For immediate release:
EDMONTON, AB, Tuesday, March 22, 2022 – The Edmonton Public Library (EPL) is excited to have secured the only copy of The Daughters of Walsingham, a book that was minted by Edmonton author Todd Babiak, as a non-fungible token or NFT. The book was purchased using digital currency by local businessman Chris Labossiere, who in turn, has gifted the only digital copy of the book to EPL for the public to access and read for free.
Babiak is the first author in the world to have sold a full novel as an NFT to just one buyer. EPL will also be the first library to lend an NFT item for free with a library card. Starting today, the library will be offering exclusive access to The Daughters of Walsingham to EPL library cardholders.
“We are thrilled to be part of this extraordinary story,” says Tina Thomas, the Executive Director of Customer Experience at the Edmonton Public Library. “To be on the edge of new technology that could change the way books are published and offered in the future is so exciting. We’re thankful for the generosity of library supporters like Chris Labossiere, who has allowed Edmonton audiences exclusive access to this incredible piece of fiction from one of our favourite local authors.”
So what is an NFT you might be asking? Think cryptocurrency but just for digital goods.
In its simplest form, an NFT is a record of who owns a piece of digital content. NFTs are fairly new and became more prominent in 2021. Todd Babiak is the only author to date to have put a single book copy up for sale as a true NFT.
Babiak says, “Art is the perfect use-case for smart contracts. Instead of publishing The Daughters of Walsingham the traditional way, tokenizing a novel - like any artwork, or any contract - allows me to have a direct connection with my reader.”
The Daughters of Walsingham is a story about a 14-year old girl, Gwendolyn Spire, living in Alaska, in one of the coldest towns in America in 1962. She is then summoned to Walsingham Academy. It’s a secret place where girls have been trained in clandestine activities for generations. The world soon faces the Cuban Missile Crisis and Gwendolyn wins the right to do what spies do - save the world!
Babiak wrote the book with his own daughters and it’s a story unlike anything he’d written before. So it only made sense to him to release the book the way it was created: differently.
Babiak had a growing interest in cryptocurrency and all things NFTs and blockchain. So with this particular book, which he calls, “a shadow history, a metaverse, with its own fashion and history,” he decided to put it up for sale inside today’s new evolving metaverse. He then sat back and watched what would happen.
“It is a simple, efficient, elegant and secure way to make a contract with anyone and why not publish a novel this way and see what happens? Just one book, one buyer, one close relationship with just one reader,” says Babiak. Even better, that the one reader, just happens to live in his hometown of Edmonton and is now sharing it with Babiak’s hometown audience.
For the Edmonton Public Library, the uniqueness of this book as an NFT has opened the door to allow the library to offer exclusive access to its customers of a literary work of fiction that otherwise would have only been read by the single book buyer - and at the same time it gives the library community an opportunity to learn more about the growing world of NFTs.
“It’s an incredible opportunity for us to once again be a library leader in embracing new technology that is changing the way readers access literary works of art,” says Thomas. “We are diving into the new world of digital creation and sharing, and we look forward to continuing to experiment and learn along-side our customers.”
Over the next few months EPL will be hosting opportunities for learning about cryptocurrency, blockchain and NFTs through classes and events, hosted through the library.
For more information visit epl.ca/NFTBook.
About the Edmonton Public Library
Edmonton Public Library (EPL) is proud to be 2014 Library of the Year! We’ve come a long way since 1913 when books were all you could find on our shelves… and we’re just getting started! Today, EPL carries everything you care about. We are Edmonton’s largest lender of all manner of information and entertainment. Our professionally trained staff take you beyond Google with the knowledge, discernment and desire to help you navigate a universe of information. The second most visited place in Edmonton, every year EPL hosts over 16.9 million in-branch and online visits across our 20 branches and website. We deliver our incredible content to you everywhere – in the library, at home or on your handheld device. Unmatched access and unrivalled value – that is today’s EPL. EPL is a registered charity and relies on donations to enhance services. Spread the words. www.epl.ca/give
Catherine Bangel, Bangel PR