Beyond the Headlines: E-books in Libraries of the Future
Just like in the book publishing industry, the rise of e-books is propelling libraries into a revolution. The most basic questions of library operations are in play. For example, libraries are not able to purchase access to some titles. Other titles are available, but pricing and other access terms are markedly less favorable as compared to print books.
As readers here are well aware, the entire publishing ecosystem is in upheaval. Mention of mergers and the U.S. Department of Justice appear regularly in Digital Book World headlines. The once clear and sequential lines from author to publisher to distributor to retailer to end user are now blurred and promise to become re-invented. These changes throughout the publishing ecosystem also portend strategic re-alignment for libraries and their roles in society. Revolutions indeed.
This new blog will feature perspectives from the library community on developments and directions of the e-book marketplace and the implications for libraries. In addition, we hope that the posts will stimulate discussions within the e-book ecosystem more broadly to develop improved ways to connect authors and readers, the long-standing common bond of publishers and libraries.
We appreciate the invitation from Digital Book World to the Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) of the American Library Association (ALA) to publish occasional posts on these issues. Digital Book World provides a respected forum that brings together all of the players in the ecosystem. We look forward to the opportunity to engage more deeply in this community.
ALA is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 60,000 members. The ALA mission is to provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all. OITP engages in public policy and strategic initiatives at the national level to advance the ALA mission. Working through ALA’s Digital Content & Libraries Working Group, improving library access to e-books to help ensure access for everyone is at the top of OITP’s public interest agenda.
Many of the posts will be written by OITP staffers Larra Clark, Alan S. Inouye, Carrie Russell, and Marijke Visser. Other members of the library community may be invited to write guest columns as relevant opportunities arise.
Whatever 2013 brings to publishers and libraries, the one certainty is that it won’t be boring!