There's a website I want to ask about, although I donít know for sure if itís a genuine concern. (I first ran this by Mr. Macdonald and his reply was to go ahead and post. He was vaguely familiar with the name and remembered some discussion about it years ago on SFF.net, but perhaps someone here knows more about them.) The site is called Bookshare.org, and is a site for people with print disabilities. The reason I'm questioning its practices is spelled out below, but first, here's their website:
One thing that's questionable is how they obtain their books to share. For example, here's my book:
Unbeknownst to me, it was submitted to the site by Daproim Africa, an "Information Management" company in Kenya:
Not only have I never heard of them, but one critical piece of information listed for my book is wrong- Stacey L. King is the cover artist. The copyright is under my name.
Basically, it appears that anyone can donate any book to Bookshare as long as they sign up to be a "volunteer." It doesn't even have to be a digital book- they'll take scanned books too:
While I certainly don't want to deny readers with disabilities the chance to read my novel, this is not like a library where you have to bring the book back- it seems like the "borrowers" could then send the book to as many people as they like, perhaps even sell it online or put it on a file-share site. (Which, in a way, is what Bookshare seems to be, only with over 80,000 copyrighted titles.) While they state they have the cooperation and funding of the U.S. Department of Education, the odd disclaimer at the bottom of their home page ("Opinions expressed herein," etc.) raises some red flags. Not only that, but the method for signing up to download books (up to 100 per month) is fraught with potential fraud- you just have to fill out two forms "under penalty of perjury" (how that would be enforced is a mystery) and fax or mail them in. That's it:
If you claim to be a disabled student there's no cost, but if you're a school or other organization, the cost can be quite hefty, up to $600:
I did notice that a few well known publishers have agreed to add their books to the site (it's not a long list) so perhaps Bookshare is perfectly legit, but the way they obtained my book without my knowledge and who can download it still concerns me.
I would be interested in your comments/thoughts.