Uncle Sam: Ebooks for All

A bill proposed to the Connecticut General Assembly would mandate that publishing companies sell ebooks to libraries at the same rates as they sell to consumers.
The bill, introduced by Representative Brian H. Sear of the 47th district (Dem.), doesn’t mention terms, like the number of times a library would be allowed to lend a copy of an ebook before it would have to purchase it again, but one can assume the intent of the bill is to level the ebook playing field for libraries and thereby eliminate those kinds of stipulations.
It’s not the first time in the past several years the government has intervened in the ebook business. In the spring of 2012, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Apple and five of the largest U.S. publishers. The result of that action is now being seen directly by consumers and on the balance sheets of major ebook-sellers and publishers as ebook prices for best-sellers are plummeting.
In the UK, there have been government calls to mandate that libraries offer ebooks to patrons. Since, droves of UK libraries have adopted the practice – even though the government’s involvement is in its very early stages. Perhaps this proposed Conn. bill will spur action in the industry even if it doesn’t go anywhere.

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The rest of the day’s top news:
ALA’s New Ebook Scorecard (District Dispatch)
A new scorecard from the American Library Association will help libraries prioritize what they need out of an ebook lending program.
3M’s Big Year (YouTube)
3M launched its cloud library product in the spring of 2012 and it has so far signed on 100 library systems to use it. Also, Penguin piloted its ebook lending program with 3M.
Ebooks Sales up, Not as Much as Early 2012 (DBW)
Sales of ebooks were up in the healthy double-digits in Sept. versus last year – but not as much as in the early part of the year.
The Power of Kindle Singles (DBW)
Best-selling author Stephen King has used the Kindle Singles venue to quickly release a short work of nonfiction discussing guns in the U.S. He praised the venue for its ability to give his short thoughts a viable place to live.
What Publishers Can Learn from Self-Publishers (Pub Rants)
Fresh off her main-stage appearance at Digital Book World 2013 (see it here), agent Kristin Nelson blogged about what she learned, including the main things publishers should learn from self-publishing authors.
I Want My Ebook Review Copy (DBW)
NetGalley has been around since 2008. In 2013, more media outlets are formally requesting digital review copies.
Students Warming to E-Textbooks (DBW)
The narrative has long been that publishers, educators and regulators are all for the rise of e-textbooks but students, the end-user, don’t yet love them. That may be changing. According to the latest in a series of surveys of college student attitudes, 60% now prefer print textbooks over digital ones; that’s down from 72% at the end of 2011.
Britannica Will Rise Again (Good E Reader)
Britannica, famous in the industry today for the iconic set of print reference books that have been superseded by the internet and Wikipedia and are now no more, is developing a set of digital educational texts for schools.
An iPad in Every Classroom (The Digital Reader)
One of the New York City mayoral candidates has put forward a $300 million educational plan for the city in which textbooks are replaced with tablet computers in the classroom.
Primer on Ebook Borrowing (GigaOm)
Do you know how to borrow an ebook from your library? Many people don’t, so don’t be embarrassed if you’re among them – just click.

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Image Credit: Uncle Sam image via Shutterstock



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