From an ALA Press Release on November 27, 2012
As several large book publishers continue to deny libraries access to their e-books, and others make e-books available under difficult terms, libraries find themselves unable to provide the reading and educational materials demanded by their patrons. As a result, many librarians are asking, “What can I do to advocate for fair e-book lending practices?”
To assist libraries in informing the public about e-book lending practices, the American Library Association (ALA) released today the “ALA E-book Media & Communications Toolkit,” a set of materials that will support librarians in taking action in their communities.
Developed by the ALA’s Digital Content and Libraries Working Group (DCWG), the toolkit includes op-ed and press release templates for library supporters interested in informing the public of the role that libraries play in building literate and knowledgeable communities. Additionally, the toolkit provides guidance on ways to use the media templates, as well as ALA talking points, e-book data, and public service announcement scripts.
The e-content blog at American Libraries has a nice summary about the ALA/publisher meetings in New York. Not only does it summarize the meetings, but provides links to many other valuable resources concerning eBooks, public libraries, and pricing.
An open letter to America’s publishers from ALA President Maureen Sullivan
September 24, 2012, CHICAGO — The following open letter was released by American Library Association (ALA) President Maureen Sullivan regarding Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Penguin refusal to provide access to their e-books in U.S. libraries.
The open letter states:
It’s a rare thing in a free market when a customer is refused the ability to buy a company’s product and is told its money is “no good here.” Surprisingly, after centuries of enthusiastically supporting publishers’ products, libraries find themselves in just that position with purchasing e-books from three of the largest publishers in the world. Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Penguin have been denying access to their e-books for our nation’s 112,000 libraries and roughly 169 million public library users.
Let’s be clear on what this means: If our libraries’ digital bookshelves mirrored the New York Times fiction best-seller list, we would be missing half of our collection any given week due to these publishers’ policies. The popular “Bared to You” and “The Glass Castle” are not available in libraries because libraries cannot purchase them at any price. Today’s teens also will not find the digital copy of Judy Blume’s seminal “Forever,” nor today’s blockbuster “Hunger Games” series. Continue reading
Andrew Richard Albanese from Publisher’s Weekly wrote a very nice article about life with eBooks in public libraries. I have clipped a couple of paragraphs below. The fulltext is available on the Publisher’s Weekly site.
Discussions between libraries and the big six publishers over e-book lending have grabbed headlines in 2012, but despite cordial statements from each side about the benefits of communication, a report released this month from the American Library Association suggests the two sides remain far from a breakthrough.
“Mixed” is how Robert Wolven, associate university librarian at Columbia University, and co-chair of the ALA’s Digital Content Working Group, describes the state of affairs between libraries and publishers. “I think the discussions we’ve had demonstrate that we’re not at an impasse,” Wolven tells PW. “There are potential paths for exploration and for improving things. But there’s still a lot of work to be done.” Continue reading
From an OCLC press release:
DUBLIN, Ohio, July 10, 2012—The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has awarded a $99,957 grant to OCLC for a new initiative, “The Big Shift: Advancing Public Library Participation in Our Digital Future.” The purpose of the grant is to more fully understand the challenges that U.S. public libraries face in providing e-book content to borrowers, as they ensure that all Americans continue to have access to commercially produced content through their local public libraries, even as formats change.
OCLC will partner with the American Library Association (ALA) and the Public Library Association (PLA) to review the e-book landscape and jointly develop recommendations for managing the e-book environment, in order to ensure adequate public access to these emerging resources. Continue reading
Libraries Thriving is a Collaborative Space for e-Resource Innovation and Information Literacy Promotion. Thinking and doing. I had the chance to speak with Laura Warren, Solutions Associate for Credo Reference (a supporter of Libraries Thriving) about the program. Our interview is now available on the NSR interviews page.
Here is more information about Libraries Thriving:
With low usage and shrinking budgets, libraries are challenged to justify resource investments now more than ever. At the same time, information users are ill prepared to navigate the amount and quality of content on the web. This creates a tremendous opportunity for libraries to show that they are well equipped to help users navigate information resources and for users to benefit from this guidance. Continue reading
Congrats to everyone at Unglue.it for the first successful campaign. Here is the official press release:
Two hundred and fifty-nine supporters pledged a total of $7,578 to a campaign to “unglue” Ruth Finnegan’s 1970 classic, “Oral Literature in Africa”. The campaign, which lasted 33 days, topped the campaign’s target at 12:30AM EDT on June 20 with a little under two days to spare. As a result the book will be issued as an ebook with a Creative Commons Attribution license, opening it up to free use and reuse by scholars and readers around the world.
Unglue.it, the website that hosted the campaign, launched on May 17th with the goal of “giving ebooks to the world”. Unglue.it allows rights holders of already published books to present “ungluing campaigns”. Site members can then pledge towards making the book available as Creative Commons licensed ebooks. If the campaign meets its goal, the ebook becomes freely available to everyone. Continue reading
Have you heard of Unglue.it? If not, read on… Unglue.it is a a place for individuals and institutions to join together to give their favorite ebooks to the world. We work with rights holders to decide on fair compensation for releasing a free, legal edition of their already-published books, under Creative Commons licensing. Then everyone pledges toward that sum. When the threshold is reached (and not before), we collect the pledged funds and we pay the rights holders. They issue an unglued digital edition; you’re free to read and share it, with everyone, on the device of your choice, worldwide.
Their first campaign has less than one week to go.
We’re up to 65% of the goal with just under 1 week to go!
The campaign for Oral Literature in Africa closes next Thursday. With the support of ungluers like you, it’s already over $4,900, almost two-thirds of its goal — but it needs more pledges and publicity to reach $7,500 before midnight EDT on June 21. Continue reading
Bobbi Newman, who blogs at Librarian by Day, has an excellent editorial post about current Ebook conditions in public libraries. She questions whether libraries should step back and wait for better options, quoting several other prominent bloggers on the subject. It’s an interesting thought piece from a public library perspective. The comments are just as interesting.
Here is a brief clip from the post – Should Libraries Get Out of the Ebook Business?
Or get out at least until there is a better system? I know what you are going to say, I can hear it already – “We can’t! Our patrons demand ebooks!” Except the truth is our patrons want a lot of things we can’t give them – to always be first on the waiting list for the new James Patterson, to not pay fines when their books are late, for the library to be open earlier or later, or to have a system besides Dewey because despite using it their entire lives they still cannot figure it out. When it comes to ebooks, we cannot give them what they want, not really, we cannot give them books from Simon and Schuster or MacMillian or new books from Penguin or Hatchet, and not more than 26 times from HarperCollins, and probably not many books from Random House. What we can do, what maybe we should do, is spend their tax money wisely, and I am no longer convinced that spending it on the current ebook system is a wise move.
A great article is available on the Library Renewal site - $2 BILLION FOR $1 BILLION OF BOOKS: THE ARITHMETIC OF LIBRARY E-BOOK LENDING written by Jonathan Chambers.
Here is a clip from the introductory material: Library Renewal wants to help libraries build a powerful new way to get econtent to their patrons. We envision a new infrastructure, one that is vastly improved, equitable and fairly priced (with hidden costs eliminated). In order to figure out exactly how to make something like that a reality and create an actionable plan we have been busy doing research and meeting with experts from a variety of areas. We’ve naturally talked with plenty of library folks, but we have also actively included and sought out others that have legal, business and publishing expertise. Jonathan Chambers, the author of this piece, fits that bill perfectly and has worked directly with us a great deal over the past year. Here you’ll see the sort of approach some folks working with Library Renewal are thinking about. We (both Library Renewal and Mr. Chambers) would love to hear your reactions to this post in the comments.
*note* While the pricing changes implemented very recently by Random House are not factored into the dollar amounts discussed here, that in no way changes the conclusions that are drawn in this piece. Drastic changes like what we have been seeing related to libraries and econtent are endemic to the systems currently in place. We believe that these sorts of market shifts serve to strengthen the premise that specific types of action are in order and that Library Renewal is the perfect partner for that work. Enjoy!