Magazine article Library Administrator's Digest

Globalization

Magazine article Library Administrator's Digest

Globalization

Article excerpt

From the Editor's

Desk I have a habit which annoys my wife, but fascinates my 8-year-old grandson Nate: almost every time I enter a retail store I pick up items to see where they are made. I even have Nate doing it now, looking at his hats and other stuff. In toy stores, electronics stores, shoe stores, and clothing stores, almost every item I pick up is made in some other country, most often China. If not China, usually some other Third World country, like Bangladesh, India, or Indonesia. Practically nothing in the United States. Except Dexter shoes, which, as I understand it, is one of Warren Buffet's least profitable investments.

But not in bookstores. Almost every book there is made in the United States, with the notable exception of those coffee-table books which contain lots of color illustrations. They seem to be printed in Hong Kong or Italy, for some reason I'm unable to understand. Anyway, when we buy books from publishers like Random House, Knopf, Ballantine and Doubleday, we're buying American.

Well, sort of: actually, and you probably know this already, those publishers, as well as many others, are owned by the German media giant Bertelsmann. It is into everything in the media world, and trying to beat out the largest, AOL Time Warner, I would assume. And it probably will.

In other words, it is almost like Microsoft in the software field. Big and getting bigger.

Bertelsmann is like Microsoft in another area, too: Where Microsoft has its Gates Foundation, Bertelsmann has its Bertelsmann Foundation. And they are both interested in public libraries, which certainly shows good sense to me.

I have just read some of the 2000-2001 annual report of the Bertelsmann Foundation, which I guess makes me one of the three people in the world, not seeking money from them, who has read it. …

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