Libraries and eBook publishers: a complex and fraught relationship

The previous post from Olivia highlights the response one library director gave to his patrons to explain why there were so few eBookereader-and-books 4s available to borrowers. Lynn Neary, of NPR’s Morning Edition, prefaced her report, the second in a series of the state of libraries in the U. S., this way, “E-books have changed the world of publishing in fundamental ways. The business model that encouraged publishers to support the work of public libraries has changed to such an extent that this relationship has been stressed to the point of non cooperation.”

Listen to the full story (pay special note the lively conversation that ensues in the comments section).

Barbara L.

“Why aren’t more bestsellers available as eBooks for me to borrow from the library?”

anotherimageTo help answer this common question among many library patrons, the State Library of Kansas created a facebook page to explain which eBooks are not available for libraries at all, and why others are too expensive to purchase or lease. In an interview on NPR, Jo Budler, the State Librarian of Kansas, explained that while “the cost to you and I might be $10 for a book,” the same eBook could cost a library $85 to rent for just a year, or may only be checked out less than 30 times. Major publishers restrict the availability of eBooks in libraries in an attempt not to diminish eBook sales. So, to expand the digital collection of the Douglas County Libraries in Colorado, Director Jamie LaRue decided to work with independent publishers and self-published writers and services.  Now, DCL patrons can access to 40,000 eBooks and might discover new authors to enjoy. They also have the option of purchasing eBooks – which benefits all parties, including the library. Several library systems are interested in adapting this “Douglas County Model.” As Ms. Budler points out, “…our readers, they’re going to find things to read. And if it’s not the bestsellers they may turn somebody into a bestseller, because the bestseller wasn’t available at the library.”

~ Olivia

Publishers may expand ebook offerings to Libraries

In recent meetings with book publishers,  Jeremy Greenfield, editorial director of Digital Book World, says some believe continuing and even expanding ebook offerings to libraries will help their business.  Others are not so sure.  Greenfield was one of the guests on NPR’s Diane Rehm Show earlier this week which was devoted to the topic of library ebook lending.

Susan R., Reader’s Svcs

Penguin to provide e-books to New York libraries for one year

Until last week, Penguin was one of four major publishers that would not allow libraries to lend their e-books. Soon, however, Penguin Group and e-book distributor 3M will participate in a one-year pilot program with the New York and Brooklyn Public Libraries, two of the country’s largest library systems, to provide e-books to patrons. Penguin will make all (approximately 15,000) of their e-books available to library patrons six months after they go on sale. The library e-books will expire after one year.

You can learn more about the pilot program here.

- Olivia M.

Pew study on “Libraries, patrons, and e-books”

According to a new study by the Pew Research Center, most Americans are unaware that e-books are available at their local library. An estimated 12% of e-book readers have borrowed a library e-book. Over half (56%) of patrons who attempted to borrow an e-book discovered it was not available at the library. To maximize profits, publishers have restricted the availability of titles by imposing prohibitive costs and limits to e-book circulation. Per Molly Raphael, President of the American Library Association:

“Clearly there is an opportunity here for us to step up our outreach and increase public awareness. Of course, awareness is not enough. Libraries cannot lend what they cannot obtain.”

You can read more about the study here and here.

To find out more about e-books at the Evanston Public Library, click here.

- Olivia M.

Should children read ebooks?

Today’s New York Times  points out that most  plugged in, etext-only adults still prefer physical print books for their children.  (For Their Children, Many E-book Fans Insist on Paper) The reasons vary: ebooks and ereaders are expensive, offer poorer selections, can’t convey illustrations well. There’s also a great deal of affection for the tactile, physical experience of sharing  books with a child, difficult to replicate with a Kindle.

But do physical books for children have any actual advanatge over  ebooks? Continue reading

What EPL is Reading

The Newly Complicated Zora Neale Hurston

The discovery of three “lost” stories by the Harlem Renaissance author is detailed in this engrossing essay from the Chronicle of Higher Education.  Differing dramatically from her better known works, the stories unearth an intriguing new side to the Southern folk writer.

A Bestiary of the Evolving Book

The influence of e-readers on the types of books that will be created in the future is detailed by Scholarly Kitchen.  Starting with the “Classic E-book” on our Nooks and Kobos, this tech-savvy article explores “Enhanced Books,” “Muscular Books,” “Social Books,” and 140-character “Staccato Books.” 

The Virginia Woolf You Never Knew

Flavorpill celebrates Virginia Woolf’s birthday with 59 little known facts about the extraordinary author including: 1) Her childhood nickname was “The Goat;” 2) She was a formidable bowler; 3) She and her husband owned a pet monkey named Mitz. 

A Birthday Tradition Nevermore

A mysterious yearly ritual at the grave of Edgar Allan Poe seems to have come to an end.  For 60 years, an unknown visitor would emerge from the shadows on Poe’s January 19th birthday to toast the macabre writer with three roses and a half bottle of cognac.  Now, for the second year, the visitor has failed to appear.

Overdrive and the ipad…Yes, you can download epub books!

There has been a lot of discussion about using My Media Mall (Overdrive) on the ipad.  We can use  Bluefire Reader but books must be first downloaded to the computer then transferred to the ipad.  Bluefire does a great job of explaining this process, but it’s really not ideal.

So, we heard some rumors about the Overdrive iphone app working on the ipad.  I have to say that it works!  You can download books directly onto your ipad from your library’s Overdrive Collection.  The most confusing part is that even though you need the App to make this work, during the process you will be bouncing in and out of your internet browser as well.  I have taken some screenshots from the ipad, and have posted the instructions below.  You will need a 3G connection or Wifi to do this. Continue reading

“The Death of the Book has Been Greatly Exaggerated”

“Books have a kind of usability that, for most people, isn’t about to be trumped by bourgeoisie concerns about portability: They are the only auto-playing, backwards-compatible to the dawn of the English language, entirely self-contained medium we have left.”

This article in MIT’s Technology Review takes issue with the constant claims made by tech pundits that books are “dead.”