Archiving eBooks, librarians are you concerned?

What if your eBook aggregator or perhaps the publisher with whom you now own over 5,000 eBook titles went belly up next week?  What if OCLC and EBSCO never purchased NetLibrary, where would your titles have gone?  Perhaps the 100 titles you’ve bought for your personal Kindle are no good when the device disappears due to newer technology. Are you concerned about accessing the eBook content you’ve purchased in perpetuity?  Is the lack of eBook archiving preventing you from purchasing eBooks? Are Portico, LOCKSS, or CLOCKS suitable solutions for archiving eBooks?  I’m looking for your opinions and concerns on eBook archiving for a Charleston Conference presentation on this very topic.  Please leave your comments or send me a direct email at sue.polanka at


4 thoughts on “Archiving eBooks, librarians are you concerned?”

  1. I am concerned about this, but it isn’t keeping us from buying ebooks. It might be keeping us from buying e-only, though.

    It would be great to see publishers contributing their ebooks to Portico or LOCKSS, especially if they would give us post-failure access if either the publisher or the platform (e.g., ebrary, EBL) went under.

    But with all the varieties of DRM, MUPO, SUPO, non-linear lending, etc., this really poses some challenges quite different than those of e-journals.

  2. Instead of concentrating on finding a solution, we should be concentrating on fixing the cause of the problem.

    DRM is the main factor that will bring about this crazy situation.

    The other major factor is the present software setup on Kindle/itunes etc where the actual book files are kept so remote from the reader. The reader should always be able to know that the eBook files are located in a known folder location immune to the application so that version changes, software glitches, format changes do not risk any loss of the eBook files.

  3. At Infobase Publishing we provide our ebook customers with a link on our ebook admin page that allows them to download pdf files of every ebook they purchase.

  4. Paul,
    Thanks for your comment. I was aware that certain publishers were offering this service, but didn’t know which ones. A few questions if I may. How many libraries actually download the titles? Is the PDF that you send wrapped with DRM? I’m assuming as part of the licensing agreement that you have limits set on what the PDF can be used for, right?

    I’m also very curious as to what librarians do with these PDFs once downloaded. Are they storing them on a network drive, the hard drive of one computer, burning to DVD, or other? Obviously the more books purchased, the more files and that’s a lot of storage space after a while. Not to mention the need for software upgrades or a complete change of format should a PDF at some point be obsolete. Lots to think about!

    Thanks again for your comment. Sue

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