Do Libraries Need Ebooks?

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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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Image Credit: hello image via Shutterstock

Image Credit: ebook library image via Shutterstock

 

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One thought on “Do Libraries Need Ebooks?

  1. 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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