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."