For immediate release: September 29, 2022


Signed by a vast and diverse list of authors, the letter decries conduct from major publishers and trade associations, including their lawsuit against the Internet Archive, demanding that they cease efforts to undermine the essential contributions of libraries to an accessible and inclusive world of books.

Over 300 authors including Neil Gaiman, Alok Menon, Naomi Klein, Saul Williams, Hanif Abdurraqib, Lawrence Lessig, Chuck Wendig, and Cory Doctorow have released an open letter in support of the continued role of libraries in the digital age. 

It reads in part:

“Libraries are a fundamental collective good. We, the undersigned authors, are disheartened by the recent attacks against libraries being made in our name by trade associations such as the American Association of Publishers and the Publishers Association: undermining the traditional rights of libraries to own and preserve books, intimidating libraries with lawsuits, and smearing librarians.“

The full text of the letter, full list of signatories, as well as a form for more authors to sign on is available at

The letter demands that publishers, distributors, and trade associations:

  1. Enshrine the right of libraries to own, preserve, and loan books on reasonable terms regardless of format
  2. End lawsuits aimed to intimidate libraries or diminish their role in society
  3. Halt industry-led smear campaigns against librarians

Notable among the signatories are Chuck Wendig and Neil Gaiman. Wendig initially criticized the Internet Archive’s temporary suspension of 1-owned-to-1-loaned restrictions during the first pandemic lockdown, but has since spoken out against major publishers’ lawsuit against the library, joining Gaiman. The suit seeks to end the Internet Archive’s Open Library Project, which partners with 80+ libraries including Boston Public Library, Milton Public Library, University of Arizona, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art to loan out digital scans of physical books the Internet Archive Library owns.

The suit’s scope reaches to the core of the right to own digital books. Briefs in the case are due October 7th. If publishers prevail, they will effectively terminate the rights of all libraries across the US to own, preserve, and loan digital books by “blocking” a practice called controlled digital lending—locking in licensing models with grave implications for readers’ safety.

These authors are joined by prominent technologists who have authored books, including Douglas Rushkoff, Stephen D. Crocker, Gustavo A. Rivera, Saul Aguiar, David J. Farber, Andrew Revkin, and Micah Sifry, as well as prominent published activists including Alyssa Milano, Medea Benjamin, Daniel Ellsberg, Baratunde Thurston, Tom Morello, and Lilly Wachowski (The Matrix).

Lia Holland, Campaigns and Communications Director of digital rights nonprofit Fight for the Future, which organized the letter, said: “For far too long, authors have been caught in an impossible bind: the publishers and trade associations they rely on for their livelihoods are acting against the interests of literally everyone but the most wealthy authors. Major publishers are reaping historic profits from underpaying, underpromoting, and undersupporting most authors, then double-dipping on their own abusive practices by standing up struggling authors as the reason publishers need even more power and control. Until now, authors have often been silent in their role as human shields to defend terrible behavior from industry titans and their armies of lawyers and lobbyists. This has to end, and authors taking back their voices for the sake of the libraries that have always championed authors, access, and diversity is the first step.”

Author Chuck Wendig said: “Libraries and librarians are champions of both the under-served reader and the under-seen writer. I used to work in the public library, and I cherished that the library helped writers find readers, and readers to find writers — and writers of every level, to boot, from midlist or bestseller or debut. It is vital we make sure these seeds are planted, watered, and allowed to grow unhindered.”

Author Cory Doctorow, whose forthcoming book Chokepoint Capitalism with fellow signatory Rebecca Giblin explores the harms of big content to creators, said: “Anyone who tells you libraries and authors are on the opposite side of *any* issue has grossly misunderstood the nature of libraries, or authors, or both. We are class allies and artistic comrades-in-arms.”

Poet and co-organizer Jonathan Mendoza said: “I want a future in which authors and artists are fairly compensated for their work and where their works can still be affordable and accessible to everyone most affected by capitalism and inequity. Libraries, and their ability to lend e-books in a reasonable manner, are key to this outcome. The ever-more-common profit-driven efforts of major publishers to drive up the cost to access literature should distress us all. I encourage authors to join this letter in support of libraries and of the more equitable and accessible future that our works so often seek to build.”

Author, PEN/Hemingway award winner, and first trans woman nominee for the Women’s Book Award Torrey Peters said:  “I flat-out owe my career as a trans author to the unimpeded circulation of digital books: the first trans books that inspired me were digital, my own first books were published digitally. Book stores didn’t carry our books at first. Therefore, any readers that have felt their own emotions changed by my published work–no matter in what medium–ultimately also owe that change to digital books. Everybody benefits when digital books are accessible.”

Poet Yesika Salgado said: “Without libraries my peers and myself wouldn’t have had the access to literature that we identify with and encouraged us to tell our own stories. To restrict their abilities to loan books is to stifle voices like ours “

New York Times bestselling author Scott Carney said: “Libraries are a vital institution to cultivate engaged readers.  Allowing them to carry books in formats that readers actually use only helps authors. Not allowing libraries to function puts the control of reading into the hands of big tech companies.”

Author Marianne Díaz Hernández said: “Libraries are the guardians and the bulwark of cultural diversity and inclusion, particularly for those who don’t have the means to access culture by other pathways. They are the place where people, particularly children, can access books and other materials about the topics that concern them, embarrass them, or that they don’t feel that they can talk with anyone else. The status of libraries as a place free of censorship and surveillance, to seek knowledge we need and stories that reflect us, is one of the keystones of a free, open, and democratic society, and every inch that we lose in this battle contributes to the disintegration of civic space.”

Author Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodríguez and founder of Latina Rebels said: “Libraries should be protected, it is how I first discovered my love of reading. There is no me the author without public libraries.”

Author Elizabeth Kate Switaj said: “I write because I want to be read. My most recently published book is on the Internet Archive—and that delights me. I also make use of online archival material frequently in my creative and critical work. Moreover, as a college administrator in a  small-island state (or, more accurately, a Big Ocean Nation), I know how important electronic resources are to global access and equity.”

Dan Gillmor, author and co-founder of News Co/Lab, an initiative to elevate news literacy and awareness at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, said: “Big Publishing would outlaw public libraries of it could — or at least make it impossible for libraries to buy and lend books as they have traditionally done, to enormous public benefit — and its campaign against the Internet Archive is a step toward that goal.”

Award-winning author David Weinberger said: “Publishers trying to limit the reach of libraries are hastening the death of literacy, of book culture, and of community pride in their educated differences.”

Author, and Faculty Affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society Sasha Costanza-Chock said: “It’s absolutely shameful that publishers would try to destroy the efforts of the Internet archive. The future is open access publishing!”

Author Ernie Smith said: “Closing off libraries to fair access in the digital age closes off one of the most important tools for research we have. The Internet Archive’s controlled digital lending approach is an excellent way to quickly research topics from primary sources that may not have digital equivalents. The library should be allowed to reasonably keep up with the times, and we should not allow publishers to attempt to redefine it just because the format is changing.”

Award-winning poet and Guggenheim Fellow Philip Metres said: “The public library, to me, is the closest thing to a church for everyone–a place where people seek stories and answers to every question under the sun. Those who threaten that sacred space, who seek to reduce access to that temple of learning and exploration, are a danger to democracy itself.”

Author Mirta Wake said: “Retracting the ability to read from the poor will not net you more sales, it will simply limit the reach that your work could have. Libraries that lend e-books tend to require those borrowing to have devices to read them on, while the electronic lending of books as if they were physical ones via a PDF allows you to access the book no matter what device you are using to read on. Furthermore taking down Internet Archive and forcing all into physical libraries to borrow physical books fails to account for a) the mobility status of the borrower (are they even able?) and b) the availability of libraries in their area in the first place as more and more libraries disappear off the map to never re-appear ever again.”

Author and Professor of Media Theory and Digital Economics at CUNY/Queens Douglas Rushkoff said: “Libraries rule. They are the clearest example of a commons that we can point to.”

Author Ashton Applewhite said: “Preserving traditional library rights is essential for free speech and the transmission of information in the digital age.”

Author Diana Rosen said: “Eternal vigilance is essential not for our democratic principles but for access to information, the key to an informed and responsive public. Long live our public libraries!”

Author Alex Benedict said: “Growing up in Brecksville, Ohio, my local parks system and library were my refuges. Beyond demanding that libraries be able to purchase books for permanent use in any format as well as be protected from lawsuits and harassment, I hope that small presses can establish closer relationships with libraries. Cleveland publisher and poet d.a.levy freely shared his books with many libraries across and beyond Ohio. Although many libraries may be resistant to alternative forms of literature, small presses and authors can set an example against conglomerate publisher financialization by taking sharing books with libraries.”

Engineer, VTuber, comedian, voice-over artist, digital content creator, and author Margaret Gel said: “Humanity will never be free, never colonize the stars, never advance as a species, as a people, as a civilization, as long as information remains shackled by Capitalism.”

Author and retired University of Oklahoma Professor Laura Gibbs said: “I make sure to upload all the books for which I control the rights to the Internet Archive: it’s the library I use most, and I am proud to see my books there.”

Prof. Dr. Ellen Euler said: “Libraries are crucial for a functioning democratic knowledge society. In times of multi-crises and populist propaganda, they should be able to fulfill their mission in the best possible way, including via digital and networked media!”

Author and poet Dominick Knowles said: “Solidarity with library workers, archivists, and all those who make public knowledge possible against the privatizing forces of capital.”

Author Robert Berger said: “Enough of Corporations trying to shove Artificial Scarcity down our throats!”

Author Steven K. Stroh said: “The Internet Archive is an absolute treasure of the modern era. As an author, I want my works to be made widely available to the public, in perpetuity, through non-commercial organizations such as Internet Archive.”

Author Jerry Michalski said: “Through their overzealous overprotection of intellectual property, the copyright industries have set civilization back considerably. Profit maximization and collective intelligence are at odds with each other.”

Author Ricardo Dominguez said: “Free Archives are the only manner of making sure that information will be available to all people now and in the future. We cannot fully depend on current and developing platforms for pay-only access to make knowledge available to all.”

Author Chris Tilly said: “Libraries are a cornerstone of democracy. They are at their best when they introduce people to new ideas, so it is critical that they present diverse views and experiences, and provide a wide range of published work.”

Sean O’Brien of Yale Privacy Lab said: “Just as the printing press and pamphleteers democratized the sharing of text and artwork centuries ago, we must fight to ensure that 21st Century reading and sharing includes creation and dissemination of digital copies as well as backups of books. Libraries are a public institution we should cherish, and librarians must be supported in their mission to archive and distribute public knowledge and creative works.”

Poet and writer Raina J. León said: “Ideas, imagination, compassion, community are the ways of life. Let us walk with that alignment and attunement!”

Poet and Pulitzer Finalist Evie Shockley said: “Let libraries & librarians do their job! As someone who couldn’t afford to buy even a fifth of the books I hungrily read growing up, I find it devastating to see the limitations that digital books are placing upon what library patrons will have access to.”

Author Jeff Sharlet said: “Libraries saved my life as a young reader, and I’ve seen them do as much and more for so many others. At a time when libraries are at the frontlines of fascism’s assault on democracy, it is of greater importance than ever for writers to stand in solidarity with librarians in defense of the right to share stories. Democracy won’t survive without it.”

Author Erin Taylor said: “The Internet Archive is a public good. Libraries are a public good. Only the most intellectually deprived soul would value profit over mass access to literature and knowledge.”

Author Kate Bornstein said: “I grew up in the 1950s and 60s. There was no internet, but there was the Asbury Park Public Library. That’s where I discovered books about the Weimar Republic, Magnus Hirschfeld, and American ex patriots living in Paris. I learned the word invert, and I knew that was me. It was a public library that laid open my horizons. with today’s attacks on LGBTQ people, we need libraries now more than ever.”

Author Mike Godwin said: “When you consider how many library patrons will become (or already are) lifetime book buyers, the shortsightedness of the publishers who attack libraries and librarians is stark. Fortunately for the rest of us, the librarians by temperament and training are used to taking the long view. America, I’m putting my geek shoulder to the wheel in support of librarians. (The librarians will quickly catch the allusion.)”

Author Zin E. Rocklyn said: “We must support libraries, librarians, and what they stand for: the freedom of diverse education.”

Author Andrea Vocab Sanderson said: “Representation is so important. Empowering people to share their narratives with the largest audience possible will be the most impactful for all generations.”

Author Rafael J. González said: “Libraries are sacrosanct keepers of the word; nothing must stand in the way of their sacred function.”