Worldcon 75’s recent clarification of its publications policy – and the reason one was needed – has prompted Jo Van Ekeren, Chris Barkley, Seth Breidbart, Greg Machlin, Farah Mendlesohn, Rick Moen, and Steven Silver to submit for consideration by this year’s Business Meeting a resolution that expresses what they feel are the best practices in making publications available in a digital age, and calls on Worldcon committees to communicate their policies well in advance.
Proposed Resolution of Continuing Effect
Short Title: Convention Publications to be Delivered to Members
Resolved, That it is the sense of the Business Meeting that…
- Each Worldcon should deliver to all convention members the Progress Reports and the Souvenir Program Book in electronic format, either by mass delivery, or by individually-accessed downloads.
- Each Worldcon should offer all Members the option to have delivered to them the Progress Reports in printed form.
- Attending Members may choose to accept the Souvenir Program Book in printed form as provided at the convention, or to receive only the electronic format.
- Each Worldcon should offer Supporting Members the option to have delivered to them the Souvenir Program Book in printed form.
- The Worldcon may specify in advance a nominal fee to offset the printing and delivery costs for each of these publications for Supporting Members.
- If a fee is to be charged for the printed version of either the Progress Reports and / or the Souvenir Program Books, this should be specified up front in the convention’s bid submission.
- The option to sign up for the printed version of either or both publications should be included on the Site Selection ballots, and through the convention’s electronic Registration process.
- Supporting Members who have not previously opted to select the print options may do so up to six weeks in advance of the Worldcon.
- Attending Members who are unable to attend the convention will have their Souvenir Program Books delivered to them at no additional cost.
- Printed Souvenir Program Books should be delivered to the members who opted for them within 3 months of the close of the convention.
Moved by: Jo Van Ekeren, Chris Barkley, Seth Breidbart, Greg Machlin, Farah Mendlesohn, Rick Moen, Steven Silver.
Commentary: The above is the revised version of my proposal for the WSFS Business Meeting for a Resolution of Continuing Effect regarding the distribution of Worldcon Progress Reports and Souvenir Program Books.
Resolutions are non-binding, but they are retained in a permanent document and provide advice to future Worldcons of the members’ preferences for how things should be handled.
The intent of this resolution is not to hamstring Worldcon committees, or cause them financial hardship, or require unnecessary usage of natural resources for printing; but to ensure that the Worldcon membership has access to the convention publications in their preferred format.
I did specifically consider print-on-demand when writing this up, and do not believe that its verbiage excludes POD as an acceptable option for providing either the PRs or the Souvenir Book. If someone sees a way that it would exclude POD, please let me know.
I agree that in an ideal world, Supporting Members would continue to receive printed copies of the PRs and the Souvenir Program Book at no additional cost, because it *is* an accessibility consideration.
However, given the rising cost of printing and especially postage charges, I think it is not realistic to expect that practice to continue without raising the current ceiling on the Supporting Membership fee and allowing Worldcons to recoup those costs. Depending on a member’s geographical location and that of the convention, printing and postage charges for one Souvenir Book could well eat up the entire amount of the Supporting Membership fee (or even exceed it).
This resolution is intended to provide guidance to future Worldcons for ensuring that each of these two publications is available to all members in their choice of printed or digital format, and that the availability and arrangements for these are communicated up front to members during the bid process, as well as on the convention’s website and social media announcements.
Jo Van Ekeren