Do Libraries Need Ebooks?

shutterstock_78107305At the American Library Association’s mid-winter meeting in Seattle last week, discussion swirled around libraries and ebooks – as it has in the library community for several years now.
Access to ebooks for patrons is still a high priority and librarians are “frustrated with the pace of change,” according to Sari Feldman, executive director of the Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Public Library and co-chair of ALA’s Digital Content & Libraries Working Group. Librarians are also unhappy with library ebook licenses that are limiting or when ebooks are more expensive for libraries to purchase and the “ALA anticipates that continued, or stepped up, advocacy will be necessary in 2013.” So look forward to that.
At the same time, librarians are exploring options to bring more ebooks economically to their patrons – like buying ebooks from indie authors or becoming community publishing centers.
More focus in the library community on ebooks – and, in general, frustration among librarians at the level of access they have to many ebooks published by the largest publishers – begs the question, do libraries need ebooks? Publishers unwilling to make it easy for librarians to buy their ebooks are forcing librarians to ask this. What do publishers want the answer to be?

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Digital Comics Getting Cheaper (PW)
As digital comics offerings from publishers and the market they target matures, prices for digital comics are going down.
Sell Ebooks With DRM Direct (DBW)
EditionGuard allows indie authors, small presses and anyone else to sell ebooks directly to consumers with Adobe DRM at what it called affordable prices – for the tech, that is (how you price your ebooks when you sell direct is your business).
Pointing Fingers (The Digital Reader)
Lodging a complaint about ebook piracy has become a weapon that some firms use to intimidate others. One popular ebook reading app has been kicked out of the Google Play store recently because a rival firm told Google that it was a hub for ebook piracy.
Meet the New Bosses (DBW)
The new parent company to HarperCollins now has a new chief strategy officer and chief creative officer. (Overkills on this headline concept?)
BookBaby Now Distributes Into Southeast Asia (The Independent Publishing Magazine)
In a deal with eSentral, an ebook distributor in a handful of countries in Southeast Asia, BookBaby customers will now be able to distribute the ebooks there. BookBaby claims to have distribution in about 200 countries worldwide.
U of Chicago Press Launches Short-Form Ebook Series (DBW)
The ebooks are available for $3.99 (mostly), perfect for “impulse buying,” said The Chicago Blog. The ebooks will be DRM-free.
Google Pays Off French Publishers (paidContent)
French news publishers wanted Google to pay to link to them (for those of you unfamiliar with the issue, this is not a joke). Google balked and instead has created a fund to promote digital publishing innovation in France and will also help French publishers with their advertising strategies. They seem to be placated for now.
Reading Is Sexy (DBW)
And reading sexy things out loud is funny. Just watch this video from All Romance eBooks.

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One thought on “Do Libraries Need Ebooks?

  1. Dean

    Publishers want to stay in business and librarians want to give their patrons what patrons want, while keeping their costs as low as possible. If selling e-books through the library channel helps rather than hurts the bottom line publishers will do it. Clearly some are not convinced it will help. The library market is already a fairly minor part of the revenue picture for many publishers. And it may be that libraries will have as insignificant a role in the dissemination of e-books, as they have had an insignificant role in the market for music mp3s. There is, clearly, an e-book price point at which libraries become irrelevant to the consumption of e-books. The question is whether publishing can survive at that price point.



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