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Nonfiction Matters
Inside Nonfiction Matters

Delayed

Sorry to Be Posting Late — I Am Doing Too Many Things at Once

I have the printed out pages of two books on my desk, was working on an Op-Ed, and have to plan for school visits next week — and yet there is an interesting way in which all these parts fit together. One book was seriously delayed because there were so many rights to clear. The main obstruction was not even cost, it was just getting a response from the rights holders in order to create a budget. Another book is fine on permissions — as a book — but a teacher just asked me if he could offer it as a digital feed to a school, and then study how teachers use text in that form. I like the idea — but dread the thought of going back to all of the image rights holders to clear a school site license perm — if they even have a way to calcualte that. Then, as mentioned, I’ve been emailing with some of the students who are reading one of my books.
          So here we are trapped by permissions, yet with the digital world knocking on our doors. It seems we fall either way — we who write and publish live by copyright so have to be especially respectful of the rights held by others; and yet we feel the world shaking and shifting as multimedia expressions and digital connections seems to shift from possible to necessary. This is exactly what I decide to write an Op-Ed about (I’ll let you know if it finds a home). 
          There really needs to be some middle place — some school, some think tank, some R&D lab where book creators, digital technologists, educators, librarians, game inventors — sit together and come up with models. If we all had a map — here is how you clear perms, this is a good way to handle digital contacts with schools — we’d all be doing great things, or, at least, finding some 20′s year olds to help us. But for the moment we don’t have that spot — so all we can do is scurry around (and be late posting to our blogs).