Authors rarely know what happens with their works once they have been published so when Wiley recently withdrew over 1300 ebook titles from library collections we and Authors Alliance decided to tell them.
Wiley was already under pressure to rethink their practices, thanks to the Library Association of Ireland and others securing coverage in the mainstream media, but that authors were being alerted to the situation by campaigners really seemed to rattle Wiley and they released a statement announcing the reinstatement of the withdrawn books until June 2023.
It has since been revealed that Wiley also took the unprecedented move of contacting the impacted authors in an attempt to preempt any backlash. However, the move seems to only have induced further discontent, as is evident in the response of an author who shared the Wiley email with us
“As an author I was not informed by Wiley that my ebook was to be withdrawn: I only heard about it when Wiley informed me that it had been temporarily reinstated“. The author added, “As I’ve retired from lecturing, student access is no longer a personal issue for me but even so I want our book to remain readily available. So keep up the good work!!“
Wiley provide no explanation to authors as to why it withdrew the books and provides no information on what will happen in June 2023 when the stay-of-execution for these texts runs out. What is most concerning is the lack of any reference to libraries in the closing paragraphs of the letter. It appears that Wiley sees no place for libraries, the archetypal “course material affordability program” which has provided “inclusive access” to learning materials for generations, in their own future and are looking to reinvent the wheel for the sake of their own profits. They are “committed to reaching the right customers with the right format and offering” but should they alone be dictating what is “right”?.