Solving the Digital Loan Problem: Can Library Lending of eBooks be a Win-Win for Publishers and libraries?
Ruth Liebmann, Random House, Micah Bowers, BlueFire Reader, Katie Dunneback, Librarian and Consultant
Katie set the stage with a broad introduction to libraries. The people inside give the libraries meaning. Libraries develop relationships with their customers and advise on books to read (readers advisory). Libraries are discovery centers through the readers advisory services. Libraries are where individuals experiment with new formats at low investment. Libraries can help save the reader time. Katie suggested ways that publishers can benefit from libraries, particularly by introducing slicker DRM and using the sills of MLS librarians who know cataloging and metadata. Katie then demonstrated a 21 step process to download a public library ebook and download it to an eReader device. Katie walked us through the readers advisory process, describing how she interviews patrons on their likes/dislikes of an author and recommend similar authors/series. She also discusses eReaders with patrons and provided us with a list of eReader topics that she discussed with 2 patrons the previous week. Topics included: price, lighting, territorial rights, covers, library access, etc. Continue reading
Last summer, Library Journal and School Library Journal conducted an eBook survey for libraries. The survey was designed to measure current and projected ebook availability in libraries, user preferences in terms of access and subjects, and library purchasing terms and influences. They included an academic, public, and school library version of the survey. Hundreds of questions were asked and hundreds of libraries responded. The results of those surveys were published in November, 2010 in three separate reports. The executive summaries of each are available on the Library Journal site (and linked below), and full reports are available for purchase. There were 1,842 respondents, broken down to 364 academic, 781 public, and 697 school libraries. I’ve captured some of the data to share with you, but the reports are full of additional information on budgets, marketing, barriers to adoption, patron preference, and much, much more. A primer on ebook readers and formats is in the appendix of each full report. Thanks to Josh Hadro at Library Journal for sharing the reports with me and allowing me to publish some of the data here on No Shelf Required. Continue reading
Reprinted in full from One Librarian’s Perspective, by Tim Kambitsch, Director of the Dayton Metro Library.
It is fashionable to declared Digital Rights Management (DRM) dead. And maybe in the world of music it is. For eBooks in the library marketplace, however, DRM is alive and well. The book publishers who may be more conservative than the music industry in trying to protect their intellectual property are willing to stymie sales in electronic formats to maximize their sense of security.
In the ideal open-yet-market-driven eBook environment there won’t be DRM, but regardless of whether DRM lives on, the closed vertically integrated world of eBooks sales to libraries presents a bigger problem; it is that environment that needs to change. For libraries to both offer electronic collections and maintain their role of building collections for the long term we need a layered environment where the purchase of materials is separated from the where those purchased materials are hosted. Further, library patrons deserve distinct choices for the programs and devices they use for readings. Continue reading
Very interesting blog post at ireaderreview.com on why Amazon will never work with libraries. The blog is not an official Kindle site, and the writer is portraying his views from a big business perspective, so keep this in mind before you shoot through the roof with anger, librarians. The comments are colorful as well, and worth a look. Let’s say this IS true, and Amazon will never work with libraries. Does this change your attitude toward loaning Kindles and buying content from Amazon to support the Kindles? If nook, SONY, Kobo, and others are better suited for library content, would you rather buy, loan and promote these devices in your library? I would.
I finally had a chance to skim through the recent study done by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC on eBooks, Turning the page: The future of eBooks. A full description of the study is below. I immediately searched for the word library/libraries in the document and found only 7 references, most to a personal library on one’s ebook reader. But, there was a statistic related to borrowing ebooks from libraries. The question was asked, how important are the following features of an ereader for you?
approximately 24% – 32% responded that “lending service from a library” was important to them. The responses were from 4 countries (UK, Germany, Netherlands, and US) with the US having the highest rate – 32% (see page 21 of the report for the chart). It’s not 100%, where we librarians would like it, but 32% isn’t a bad start. Unfortunately, my skimming of the document didn’t uncover any suggestions to publishers or eReader vendors about how to best work with libraries to accomplish the lending of eBooks. And why would it be a focus when the need for an integrated eBook store was a much greater need of the 1,000 survey respondents.
From the website – This new study examines trends and developments in the eBooks and eReaders market in the United States, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Germany, and discusses major challenges and key questions for the publishing industry worldwide. It also identifies market opportunities and developments for eBooks and eReaders, and makes recommendations for publishers, traditional retailers, online retailers, and intermediaries.
Given that publishers, internet bookstores, and companies that manufacture eReaders have high expectations for the digital future of the book industry, the study asks if a new generation of eReaders may, at last, achieve the long-awaited breakthrough that lures consumers away from paper and ink.
My friend and colleague, Erik Christopher (@eBookNoir), recently wrote a two part article on lending eBooks for Publishing Perspectives. Cleverly titled, “Friends Romans, Librarians: Lend Me Your eBooks” (parts 1 and 2), Christopher discusses lending issues with Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and OverDrive.
Friends, Romans, Librarians: Lend Me Your E-book (Part 1)
There have been several blog posts this week about using the BlueFire Reader application to download eBooks from library collections to various iOS devices. Josh Hadro from Library Journal has a great post with step-by-step instructions and screen shots. Other posts, not as detailed as Josh’s, include:
Another post from the Download Squad site offers a brief description with a couple of screen shots.