Effect of Government Shutdown on Libraries, e-Publishing and the Stuff We Write About
October 1, 2013 | 12:15 pm
By Juli Monroe
Since I live in a suburb of Washington, D.C., there was little to no rejoicing when I woke up this morning. My Facebook feed was full of angry, disgusted people. My “hometown” newspaper, The Washington Post had news about little else.
So naturally, my curiosity was sparked, and I began to do some digging to see how a U.S. government shutdown would affect the topics we write about on this site. And the answer was “not too much.”
Here was what I found.
1. The Post Office is privately funded, so your new Kindle Paperwhites should arrive on October 10. As will anything else you order from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or any other book or tech-related site.
2. Government-run libraries will be shut down, but that won’t affect you going to your local library, either in-person or online, to check out books. Even D.C. residents will be able to go to the library since Mayor Gray has declared them “essential.” (Actually, he’s declared all local government personnel “essential” and will pay them out of a rainy day fund.) I really liked this quote from the Mayor’s press release
“It is ridiculous that a city of 632,000 people—a city where we have balanced our budget for 18 consecutive years and have a rainy-day fund of well over a billion dollars—cannot spend its residents’ own local tax dollars to provide them the services they’ve paid for without Congressional approval.”
3. The Patent and Trademark office has enough funding to continue for about four weeks, based on what I’m reading. So Apple, Amazon and everyone who has a patent in process will continue to have them reviewed, at least for the moment.
4. Courts can continue for about ten days, since they have funding from fees and fines. However, the Justice Department has said they will scale back civil litigation for the duration of the shutdown. That’s good news/bad news for patent trolls.
Of course the big publishing houses are unaffected, as are indie publishing companies. Furloughed government workers who are also authors will have a bit of time to work on their novels, I suppose, but I doubt that’s big enough to consider “an impact.”
So it’s odd that the biggest news where I live has little to no effect on this part of my job. Odd. Seemed like I should notice it more.
Does anyone have an impact I’ve missed? Please share it! And many apologies to our readers from other countries. I’m sure you tire of our government temper tantrums.