To the Editors of the Crimson:
To amplify Sophie Sparrow's article in todays Crimson (Oct.8th) on the IRS rulings based on Thor vs. IRS: the decision by publishers to destroy overstocks or cut back printings of specialized books (or not to publish these titles at all) in order to avoid excess tax liability will work to the extreme disadvantage of faculty, students, and libraries. It will become increasingly difficult for scholars to find publishers for specialized works and for libraries to find added copies or replacements for scholarly titles required, for example, for reserve reading. In both cases, students at all levels of post-secondary study are the ultimate losers.
During the academic year 1979-80, Lamont and Hilles together ordered 487 titles to provide additional copies and 392 titles to replace worn books and to enhance library holdings with non-current books. Added together, these titles represent over 17 per cent of all titles bought for the two libraries during the year. Our inability to acquire these books through normal distribution channels would in time seriously impair library services, especially at the reserve desk.
So far, the struggle to find legislative relief from this most recent quirk of the IRS has been carried on by publishers' associations working with sympathetic members of Congress. Those of us whose professional and educational aspirations are tied to free access to published works of scholarship must join in this effort to protect publishers' backlists. Students and faculty alike should question Congressional candidates closely to determine their awareness of this issue and should in any event write to Russel Long, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, to voice support for legislation exempting publishers from the Thor ruling. Heather E. Cole Librarian of Hilles and Lamont Libraries