HC Deb 17 August 1911 vol 29 cc2148-54

(1) The publisher of every book published in the United Kingdom shall within one month after the publication deliver, at his own expense, a copy of the book to the trustees of the British Museum, who shall give a written receipt for it.

(2) He shall also, if written demand is made within twelve months after publication, deliver within one month after receipt of that written demand to some depot in London named in the demand a copy of the book for, or in accordance with the directions of, the authority having the control of each of the following libraries, namely: the Bodleian Library, Oxford, the University Library, Cambridge, the Library of the Faculty of Advocates at Edinburgh, and the Library of Trinity College, Dublin, and the National Library of Wales.

(3) The copy delivered to the trustees of the British Museum shall be a copy of the whole book with all maps and illustrations belonging thereto, finished and coloured in the same manner as the best copies of the book are published, and shall be bound, sewed, or stitched together, and on the best paper on which the book is printed.

(4) The copy delivered for the other authorities mentioned in this section shall be on the paper on which the largest number of copies of the book is printed for sale, and shall be in the like condition as the books prepared for sale.

(5) If a publisher fails to comply with this section, he shall be liable on. Summary conviction to a fine not exceeding five pounds and the value of the book, and the fine shall be paid to the trustees or authority to whom the book ought to have been delivered.

(6) For the purposes of this section the expression "book" includes every part or division of a book, pamphlet, sheet of letterpress, sheet of music, map, plan, chart or table separately published, but shall not include any second or subsequent edition of a book unless such edition contains additions or alterations either in the letterpress or in the maps, prints, or other engravings belonging thereto. In the case of an encyclopedia, newspaper, review, magazine, or other periodical work, or work published in a series of books or parts, it shall not be necessary to make a separate claim for each number or part, but, a single claim for the whole work shall suffice.

Amendment made: In Sub-section (2) after the word "and'' ["and the Library I of Trinity College, Dublin"], insert the words "subject to the provisions of this Section."—[Mr. Sydney Buxton.]


I beg to move, in Sub-section (2) to leave out the words "and the National Library of Wales."

I have not the slightest wish to do anything in the least injurious to the University of Wales, but I think it is rather doubtful whether assistance ought to be given to it in this way. The burden of keeping a complete and absolutely entire record of books published is very considerable, and I suppose the right hon. Baronet (Sir W. Anson) will agree with me in thinking that this burden is quite as great as the benefit that is conferred on the author. You are bound in this case to provide room for every volume that is produced. It is a national duty to be performed by those on whom the burden was originally laid. In this case apparently a corresponding responsibility is not to be laid upon the National Library of Wales. I daresay the hon. and learned Gentleman has sound arguments in favour of the provisions, but I should like to hear them before assenting to the principle that a grant to a National Library, however excellent in spirit it may be, should be given at the expense of a particular class—the authors.


I beg to second the Amendment.


I am very much astonished to hear the hon. Gentleman move this Amendment and still more to find it seconded, though apparently rather reluctantly, by the hon. Member. Both hon. Members were on the Committee, but they did not take this line there. What is the new light that they have received? I understand the proposer of the Amendment thinks it would be too great a burden on us in Wales to have these books. We will look after our burden if he will let us do so. He need not worry himself about the burdens that this Bill will cast on Wales. We will discharge our obligations. I understand under this Clause Scotland and Ireland are to have these books. Under the next Amendment to be moved by the President of the Board of Trade we are liable to certain restrictions and limitations with which we are content. The hon. Member opposite represents the Universities of Glasgow and Aberdeen, and I would remind him that five years ago the University of Aberdeen got compensation. For what? For not having any further burden put upon them. This is a remarkable Scottish idea of compensation, because up to five years ago that university had the burden of taking books, and when the burden was removed, they received thousands of pounds for being relieved of this obligation.


Let me say to the hon. Member that I have no objection to the library receiving books, but in the case to which he refers it was done at the expense of the National Exchequer. My objection is not to the grant of books, but to the grant being made in the form of a tribute from a particular trade.


As long as the hon. Member gets the money he does not care where it comes from. I think the least the House can do is to put Wales in the same position as Ireland and Scotland in this matter. I appeal to the generosity of the House to give us this elementary right

Amendment negatived.


I beg to move, after Subsection (4), to insert "(5) The books of which copies are to be delivered to the National Library of Wales shall not include books of such classes as may be specified in regulations to be made by the Board of Trade."

Perhaps the House will allow me to make a few observations in regard to this Amendment. An Amendment was put on the Paper either by myself or some other Member to include Wales in these grants of Books, and as it came on unexpectedly at the end of the meeting of the Standing Committee we had no opportunity of discussing it on its merits. I suggest that the best and fairest way to settle this matter is to accept the Amendment, which I now move. I have been in communication with the parties interested, and the suggestion I have to make, after consultation with the publishers on the one hand, and with the representatives of the National Library of Wales on the other, is, I think, fairly satisfactory. The position is this: In this matter, in the first place, it really is in some senses a great burden on a library to receive all the books which are published, and I think it is quite fair, and it is even an advantage to them, that there should be a selection. Therefore the library undertakes to make a selection, and to take some little trouble to apply only for the books they really require, instead of having shot upon them a large number of books which they do not require and for which they have no room and practically no readers.

The second point is that at all events there should be the qualification that grants of all Welsh books should be made. The third point raised was in regard to expensive editions, with a limited number of copies published. It appeared hard that a further demand should be made on publishers with regard to books, of which a limited number of copies are published, and which cost £l, £2, £3, £10, and up to £25. I was glad to be met by the publishers in a reasonable spirit, and also by those representing the National Library of Wales in regard to this matter. Having completed our negotiations, I am able to state that there is really no difference between us. They have met the suggestion which I made that where a limited number of copies of books are published, and when a book has a certain value, the National Library of Wales should have no absolute claim to a copy of it. It was represented to me, on behalf of the National Library of Wales, that it might happen that while there were books which they had no particular desire to have, there were others which they might wish to possess, and it seemed hard in such cases that they should have to pay the full retail prices for them. The suggestion I made was that in regard to books coming under that particular category the National Library of Wales should not have an absolute claim to a free copy, but that they should have a title to get it at the price of production—thirty-three per cent. off the published price. I hope that is a reasonable proposition which will meet the view of the National Library of Wales, while mitigating the burden on the publishers. It is for this purpose that I am proposing that the Board of Trade should be given some power under regulations to carry this out. I venture, therefore, to hope that the House will agree to this proposition on the understanding that I have been able to bring all parties to an agreement.


I desire to thank the President of the Board of Trade for the good offices he has exercised in this matter. This Amendment represents an agreement arrived at with the publishers on the one hand and the National Library of Wales on the other. We have not been unreasonable or ungenerous in the matter. I would far rather that we had been put on the same footing as Edinburgh and Dublin, but let that pass. This Amendment gives the Board of Trade very great power, and after the explanation by the right hon. Gentleman we may safely leave the matter in his hands and the hands of his successors. When the right hon. Gentleman referred to Welsh books I understood that he did not refer only to books published in Welsh, but to books referring to Wales, irrespective of the number of volumes or the price. With regard to the other matter we are perfectly content with the position as it now stands.


My hon. Friend spoke of the "agreement" between the publishers and the National Library of Wales. I wish to say that it was not in the ordinary sense an agreement. It was an arrangement that "The books of which copies are to be delivered to the National Library of Wales shall not include books of such classes as may be specified in regulations to be made by the Board of Trade."


That means that those who agree with the same person will not necessarily agree with one another.


I am glad that an agreement of arrangement has been come to on this matter with the assent of the National Library of Wales. This matter came on quite unexpectedly in the Committee when the representatives of Wales were not there. I ventured to suggest that were they asking for something which would be in some measure a burden. It appeared to me to fee the case of a library which did not need for the sake of continuity such books as university libraries must contain, and that if they received copies of all books they would find themselves overburdened in the matter of organisation and in the matter of space if they had dumped upon them the great cases of recent literature which I have watched with mingled feelings of admiration and regret arriving at the library at Oxford. I hope that the provision made by this Amendment will ensure to the National Library of Wales what it ought to have, namely, everything connected with the history of Wales. That I understand was the main object for which the National Library of Wales was started, and that is why it was established at Aberystwyth. If the representatives of Wales are content with the proposal now made, I wish the library every success.


It was not from any discourtesy to the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Ellis Griffith) that I seconded the last Amendment. I really did it from the idea that when a Friend moves an Amendment it should be debated. We had in consequence of the action I took the interesting and splendid speech which the hon. Member made.

Question, "That those words be there added," put, and agreed to.


I beg to move in Subsection (6) to leave out the words "or other periodical work." It was represented to me that these words would cover all periodical work, and I find that there are works which are really not intended to come under this provision. I find that if these words are retained, they would affect periodicals which are clearly not intended to be brought into this class.


I am sorry that I did not notice the Amendment put down on the Paper, or I would have been prepared to go more fully into the matter. It occurred to me that works like the "Law Journal Reports" would come within the scope of this Sub-section.


I think they will come under the next words in the Sub-section.




If the hon. and learned Gentleman will allow me to have a consultation with him I shall endeavour to arrive at words to meet his point.


I should be glad if the right hon. Gentleman would meet me on this point, as otherwise it would cover a very large number of cases.

Amendment agreed to.