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