The American Booksellers Association (ABA) is pushing to make book publishers more transparent about their policies on book covers, with a bill that would require that publishers use a digital cover for all books published by them, starting with ebooks.
The bill has been proposed in the House by Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY), who has been vocal about his desire to make publishers more accountable for protecting books in the face of a “new wave of digital threats.”
The ABA says that it has received nearly 4,000 submissions to its campaign on the subject, but only one was accepted by the committee, which is the House Judiciary Committee.
Crowley said the ABA is currently looking at several ideas to help publishers comply with the bill.
“We’ve been working with the AHA, with the publishers, with our members of Congress,” Crowley said, noting that a bill on the issue was already introduced in the Senate in February.
“We’re looking at what can we do to assist publishers in making sure that they’re not making a false choice.
That’s why we’re pushing to have the ABLA act as a co-sponsor.”
While the ABI, the trade group for book publishers, does not currently have a specific policy regarding the use of covers for books, it does support an approach that would allow publishers to include covers in ebooks if the cover was approved by the AAB.
In a statement on Monday, ABI President Mark Miller told Ars that it was important for publishers to be transparent about policies for covering books.
“As publishers, we must not allow our industry to be held hostage by misguided policies that may have the unintended consequence of reducing the transparency and accountability of our industry,” Miller said.
“As publishers and authors, we should be working together to ensure that the products we publish are safe for our consumers and our employees.”
He added that it would be a mistake to assume that the use or sale of a cover would not impact sales, as some critics have alleged.
“The truth is that publishers are constantly evaluating their cover designs, and as such, will always look for ways to ensure their products are safe,” Miller added.
“This is why we do our best to ensure our products are protected from harm by ensuring that the cover is appropriate for the product, and that the design fits the physical product.”ABI does, however, support other policies that might help publishers achieve a more transparent cover design.
The ABI recommends that publishers remove ads from covers, and, if necessary, limit the placement of ads on the front and back of a product.
Other policies include requiring that publishers provide a label on the back of products to indicate that they were printed on ABI-certified paper, as well as requiring that a product label be included on all packaging for books.
The ABI also supports policies that encourage publishers to adopt the AIG-certification standard, which it says will allow publishers and retailers to make sure products are compliant with the rules and that they are “safe, accurate, and up to date.”
“Our members have expressed a clear preference for these policies, and we are committed to supporting them,” Miller concluded.
“In the future, we will work with our colleagues to make our industry more transparent and accountable.”
This story, “Book cover protection bill to be introduced in House” was originally published by Ars Technica .