New Book About eBooks in Libraries – Release in August

I’m thrilled to inform you that No Shelf Required: E-books in Libraries will be released in late August.  This edited book, published by ALA Editions, discusses a variety of eBook topics for school, public, and academic libraries.  Since I have a bit of clout with the publisher, I’m able to release the TOC and introduction for your review and consideration.  It is below.  Of course, it will be available in a variety of eBook formats, and print too.

No Shelf Required: E-books in Libraries

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1       E-books on the Internet, by James Galbraith
  • Chapter 2       Student Learning and E-books, by Jackie Collier and Susan Berg
  • Chapter 3       E-books in the School Library, by Shonda Brisco
  • Chapter 4       E-books in the Public Library, by Amy Pawlowski
  • Case Study on the Amazon Kindle, by Blaise Dierks
  • Chapter 5       The Academic Library E-book, by Lindsey Schell
  • Case Study on the SONY Reader, by Anne Behler
  • Chapter 6       Acquiring E-books, by Carolyn Morris and Lisa Sibert
  • Chapter 7       The Use and Preservation of E-books, by Alice Crosetto
  • Chapter 8       E-book Standards, by Emilie Delquié and Sue Polanka
  • Chapter 9       The Future of Academic Book Publishing: E-books and Beyond, by Rolf Janke

Introduction, by Sue Polanka

Why eat a pomegranate when you can eat a plain old apple. Or peach. Or orange. When it comes to fruit and vegetables, only eat the stuff you know how to grow.  Sherman Alexie, War Dances

The pomegranate is a complicated fruit. Because it is not as commonplace as an apple or orange, many people have never seen, much less tried to open, one. Adventurous souls who do open the pomegranate may be surprised to discover masses of tiny seed packs and not a solid core. Some know to eat the seed pack; others may not. As a result, the pomegranate may be rejected and the more familiar apple or orange selected in its place.

The e-book is complicated, much like the pomegranate. Because it is foreign to many users it may be slighted; users may prefer the more familiar print book, the one they grew up reading. Libraries, publishers, and users question why we should move to e-books when we already have the content in print. When we examine the e-book even more closely, we see masses of business models, formats, and licenses. These aspects are complicated and messy; they may raise questions about the purpose of e-books. Should we remain rooted in our safe, familiar print environment, or should we embrace the challenges inherent in something new?

No Shelf Required: E-books in Libraries offers readers an opportunity to explore the challenges that e-books bring to our libraries and our businesses. It offers innovative ideas on how to integrate e-books into our libraries. It explores complicated issues with e-books in libraries and offers suggestions about how to proceed. This book is an edited work, including contributions from academic, school, and public librarians, faculty, publishers, and vendors. Readers may wish to read the entire work or select chapters. Because chapters are written to stand alone, topics may be discussed more than once, but in different contexts.

We begin our look at e-books in libraries with a glimpse into the evolution of the e-book. James Galbraith provides a colloquial history of e-books in chapter 1. He investigates the various approaches used to create web-based e-books, from Project Gutenberg and the Internet Archive to the International Children’s Digital Library. Galbraith also looks into the future of e-books and the commercial and creative perspectives. Finally, he delves into the constantly unfolding Google Books project.

Jackie Collier and Susan Berg discuss the e-book as an emerging tool for learning in chapter 2. Using Brian L. Cambourne’s eight principles of learning and the results of the National Reading Panel Report (NRP), they demonstrate how the e-book relates to the organizational framework of reading instruction. Citing many examples, they correlate the features of four e-book subscription services for emerging readers to the NRP’s five areas of focus for reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. They also acknowledge the challenges educators face using e-books with K–12 learners.

Chapters 3 through 5 discuss how e-books are used in school, public, and academic libraries. Shonda Brisco, Amy Pawlowski, and Lindsey Schell present an overview of the e-book environment in their libraries. They discuss acquiring and licensing, cataloging, and incorporating e-books into the workflow. They also explore access, use, statistics, and marketing, along with benefits and challenges of e-books. Each chapter offers unique perspectives as well. For example, the school library chapter recommends grant resources for K–12 schools; the public library chapter reflects on audiobooks; and the academic chapter discusses sharing e-books across library consortia. As added features, Blaise Dierks spotlights the River Forest Public Library’s experience in loaning Kindles in the public chapter, and Anne Behler summarizes the Sony Reader pilot project at Penn State University in the academic chapter.

In chapter 6, Carolyn Morris and Lisa Sibert examine the process of purchasing e-books. They discuss e-book types, business models, and licensing along with library workflow processes like title selection, cataloging, and management of electronic resources. This chapter was written from an academic library perspective, but public and school libraries can benefit from much of the information too.

In chapter 7, Alice Crosetto examines the use delivery reports provided by e-book vendors, focusing on the available data from COUNTER and SUSHI standards. She helps the reader understand and interpret the data that can assist collection development decisions. Crosetto looks into the CLOCKSS, LOCKSS, and Portico programs used for the preservation of digital content.

Publishers and librarians have been concerned about e-book standards for years. Chapter 8, by Emilie Delquié and Sue Polanka, discusses several familiar standards including EPUB, digital rights management (DRM), the ISBN, and digital object identifiers (DOI). Delquié and Polanka look at newer standards like the international standard text code (ISTC) and the Shared E-Resource Understanding (SERU). Some attention is also given to standards that librarians frequently request, especially those governing licensing, pricing, format, and MARC records.

We peer into the future of academic book publishing in chapter 9. Rolf Janke notes the publisher paradigm shift from the print to the digital world. He discusses the economics of e-books and addresses pay-per-view, chapter or article purchases, and free access. Janke also investigates the impact of the e-book reader on academic publishing and concludes with the myriad challenges facing publishers as they move forward.

This book was written in the latter part of 2009. Every attempt was made to ensure currency, but there is no way to stay on top of this subject, for it is constantly evolving. E-books can be complicated and messy like the pomegranate. But if libraries and publishers make an investment in e-books, then we may soon have a library where there is no shelf required.

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