Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

E-books, Libraries, and the False Notion of Digital Scarcity…


My recent experience with libraries depends on two things, both not optimum for gaining comprehensive knowledge:

— I haven’t used a library seriously for many years…

— I have a friend who’s a librarian in a prison, which is a totally different world…

Also, there is much floating around that is positively confusing about e-books…

Luckily, I found the site No Shelf Required.

Their self-statement:

“Portal on all aspects of ebooks and digital content and for all creating, reading, publishing, managing, curating, and distributing the written word and other content in digital format, including publishers, writers, editors, content developers, distributors, educators, librarians and information science professionals. With contributions from book and library professionals and thought leaders in the United States and around the world.”

So, to find information and explanations about e-books in libraries, this would seem a good Space; especially with Mirela Roncevic on the staff…

Just a bit about her:

“…Mirela launched the Free Reading initiative, which brings developers, publishers, and sponsors together to turn public and private spaces into zones where people have free and uninterrupted access to books…”

“Previously Mirela was Senior Editor at Library Journal, co-editor of ALA’s online journal, eContent Quarterly, instructor of ALA’s popular Understanding Ebooks class…Managing Editor of Salem Press’ acclaimed Critical Insights book series, and Director of Content for a number of content platforms, which she helped build and maintain.”

In Mirela’s article, Great to See Major Publishers Embrace Alternative Ebook Models in Public Libraries, but Let’s Give Credit Where Credit Is Due, there’s a wealth of information.

At one point, she says:

“I’ve had the privilege of working with vendors that cater to all types of libraries and have seen first-hand how difficult it is to crack the public library market in particular. My experience has shown that the vast majority of libraries are simply not ready or are not willing to work with new (unfamiliar) companies providing high-quality services (and models that are actually revolutionizing access to books)…”

One of the troublesome factors some e-book publishers inject into the library environment is the one-book-one-patron fiasco.

Physical books are naturally one-book-one-patron—if there are three copies of a book, three patrons can have it out at the same time, the fourth person must wait…

Certain large publishers have demanded the same for e-books, along with charging exorbitant amounts for each e-book “copy”…

After discussing various factors surrounding this issue, Mirela says:

“When a library director gives a newcomer a chance and adds a new platform to its ebook offering, even without the presence of the Big Five bestsellers,  he/she has the power to introduce a mighty new player into the market. It only takes one library innovator to break the ice. Librarians’ actions, therefore, are more impactful than they may realize. Does this mean they sometimes must learn from  mistakes and the shortfalls of each new model? Certainly.”

For a broader view of different e-book licensing models, try this Publishing Perspectives article
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For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

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