CIL Conference – Ebook Publishing: Practices & Challenges

This panel discussion was moderated by Dick Kaser from Information Today.  Speakers included Ken Breen, EBSCO Publishing, Leslie Lees, ebrary, Bob Nardini, Ingram, and Mike Shontz, OverDrive.

Each panelist had 5 minutes to discuss who they serve and business models they offer.

Ken Breen, EBSCO Publishing

  • Ken reflected back to 1997 – common themes from back then – user interface, compatibility, digital rights, unauthorized access and copying, business models.
  • EBSCO Publishing acquired NetLibrary one year ago, the preview of eBooks on EBSCOhost is available now.
  • Migrated over 300,000 ebooks and audiobooks over to new interface, did this with over 1100 library advisory board members
  • Number of old and new business models – from B&T, YBP, from sales rep, new EBSCOhost collection manager, individual and consortial pricing available, PDA will be available and enhanced.
  • 3 user models available – single user, 3 user and unlimited.  Unlimited use based on FTE or population served.
  • Purchases triggered by various uses of the book – 10 minutes, printing, downloading
  • upgrades available – titles previously purchased via one book one user can be upgraded to multiple user
  • short-term lease to be introduced soon
  • will offer individual title purchase and subscription models
  • EBSCOhost Collection Manager will replace Title Select.  Browse/sort/create lists, set-up PDA lists
  • Collection Development librarians can help libraries build a collection, no additional cost for this service

Leslie Lees, ebrary

  • 3700 customers serving over 19.2 million users
  • founded in 1999
  • subscription- over 50,000 titles, mostly backlist, publishers use it to monetize long-tail
  • perpetual archive – purchase and own titles from ebrary, B&T and YBP, single and multi user access options available
  • patron driven acquisition – introduced last year due to feedback from librarians
  • short term loans also available
  • over 273,000 titles from over 500 publishers
  • ebooks, reference, maps, reports, sheet music, journals, and more
  • DASH!  Data Sharing Fast – upload PDF content, add metadata, and search alongside of book content – plan to make this available for individuals in the future

Bob Nardini, Ingram/Coutts Information Services

  • one of the largest book distributors in the world – 4 warehouses available
  • lightning source production facility to support print on demand
  • capable to work with devices like iPad, they have an online warehouse “coresource” to house content and metadata and the output is either a retail download, lightning source titles, or a MyiLibrary interface title
  • perpetual ownership – single and multi-user model
  • PDA
  • 270,000 titles and growing
  • feel that print/ebooks will coexist for quite a while
  • content models offered – print and ebook approval plans (can accommodate the differentiation in release time), shared collections, and patron select
  • working on – ILL model, digital to print on demand for the local espresso machine, e-content search
  • archiving –  keeping content safe – working on a plan
  • working on downloads to various devices, will have a release in about a month for downloadable MyiLibrary books

Mike Shontz, OverDrive

  • here to do a “state of the union,”  – which is extremely strong
  • thousands of publishers and over 400,000 titles, getting thousands of new titles each month
  • their role is a library advocate – to help libraries make informed choices based on offering as much content as they can
  • they do fight for rights and Mike says new rights are acquired every day
  • direct downloads to phones, iOS devices, and soon the blackberry
  • continue to develop new collection tools and the user experience
  • small wins – liquid comics offering first, always available ebooks to the collection
  • will see more and more DRM free books
  • most of their libraries are doing 600-700% growth per year, on pace to have more circs in 2011 than in 2010 (already surpassing that number)
  • we need to focus on all the good that is happening, because there is a lot going on
  • Digipalooza – users group for librarians to share best practices and interact with the publishers. This event will be held in Cleveland this summer.

Q & A

What’s going on with DRM and ebooks?

Mike – they will be announcing more DRM free books soon, Adobe is the main mechanism for DRM for their ebooks, they allow the ability to expire the file and conduct the downloads and transfers.  Even with direct downloads to devices, they still have to register the device with Adobe.  Copyright is established by the publisher, they don’t set the policies.  They will continue to advocate for library rights.

Leslie – rights are determined by the publishers; big problem we face is that some publishers will have loose DRM on their own platform, but lockdown more for the aggregators, ie. Project MUSE announced DRM free content and some publishers are saying they won’t send their best content to MUSE now.

Bob – must have some type of DRM mechanism available on the platform/interface or the publisher won’t release the content

Comment:  Can you get together an agree on a single format so that we can download to devices? applause followed

What are you doing proactively to find a better DRM software?  Adobe has become the defacto, but it has faults.

Mike – that’s why they are moving toward the direct downloads, Adobe to their credit gave us this opportunity to download.

Proprietary platforms – can you offer more support?

Leslie – even though we have proprietary platforms, many of us are using the same formats

Mike – OverDrive does have a support service for libraries, hopes to have more answers by ALA

Do some of you have distinct content, or are all publishers working with each of you?

Bob – probably some distinction b/t OverDrive and the others, b/c they are focused on the public library

Do any of you offer more than 10 pages of printing at one time?

Leslie – try to make it possible to download a chapter

bob – most limits to increased to 60 pages

Ken – EBSCO acquiring rights to print 60 pages or an individual chapter

When are we going to be able to loan ebooks?

Bob – launching a service soon to allow for ILL via OCLC mechanisms

Leslie and Ken – offer short-term loan and patron driven lease

These notes are my interpretation of the panel discussion, my best attempts were made to guarantee accuracy.

2 thoughts on “CIL Conference – Ebook Publishing: Practices & Challenges”

  1. I have chosen not to add DRM security into my writing making the assumption that the honor system allows more readers. This may appear silly but I do believe that if someone wants a free download they will find a way anyways and also that there is so much to choose to read in the world I would be passed by.

    However Big Box publishers see piracy as dollars leaking out the port holes.
    Will Authors be like musicians who can only make a living from live performance in the future?

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