark, dusty vault never to be seen again.

Yet I can't get my books onto the shelves of the libaries where they will be of most use: public lending libraries. 

But - and I just don't get it - our local library has lots of independently published books on their shelves, many of which look pretty amateur and cover obscure topics.

Also, the Eating Disorders section contains all the books that sit alongside mine on Amazon e.g. Harriet Brown, Lynn Crilly, etc.

But not mine!!

And THE ONLY REASON I want to get my books onto those shelves is so that they help other families.

As I said (loudly) to the useless assistant in the library: "I DO NOT WANT OTHER FAMILIES TO GO THROUGH WHAT WE WENT THROUGH. MY SON NEARLY DIED."



  1. I noticed you've deleted the blog I commented on. I'm really hoping that this is because you've conceded that your description could be insensitive and hurtful to people with certain disorders.
    However, I'm a little disappointed that you didn't reply, which might have broken down the stigma a bit. Due to the stigma of having a mental illness, sometimes people prefer to emphasise the biological/medical/scientific aspects of the disease... (Which is silly because psychiatry is a branch of medicine anyway) in doing so, they are distancing themselves from psychological disorders and (I think) shaming them.
    I had to comment as I am a firm believer n advocating for those with mental illness and against speech that discriminates and further marginalises people.
    Anyway, if upsets me enough when people say this sort of thing but it really hurts when if comes from within the mental health community.

    1. Hi Alice, I did reply, but - of course - the reply is at the foot of the blog post! In essence, I was confused at what you were saying, because - as far as all the latest research is showing - eating disorders are BIOLOGICAL brain illnesses. Certainly, psychiatry does need to play a significant role, but if you'd like to find out more, please check out Bryan Laske's research: What none of us is doing is being hurtful or insensitive, or shaming or belittling, just following the latest scientific research in this much mis-understood and under-researched illness - and, to be honest, it makes so much sense.

    2. I never said my eating disorder was not biological.
      I am saying there are other disorders (eg personality disorders) that are non biological and it felt like you were saying it's okay to have a biological illness but if it wasn't, then you should be ashamed.
      People who suffer psychological (as opposed to biological/psychiatric) are no more at fault.

    3. Apologies for misunderstanding you. I completely agree with you that people with psychological illnesses are in no way at fault and should never be discriminated against. I apologise if I gave the wrong impression in my blog post which I have since updated. Thank you so much for commenting. Bev

    4. Thank you so much for the apology, bev. It is accepted, of course. In sorry if I came across as harsh, I just knew that you would have said this unintentionally and would prefer it brought to your attention that you could be upsetting some readers.
      I tend to try and mention it now and then because otherwise our automatic language of mental illness will never change xx

    5. Thanks, Alice. I really do welcome comments on my blog - so thank you for getting in touch and, hopefully, helping me to clarify what I meant to convey! Bev xx