Monthly Archives: July 2021

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Online Story Times, Copyright and Fair Use/Fair Dealing

Story-times are one of the greatest selling points of libraries all over the world. When the coronavirus quarantine started in 2020 story-times were among the first programs shifted to an online format.

It is a long-held view that live readings of story-time books in libraries are legal, thanks largely to the Fair Use doctrine in US copyright law, and Fair Dealing in UK law.

Fair Use (USA)

Fair Use describes uses of copywritten works by entities other than the copyright holder in quantities, means or purposes that do not infringe on the rights of the copyright holder.

Under section 107 0f the Copyright Act (Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use) in order to perform, utilize, or reproduce a copyrighted work and be covered by the “Fair Use” exemption, the use must meet four (4) criteria:

The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

~Public Library story-times are always non-profit & educational,

The nature of the copyrighted work

~The work used is (generally) a picture story book – which is meant to be used by or for certain age groups, and (generally) are meant to be read aloud

The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole

~The nature and purpose of the work is meant to be read from start to finish. In most cases the entirety of the work is used in a story-time.

The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

~Story-time does not have a detrimental effect on the marketability of the work. In most cases, story-time books highlight those works and increase marketability.

Fair Dealing (UK)

A statutory definition for fair dealing does not exist; it will always be a matter of fact, degree and interpretation in every fair use case. The Intellectual Property Office lists the key factors used to determine the validity of whether a particular dealing with a work is fair as follows:

Has the use of the work impacted negatively on the market for the original work? If the creator or owner has lost potential revenue through the re-use of their work, it is not likely to be fair.

~Story-time does not have a detrimental effect on the marketability of the work. In most cases, story-time books highlight those works and increase marketability.

In the UK authors & illustrators are compensated through the Public Lending Right scheme. Each time a book is borrowed by a library worker for story-time it contributes towards the amount that registered authors & illustrators receive each year through PLR.

Was it reasonable and necessary to use the amount of work that was taken?

~The nature and purpose of the work is meant to be read from start to finish. In most cases the entirety of the work is used in a story-time.

The rights to making a video or audio recording of a story are set out explicitly in law as belonging to the copyright holder.

The current theory is that like in-person story-times, live (unrecorded) online story-times are ephemeral and also covered by fair use.

To date there has been no official legal precedent that supports this theory.

At present most publishers in the US, UK and elsewhere have temporarily relaxed copyright restrictions (with a number of caveats) to allow libraries and educational institutions to offer pre-recorded and live online story-times.

Once the threat of Covid has receded, many libraries may look at keeping a reduced virtual story-time offer in conjunction with their in-person ones for patrons who are unable to visit a physical branch; when this starts happening a wide-ranging discussion about this and copyright will begin in earnest.


Section 107 of the Copyright Act (USA):

Fair Use Copyright Explained:

Public Lending Right:

Diverse Book Awards Longlist Officially Announced

Introducing the ultimate must-read list of diverse & inclusive children’s, YA and adult fiction books in the UK

London, United Kingdom, 27th July 2021: More than 100 submissions were received for the second year of The Diverse Book Awards, created by writing community The Author School ( Today, the longlist is officially unveiled, revealing the outstanding diverse and inclusive books published by British/UK-based authors/publishers in the hugely challenging year of 2020. The shortlist will be revealed on 20th September and the winners in each category announced on October 21st 2021.

Abiola Bello, co-founder of The Author School and award-winning author: Through The Diverse Book Awards I have discovered new diverse books and authors that I hadn’t previously been aware of. I hope that the longlist inspires others to discover new talent too. The conversation around diversity in publishing has stepped up a level over recent months, at a time when we were shouting out for submissions to The Diverse Book Awards. The longlist represents the work that has been done already within publishing and showcases that it is truly is possible for diverse and inclusive books to be the ‘norm’ rather than ‘exception’. We hope that encouraging publishers and authors to write more diverse and inclusive books – and enter them into next year’s awards – will be a positive step forward for the publishing industry in this country. Massive thank you to the judges!

The three winners from each category will receive a bundle of prizes including a trophy, a six-month PR and marketing membership of Literally PR’s ‘100 Club’, a feature and virtual event with Back To Books, editorial content in Bad Form and Pen&Inc, the opportunity to be part of two author panel events – hosted by The Author School and the other with Simon & Schuster.

The Children’s winner will have their book featured as part of World Book Day Book Club and a school visit organised by World of Diversity.

The YA winner will be part of Wigtown YA Literary Festival and a school visit organised by World of Diversity.

The Children’s and YA winner will be featured on Tiny Revolution’s website and included in their catalogue of books.

Our YA headline sponsor is Book Clubs In Schools and the YA winner will be part of the National Teen Book Club, a UK wide virtual book club for teens.

The Diverse Book Awards Longlist 2021

Adult Longlist 2021

The First Woman by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (Oneworld)

If I Don’t Have You by Sareeta Domingo (Jacaranda)

A More Perfect Union by Tammye Huf (Myriad Editions)

Broadwater by Jac Shreeves-Lee (Fairlight Books)

Ugly Dogs Don’t Cry by DD Armstrong (Jacaranda)

Love After Love by Ingrid Persaud (Faber)

The Street Hawker’s Apprentice by Kabir Kareem-Bello (Jacaranda)

The Cat and the City by Nick Bradley (Atlantic Books)

The Family Tree by Sairish Hussain (HQ)

Truth Be Told by Kia Abdullah (HQ)

Young Adult Longlist 2021

Eight Pieces of Silva by Patrice Lawrence (Hodder Children’s Books (Hachette)

Run, Rebel by Manjeet Mann (Penguin Random House Children’s)

Cane Warriors by Alex Wheatle (Andersen Press)

And The Stars Were Shining Brightly by Danielle Jawando (Simon & Schuster Children’s Books)

Boy, Everywhere by A. M. Dassu (Old Barn Books)

Wonderland by Juno Dawson (Quercus Children’s Books (Hachette)

Hideous Beauty by William Hussey (Usborne)

Hijab and Red Lipstick by Yousra Imran (Hashtag Press)

Crown of Crowns by Clara Loveman (Clara Loveman)

Love Frankie by Jacqueline Wilson (Penguin Random House Children’s)

Children’s Longlist 2021

Windrush Child by Benjamin Zephaniah (Scholastic Children’s Books)

Too Small Tola by Atinuke, Onyinye Iwu (Walker Books)

Do You Know Me? by Rebecca Westcott, Libby Scott (Scholastic Children’s Books)

Nothing Ever Happens Here by Sarah Hagger-Holt (Usborne)

Baller Boys by Venessa Taylor, Kenneth Ghann (Hashtag Press)

Zombierella: Fairy Tales Gone Bad by Joseph Coelho, Freya Hartas (Walker Books)

Dragon Mountain by Katie & Kevin Tsang (Simon & Schuster Children’s Books)

Clean Up by Nathan Bryon and Dapo Adeola, Nathan Bryon (Penguin Random House Children’s)

A Secret of Birds & Bone by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (Chicken House)

Little Badman and the Time-Travelling Teacher of Doom by Humza Arshad and Henry White, Aleksei Bitskoff (Penguin Random House Children’s)

The Archibald Lox series

Fans of master storyteller, Darren Shan, will be delighted to hear that the second volume in
his major new fantasy series is coming this summer. Comprised of three novels, the second
volume in the Archibald Lox series takes readers further into the Merge and the adventures
of locksmith, Archie.
Shan, known for his globally successful series The Saga of Darren Shan, The Demonata and
Zom-B, published the first volume in the Archibald Lox series as three ebooks in April 2020,
earlier than originally planned to bring some relief to fans during the first national Covid-19
lockdown. Paperback editions followed, along with a combined paperback of the first three
books entitled The Missing Princess. As with the first volume, the three novels comprising
Volume Two are designed to be read in quick succession as a trilogy.
Readers should prepare to pick up the pace as book 4 continues the action. Archibald Lox
and the Forgotten Crypt sees a couple of assassins catch up with Archie, and he’s forced to
flee to the Merge in search of friendship and safety. As his skills develop, he opens a
gateway to a long-forgotten crypt, where ancient secrets are revealed. In a city of ice, the
greatest gropsters of the six realms have assembled for a legendary Tourney, but a small
group of plotters are more interested in kidnapping…
Travel with Archie through books 5, Archibald Lox and the Slides of Bon Repell, and six,
Archibald Lox and the Rubicon Dictate, as he faces further challenges and grave danger,
including a fight for his freedom – and his sanity. What will the fates have in store, and can
Archie defeat some of the most powerful and merciless rulers of the realms…?

Darren Shan

I read the first of the Archibald Fox trilogy last summer and really enjoyed it, I can’t believe book 4 is already here! Here’s an interview with Darren Shan by Catherine Ward, in anticipation:

For those who haven’t started this new series yet, can you give us a quick overview?

A boy called Archie spotted a girl on a bridge in London, being chased by a pair of killers. She pulled some strange faces and opened a doorway to another dimension, called the Merge. When the killers had departed, Archie found he had the power to reopen the door, and followed the girl to the universe of the Merge, where he got involved in a quest to save a realm from falling under the control of the villainous SubMerged.

Why did you structure this series as Volumes comprising 3 books each? Is that something you planned from the beginning?

I actually planned the Volumes as very long single books, and wrote them that way. But I’d been considering breaking them down into shorter books and serialising them from the start, as that’s the way I’ve released all my other lengthy series. (The Saga of Darren Shan, The Demonata, Zom-B.) I hummed and hawed over the decision for ages, and still wasn’t 100% sure when it came time to release them! In the end I decided that I would break the volumes down into trilogies, but also then do omnibus edition bind-ups several months after the release of the shorter books, offering people the chance to read the stories as they were originally composed, if that was their preference.

Your Zom-B series was designed as a serial, with shorter books being released more often. What is it you like about this formula?

I’ve always loved a good cliff-hanger! I grew up as an avid reader of comics – for many years I never missed an issue of The Eagle and 2000AD – and I loved how stories would unreel over the space of several weeks or months. The gap between instalments added to the pleasure of the reading experience. It’s how books used to be published in the past — for instance, Charles Dickens released all of his books in serialised chunks. It was largely a forgotten art for many decades, but I was interested in reviving it almost from the very beginning of my career, and internet publishing has seen serial books enjoy a real surge since the turn of the millennium — I guess I was just a few steps ahead of the curve!

Although your main character, Archie comes from our world – known as the Born – most of Volume 1 takes place in the ‘other’ world he accesses via a hidden portal. Will we revisit the Born in Volume 2? Will we learn more about how the two worlds coexist? 

Oh yes! Some of the action takes place in our world – there are important scenes set in London, Moscow and New York – but the bulk of the story is set in the Merge. I don’t think there’s much point in creating a huge fantastical universe and not spending most of your story time there. Readers would quite rightly be up in arms if I told them “I’ve created this really cool parallel universe, but I’m not going to show much of it to you!” We’ll learn more about the Merge in this Volume, as well as in the third set of books next year. As a fish out of water, Archie is learning new things each time round — and discovering new things about himself each time as well.

 We first meet Archie when he’s in a bad place but we see him gain self-belief and confidence and intuition as he gets to grips with his locksmith abilities and the ways of the Merge. I would say he’s a pretty relatable and inspiring character for children & young adults, especially at a time when a lot of us are feeling a bit derailed by the pandemic – was that intentional?

I can’t say it was, as I started this series several years before most of us had ever even heard of a coronavirus! But I think childhood and our teens can be a confusing, alienating time for many of us, even when the world is operating as normal, and I’ve always tried to use my YA books to give readers hope that all obstacles in life can be overcome. The world can often seem like a weird, hostile place when you’re growing up, and I think fantasy and horror books can help kids come to understand that they can triumph no matter how weird and dark things get.

We journey through a variety of incredible realms and zones in the Merge, featuring all manner of societies and dwellings and inhabitants. Did these evolve in your imagination as you were writing, or did you develop much of the Merge in the planning stages of this series?

I spent a lot of time planning the books before I started writing them, far more than I ever did on any of my other series. Most of the action in my other long series took place on our world, so I was able to pretty much dive straight into them and flesh things out as I went along. With the Merge, I knew most of the story would take place in these parallel worlds, so I had to put a lot of thought and work into what those worlds would be like, and how they’d function. I also wrote far more than I needed in my first drafts, especially Volume 1, packing in loads of extraneous details that I would go on to cut as I edited the books, but which I needed to inform myself about the Merge. The first drafts were almost like travelogues, which I then set about converting into action-packed stories.

Will we visit new realms in Volume 2?

Absolutely! We’ll revisit some familiar places in Volume 2 and Volume 3, but each time round we’ll also venture into new realms and settings. I want to show readers as many different facets of the Merge as I can before Archie’s story concludes, so each time round we’re going to be hitting for pastures new.

In Volume 1 we have a few brushes with dangerous locations and beings in the Merge – will we see more of that in Volume 2?

I think, given my track record, that’s a safe assumption to make! I left the horror genre behind with these books, to focus on the fantasy elements, but I don’t think it would be a proper Darren Shan series if it didn’t have a strong dark strain to it.

You’ve mentioned in a previous interview that you have planned three volumes of Archibald Lox at least… any more news on that?!

Yes, there will be three Volumes in total. My plan is to release the final Volume (again, made up of three books) in 2022, and I’m looking good to hit that target. Touch wood!

Are you working on anything else besides this Archibald Lox series?

Bizarrely enough, I’m currently trying my hand at a few picture books! I have two young children, so I’ve been reading a lot of picture books over the last several years, and I started having ideas for some of my own. I don’t know if those ideas will ultimately lead to anything, but watch this space…

Have you missed being able to do live events over this past 18 months? Do you miss touring?

I’d actually stepped back from touring since I finished my Zom-B series. After many years on the road, I wanted to spend more time at home, especially since Mrs Shan and I had decided to go into the baby-making business! So I wouldn’t have been out on the road regardless of the lockdowns. That said, I have started to miss that side of things now — I’ve always enjoyed a close relationship with my fans, and I love meeting them at events, chatting with them and signing their books. Hopefully, over the next few years, I’ll be able to get back out on tour.

Were you a keen reader throughout your teen years, or did your interest wane at all? Were you drawn to fantasy worlds as a young reader?

I actually read more in my teens than I’ve read at any other time of my life. I was a voracious reader, ploughing through a couple of books a week in my prime, as well as reading loads of comics and graphic novels. And yes, I was always a big fan of fantasy, horror and sci-fi. I read all sorts of other genres too, but those were my favourites as a child and teenager.

Did you have a library and/or school librarian at Secondary School? If so, did it/they influence your reading habits at all?

Sadly, no. But I’ve visited loads of schools and libraries on tour, and been amazed by the knowledge and enthusiasm of the librarians I’ve met. I thought I knew a lot about books until I started talking to those guys and gals — then I quickly came to realise I was an amateur! I think a good librarian is a real treasure, especially in a library that is either part of a school or closely linked with schools. I got really angry when I was on tour with Zom-B, because it was during the time when the Conservatives in the UK were shutting a lot of libraries, and telling full-time librarians in those that survived the cull that they were going to be replaced with well-meaning part-timers, as basically anyone could run a library, right? Their ignorance of what a librarian does, and how important they can be – especially where children are involved – astonished and disgusted me. And still does.

What are you reading at the moment?

I’m currently working my way through a book called Harbour, by John Ajvide Lindqvist, the guy who wrote a brilliant vampire book called Let The Right One In.

As you conjure such vivid and original worlds in your books, I wondered if you have vivid dreams in strange worlds?! Do you ever dream that you’re inhabiting one of your own worlds or characters?

Short answer — nope! My ideas tend to be fairly mundane affairs. I guess I spend so much time in weird worlds in my waking hours, that my brain enjoys some boring down time when I sleep!

The three books comprising Volume 2 of the Archibald Lox series will be released this summer, in ebook and paperback:

Book 4: Archibald Lox and the Forgotten Crypt – 1st July 2021

Book 5: Archibald Lox and the Slides of Bon Repell – 3rd August 2021

Book 6: Archibald Lox and the Rubicon Dictate – 1st September 2021

For more information visit