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Point, and indeed everywhere that the Government has established institutions where study is necessary for the proper conducting of government. It is of course an absurdity to ask the Government to pay duty; it only shows the lack of serious study embodied in the suggestions of the Typothetæ.
3. The public educational institutions of this country have enjoyed the privilege of free importation of books and scientific instruments since 1816. They are part of the implements of the profession of education. As I have shown in my former brief, the importations of books are a very small percentage of the total consumption, a still smaller percentage being books which would ever sell in this country sufficiently to allow of reprinting here.
4. No country in the world taxes books printed in a language other than that spoken in the country. Such a tax would be a crime against our people. It is suggested merely to place importation in the hands of a few men in New York, who are grasping for all they can get. It is retaliation against the public institutions and educators of this country, who are the purchasers of 90 per cent of these books.
Books printed more than twenty years are second-hand books. Not 1 per cent would ever be printed in this country. Many of them are already bound in leather, and were bound, not to compete with American workmen, but to preserve them for future generations. They are bought by public institutions solely for their contents, or as samples of the printing of past ages. They are books for scholars. If the binding is an artistic binding, it ranks with other art objects, which, for the education of our people, should come in free.
Books printed privately for private distribution are almost entirely small pamphlets, with negligible value. To tax them is an absurdity.
As near as I can determine from a somewhat close examination of the statutes, the present duty of 25 per cent was a war tax, having been first levied in 1864. It has never been reduced. It has served, not only to foster the printing and publishing trades, insure higher wages, but even has led to an agreement on control of prices, which was first made in 1901 and is still in existence, although ostensibly abandoned in 1907. I can personally see no reason for the continuation of such a duty. It serves not so much to protect the American workingman as to build up a monopoly controlling the sale of books at standard high prices, and as such is fostering a combination which the courts have declared illegal.
I personally believe that the duty should be reduced. I do not believe it should be entirely stricken off, for the printing of books in this country would cease. If libraries are to be denied free entry, the duty should be decreased. If they are given free entry, the libraries as such have no opinion to express.
I append several letters sent to J. C. Dana, chairman of my committee. I could file 100 such letters, but do not desire to cumber the report with them. Very respectfully,
W. P. CUTTER, Committee on Book Buying, American Library Association.
PUBLIC LIBRARY OF CINCINNATI,
Cincinnati, Ohio, November 16, 1908. Mr. JOHN C. DANA,
Librarian Newark Free Library, Newark, N. J. MY DEAR MR. DANA: I was somewhat staggered upon receiving yours of the 13th, in which you state that an attempt may be made to do away with the free importation of books for libraries. It goes without saying that the imposition of a duty on books imported for libraries would be a direct tax on education. We do not import wittingly American books, that is, books written by Americans. We import very little fiction, but we do import a good many books in history, literature, science, and the fine arts. We import those books only when we can get them on the other side for less money than the same books can be had in the United States, that is, when we can save the additional charge of the duty. The books that we import are, for the most part, to be had only by importation; they are not books which are republished on this side of the water. Yours, very truly,
N. D. C. HODGES,
CLEVELAND PUBLIC LIBRARY,
Cleveland, November 19, 1908. Mr. JOHN COTTON DANA, Librarian Free Public Library,
Newark, N. J. My Dear MR. DANA: I am greatly interested in retaining the right of free importation of books for libraries, because it is absolutely illogical to tax an institution for free popular education and inconsistent with recognized public policy which exempts it from all other taxes. It would not only increase by the amount of the duty the cost of English books which libraries import, but it would place them still more at the mercy of the publishers in this country by destroying the only existing competition. I sincerely hope that the law will remain unchanged in this respect. Yours, very truly,
W. H. BRETT, Librarian.
SALEM PUBLIC LIBRARY,
Salem, Mass., November 17, 1908. Mr. J. C. DANA,
Free Public Library, Newark, N. J. DEAR MR. DANA: In the revision of the tariff I trust that there will be no restriction on the free importation of books by public libraries, colleges, and learned societies. Our National Government has always encouraged learning and education, but an import duty on books
directly discourages both of these important interests. By increasing the cost of books it diminishes the number that can be bought, thereby lessening the library's service to the public. It is directly in the line of the library's most important work, the educational, that this restriction would most be felt. Popular fiction and other ephemeral books are generally reprinted in this country at prices less than they can be imported, while the more serious scholarly books are so costly to reprint and the demand is so small that one edition serves both the foreign and American market. Any action that increases the cost of such books is unworthy of our enlightened nation. Yours, very truly,
GARDNER M. JONES.
NEW YORK STATE LIBRARY,
Albany, N. Y., November 14, 1908. Mr. J. S. DANA, Chairman Bookbuying Committee of the
American Library Association, Newark, N. J. MY DEAR MR. DANA: I am distressed to learn that there is a possibility of another attempt at the abolition of free importation of books for libraries at an early hearing of the Ways and Means Committee.
The chief reason for opposing any such action is always that such restriction lays the United States under the imputation of hostility, or at any rate of discouragement, toward the means and facilities for not only creative scholarship, but for ordinary intellectual information and progress. With free importation, the important libraries of the country can provide books at a minimum of expense and in quantity sufficient to provide easy resort for scholars. Without importation these scholars and thousands of individuals would be obliged to provide such books for themselves at much greater cost and in far larger quantities than if the libraries could make them more freely and generally available. Very truly, yours,
J. I. WYER, Jr.
THE BUFFALO PUBLIC LIBRARY,
Buffalo, N. Y., November 14, 1908. Mr. John COTTON DANA,
Free Public Library, Newark, N. J. MY DEAR MR. DANA: I most sincerely hope that no interest will persuade our representatives that it is either good policy or can in any way be of service to the American people to do away with the privilege of the free importation of books now granted to educational institutions.
Such importations are, for the most part, of books not reprinted in this country, but of great value to the few through whose study the whole are benefited. Others are of books the American editions of which are not suitable for public library use or are too expensive for such use, and therefore would not be purchased.
Few American publishers could in any way benefit by the exclusion of the bulk of the books now imported by libraries, and it would be a calamity, as well as a great tax upon public education. It would be to grant a doubtful benefit to a few individuals at the certain expense and to the positive harm of all American readers and students. Yours, very truly,
WALTER L. BROWN,
LIBRARY OF PRINCETON UNIVERSITY,
Princeton, N. J., November 16, 1908. J. C. DANA, Esq.,
Public Library, Newark, N. J.
1. The chief advantage of free importation of books for libraries is negative. It saves us a nation from the unequivocal stamp of hopeless Philistianism.
2. The justification for free importation is of course popular culture or education. Free importation of books encourages this. As a Republican protectionist I hold that the business of education should be highly protected by the State through free admission to all consumers of its raw materials, whether books or pictures, and by large subsidies in the way of national, state, and municipal appropriations for the purchase of books for free public libraries. A tax on books, pictures, and apparatus is a tax on the necessaries of education, and is justified only in some great political need, such as a war tax.
3. Whatever justification there may be for a tax on private consumers of books and pictures, the taxing of free libraries is an economic self-contradiction. The money spent for the books is raised by local taxation or given for the public good. For the Federal Government to raise money for federal expenses by taxing taxes raised for local education is contrary to the spirit of our institutions and it is self-contradictory and futile in that it is simply paying out of one pocket of funds intended for the public welfare into another. In this case it is paying out of education into federal expenses, but at bottom it reduces to the same economic absurdity that would rise if a municipality should tax its own school buildings.
4. Practically speaking, the advantage of free importation of books is like the advantage of the free importation of tools of precision not made in this country; it encourages and enables the production of better work, without interfering at all with home industry. Very sincerely, yours,
E. C. RICHARDSON.
W. P. CUTTER, NORTHAMPTON, MASS., FURNISHES ADDITIONAL
STATEMENT RELATIVE TO FREE BOOKS.
NORTHAMPTON, Mass., November 30, 1908. COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS,
Washington, D.C. GENTLEMEN: It has occurred to me that a few suggestions from me in my private and personal capacity may be of service to the committee in considering the schedule covering paper and manufactures of paper, concerning which your committee was kind enough to hear me in an official capacity on November 21. As experience is the first criterion in judging of one's ability to give an opinion, I may point out that I have been engaged in the purchase of books for public institutions since the year 1890; that ten years of this service was in the Library of Congress and the library of the Department of Agriculture; three years in the library of a small college in Utah; four years in this, a medium-sized public library, much frequented by scholars.
There seems to be some confusion in the minds of some of the committee with reference to binding done abroad for export to this country. In the trade, a leather binding is known as an extra” binding, as opposed to the commercial cloth bindings, which are largely the work of machinery. Extra binding is practically all hand work. It may be divided into two classes, that done simply to insure durability, and that done to decorate the book. The former is the work of the ordinary binder; the latter that of the art binder. The latter includes originality of design, richness of material, and the highest grade of work. The former requires durable material, honest workmanship, and that is all.
The ordinary cloth case placed on a book by the publisher is sufficiently durable for private use, provided the book is not too heavy or too severely used. Even for private use leather makus a much more durable binding. For public library use, especially in books having a large circulation, an extra durable binding of leather, with a sewing adapted especially to library conditions, is a desideratum.
We may then say that there are really four kinds of bindings required:
i. Cloth cases for private libraries and ephemeral literature.
2. Durable leather binding for private libraries, where the book is either heavy, in constant use, or is in a set worthy of a better binding.
3. Plain, but especially substantial binding for books having large circulation in a public institution.
4. More or less elaborately decorated binding, for rare books, or the libraries of wealthy persons who are willing to pay for artistic excellence and expensive work.
In considering the placing of a duty on binding it should be borne in mind that there is such a difference. To differentiate further, let me say that of the above classes, class 1 is very cheap, costing only a few cents. Class 2, on the ordinary octavo book, will cost from 25 cents to $1 per volume. Class 3, from 50 cents to a dollar. Class 1, from $5 or less to a thousand dollars or more per volume.
There are some of our citizens who prefer genuine Sevres porcelain to any American product. There are some who prefer Paris gowns