Self-publishing in the United States has increased to between 50-75% of book titles published annually, facilitated by the popularity of ebooks and print-on-demand. Amazon.com and other companies have encouraged the trend by paying royalties and providing support to authors. This increase in self-published materials poses a new challenge for Universal Bibliographic Control (UBC). Today, UBC is much different in the age of information overload compared with the relative information scarcity before the arrival of the Internet. Libraries have nonetheless retained an interest in bibliographically controlling traditional books. Self-published books can be indistinguishable from trade publications but fall outside many of the structures of traditional publishing. Since both public and academic libraries have reasons to acquire self-published materials, the author believes that ways should be found to provide increased bibliographic control since the current system mostly ignores self-published materials. The Library of Congress, the chief bibliographic control agency for the United States, does not purchase many and excludes them from Cataloging in Publication. Most library vendors do not include them in their inventories. The major library reviewing sources do not publish book reviews or do so separately from reviews of commercial publications.
Some libraries, mostly public, have nonetheless started collecting self-published items, a majority by local authors, and are adding records to the OCLC database. Another positive factor is the large number of reader-generated reviewing sources such as Goodreads. A blogger has proposed a cooperative project to purchase and place self-published materials under bibliographic control. If the estimate is correct that fifteen of the 100 bestselling books of 2012 were self-published, libraries, bibliographic agencies, library organizations, and traditional publishers should monitor developments as self-publishing becomes increasingly important.
Business | Library and Information Science
Holley, Robert P. (2014). Self-Publishing: A New Challenge for Universal Bibliographic Control. Paper presented at the 80th IFLA World Library and Information Congress General Conference and Assembly, Lyon, France.