Best-selling childrens’ book author Terry Deary has become the first major writer to speak up against the concept of public libraries. In an interview with The Guardian‘s Alison Flood, Deary claims that free, government-subsidized libraries “have had their day” and drain both public coffers and authors’ royalty checks. According to Deary, public libraries do nothing to help the book industry and are a waste of government resources.
“We’ve got this idea that we’ve got an entitlement to read books for free, at the expense of authors, publishers, and council taxpayers. This is not the Victorian age, when we wanted to allow the impoverished access to literature. We pay for compulsory schooling to do that,” Deary said.
Deary is best known as the author of the Horrible Histories book series, which has sold more than 25 million copies in 30 languages. The 66-year-old author is no stranger to controversy; in 2003, the former teacher criticized the existence of schools and claimed 11-year-olds should enter the workforce.
Earlier this year, Fast Company wrote about an app that allows a town with no public libraries to scan QR codes on stickers all over the city that direct them to e-book downloads of classic literature .