News of a librarian in bed with a book has sent shockwaves through the publishing and library communities.
Readers of the UK Guardian and Post awoke Friday to the scandalous photo of a university librarian embracing a copy of “Eat, Pray, Love.” Authorities are still investigating whether it was a personal copy.
The photo came to the attention of the press via WikiLeaks. Authorities in the UK and the US are working around the clock to discover the chain of custody that led to the publication of the photo.
“I’m horrified. Absolutely horrified,” exclaimed her husband, an employee of ebrary, a purveyor of ebook content. “I absolutely had no idea it was going on. I feel cheated, betrayed.”
Both the Research Libraries UK (RLUK) and the North American Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) have been quick to distance themselves from the scandal, referring to the librarian as a “radical Luddite” and reassuring the press that her behavior was unseemly for someone in her position. A formal press event is scheduled for 4 p.m. today, at which an apology and resignation are expected.
“And all this time, I thought she was updating her Facebook account,” remarked a long-term friend and colleague who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Stock prices shot up for e-book producers today as companies expect librarians will slash remaining paper orders under political pressures. Amidst the scandal, however, many publishers see an opportunity.
Executives at Borders Books, currently in bankruptcy, are considering a restructuring of their business model to center around a new e-reader they are releasing in honor of the event, the Nookie. And seeking an opportunity to thrive in a counter-culture of print, several small publishers have announced they would produce small runs of books — mostly romance novels — for the librarian consumer.
“We all have this impression that librarians are prim and proper,” said Nigel Hollingsworth of Bristol-based bBooks, “but truth is that librarians can be naughty. Very, very naughty.”