Ebooks on Crack Get your ebook fix.


Booked! Libraries, eBooks and Their Collections!

In  January of last year, I originally argued the librarian’s dilemma was that of figuring out what course of action libraries should take in the eBook arena.  A year later, it seems there is still no clear answer!  Given the recent Google Books decision (info via the Disruptive Library Technology Jester blog) and the public discussions from both OverDrive and Harper Collins, I don’t think any clear answer is coming soon!

So what does a library do?  Remember, the choices they make will ultimtely affect you, the eBook buyer, reader and enthusiast!

Ultimately, I think libraries should focus for now on the free repositories available for use.  Given the advances in Google Books, Hathi Trust, the Open Library and others, this course of action will help them stabilize their budgets, offer more choices to their patrons (YOU!) and not  be locked into a vendor’s approach to the eBook world.

Is that realistic?  In some cases yes, in others no….here’s why.  The massive repositories now online or going online are promising to multiply a library’s local collection by 10, 20, even a 100 times more than what they could get from a vendor–all in a multiplicity of formats.  Almost any subject under the sun is now available for library patrons.

Looking for classic American and English literature?  Check–got that here.  How about common non-fiction subjects such as gardening, pirates, and even science fairs?  Yep-all of those are available!  These sample subjects are just the tip of the iceberg as to what is out available.

However, this free approach can be unrealistic if the patron demand is for the best sellers, the hot new fiction that only the vendor can offer.  Would this demand be better served by a real paper version?  There’s really no right or wrong at this point, as libraries alone know what their patrons really want.

I guess the upshot here is that given the uncertainties of the current eBook situation, I feel it would be better for libraries to minimize their eBook purchasing until some sort of standard can be worked out–but still use the (sometimes, often) free resources to enhance and stabilize their local collections.

This way, eBook enthusiasts like you and me can still find lots of goodies for our ebook readers.  Colllection integration of various free resources seems to be a better approach than a one shot only approach from any particular vendor.  Given the public API’s and integration with library standards such as OCLC and others, this doesn’t seem to be too arduous to implement.

So what do you think?  Realistic or just “pie-in-the sky”?  My thoughts?  I think it’s workable, but secretly, I’m holding out for the Digital Public Library myself!


Kindle and Libraries – Will Amazon’s exclusive ebook format effect sales of the Kindle?

You can’t read ebooks from your library on a Kindle:

This simple statement may well conceal a growing problem for Amazon in relation to the future sales of their Kindle ereaders.

Whilst the Kindle ereader is currently the world’s best selling ereader,  is a superb piece of equipment, well made, easy to use (seriously easy to use), reasonably  priced and generally a device that one would recommend without any hesitation to anyone wanting a good, dedicated ereader, it does suffer from a problem that the people at Amazon had never considered when they decided to use their own propriety ebook format with the Kindle, and this is the exponential growth of public libraries all over the developed world, who now offer their members ebooks as well as paper books.

But the wrong ebook format…..

The problem being, the format that libraries all over the world use for the ebooks they offer is the effective industry standard, ePub.   And Kindle ereaders can’t work with ePub formatted ebooks.  Thus Kindle owners are excluded from this source of ebooks to read.

Which is obviously a sad situation, and one that I imagine Amazon is concerned to address before to long.

Computer literate folk…. not a problem, but the rest of us?

I know that those of you out there who are handy with computers, will use a program such as Calibre to change the library ebooks to the Amazon format, and are also perfectly capable of stripping the DRM protection as well, and can thus merrily read these library ebooks on their Kindles, but I know from the many emails and comments that I get through this blog, the great majority of ereader owners are in fact not particularly interested in computers, and don’t want the extra hassle of converting ebook formats and so on, but simply want to download the ebooks they want to read, get them onto their ereaders and enjoy reading them.

This must surely mean that as the spread of libraries offering ebooks grows – which it assuredly will do – people contemplating purchasing a new ereader will think twice before deciding to buy a Kindle, and will very likely choose a Sony, a Nook or any one of the hundreds of other makes out there that do support ePub.  Which is obviously bad news for Amazon.

Once upon a time it made sense.

Way back in the dark primaeval days of ereaders, when Amazon and Sony were to all intents and purposes the only players in the field, it made pretty good sense for Amazon to use an exclusive ebook format – it assured after all that people would buy their ebooks from Amazon, and not from any other source which was obviously the point.   The Amazon format is not in any real respect better than ePub as far as I know.

But this is no longer an advantage it seems to me.

So, what happens next?

I am curious to see if in future versions of the Kindle, Amazon will broaden the range of ebook formats it can handle, or even go as far as to drop their own ebook format and simply go with the rest of the world and accept ePub as the format of choice for ebooks.

I am reasonably sure that if they stick to their guns, and refuse to make the Kindle work with ePub, their sales will surely suffer from this one unexpected development – the ebook lending libraries.

Of course, the other possibility (there are always other possibilities after all) is that libraries will change and start to stock their ebooks in the Amazon format as well as ePub.   For Amazon, this would obviously be the best outcome, and one I am sure they are beavering away in the back rooms trying to bring about.

In any event, I hope that a sensible solution is found, since the Kindle is one of the best ereaders out there, and I can understand that people would like to buy it…  But if that choice closes a wonderful source of ebooks, then I can only see sales dropping in time, as other brands of ereader who do support ePub take the lead.

We shall see……………………..

Share with us:

What do you think about this?  Should Amazon give in and accept ePub?  Or should Libraries add the Kindle format to their ebooks?   Do let us know  your thoughts on this.



North Carolina libraries receive grant to develop new ebook business models, by Sue Polanka

Library Journal reported today that the four universities that make up the Triangle Research Libraries Network received a ,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation to develop new models for consortial ebooks pricing and acquisition.

From LJ:  ”Some answers to the ebook model dilemma may be in the offing, from the Triangle Research Libraries Network (TRLN)—a collaborative organization of the libraries of North Carolina-based Duke University, North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and North Carolina Central University—which announced that it has received a ,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to develop new models for consortial ebook pricing and acquisition.”

A colleague also forwarded to me today a value statement for the Scholarly Ebook Marketplace from North Carolina State University.  It is reprinted below in full.

NCSU Libraries Value Statement for the Scholarly Ebook Marketplace


As scholarly monographs shift from primarily print to electronic, the NCSU Libraries seeks to engage both the publishing and library communities in shaping the future of the scholarly ebook marketplace. We believe the following values can form the core of a mutually beneficial market for publishers and libraries that best serves the researchers and students at the heart of the scholarly communication cycle.

We value:

  • Portability between devices, with publishers and aggregator platforms using non-proprietary formats for their ebooks.
  • Consistency of content across the print and electronic format and the incorporation of corresponding supplementary material sometimes available in the print version (i.e CDs, web access).
  • Working jointly with publishers and aggregator platform vendors to develop standards for printing, copy/paste, and saving of ebook content.
  • Quality Full-level MARC bibliographic records that meet current national cataloging standards and practice.
  • The Interlibrary Loan process or comparable way to lend and borrow ebooks between libraries.
  • Perpetual access to purchased and/or subscribed content.
  • ADA compliance.
  • COUNTER compliant usage statistics.
  • Licensing terms which do not limit fair use and first sale doctrines under US copyright law. Adopting SERU as a standard for ebooks would ensure this.
  • Simultaneous format availability of frontlist titles.
  • Alerts that new books have been added to existing collections.
  • Pricing models that are reasonable, flexible and reflect the broad needs of the library market. Restricting ebook access to subscription-only, bundled databases of “all or nothing” content is in direct conflict with reasonable, flexible pricing models.
  • The ability to migrate purchased and/or subscribed content between platforms in the event of the end of life of a platform.
  • The ability to coordinate discovery with third party services such as Serials Solutions and SFX.
  • The ability to incorporate ebook search, discovery, access and purchase into existing workflows.

Via Sue Polanka’s No Shelf Required


    Two Colorado libraries team up with independent publishers to sell ebooks


    From an article in American Libraries:

    Officials of two Colorado libraries announced March 16 that they will be adding to their catalogs e-books that are published by members of the Colorado Independent Publishers Association (CIPA).

    The Red Rocks Community College Library and Douglas County Library also revealed that by June they plan to launch click-through links so interested patrons can purchase an e-book title from its respective catalog record. …

    Douglas County Library Director Jamie LaRue told American Libraries, “Our intent is to buy the titles outright. We will limit the use to one simultaneous patron per copy.” He went on to emphasize that this pilot project “will demonstrate not only that libraries are firm supporters of the independent publishers through our willingness to buy and promote their works, but also that libraries and publishers can help each other grow the still-developing e-book market.”

    Libraries are natural partners with independent publishers,” agreed Joseph Sanchez, director of library and learning services for Red Rocks Community College. “We understand and value both copyrights and the great value of alternative viewpoints. We can easily integrate e-books into our collections, ensuring one use at a time, but also exposing authors to precisely the people who are looking for them.”

    Karen Reddick, executive director of CIPA, sees this partnership as “helping us introduce a new generation of writers to a new generation of readers” and continuing the cycle of inspiration that generates the next generation of writers and independent publishers.


    Overdrive – Libraries Offer Training in How to Download Ebooks

    Libraries begin to offer their readers courses in how to work with ebooks and ereaders:

    As you may have noticed, more and more libraries around the world are now offering  their readers the possibility of borrowing ebooks – obviously a good trend and one that we all support (with the possible exception of the Publishers who feel they are being cheated by this ebook lending).

    However, as has been pointed out, this can produce problems both for the libraries themselves and for many of their readers.   To borrow ebooks from your local library demands a certain level of computer literacy, which quite a few ereader owners simply do not possess, and this seems to be causing problems.

    Many ereaders are owned by elderly folk, who seem to have taken to ereaders in a big way, but from the comments and emails I get here, it is obvious that many of these readers are OK with using the Kindle system to obtain their ebooks, but anything more complex can floor them very rapidly.

    Sadly, if you happen to own a Kindle, libraries are not a source of ebooks for you, as Overdrive does not support the ebook format that Amazon have elected to use for their ebooks, so you will only be able to borrow ebooks from your local library if you own another make of ereader, and this is where the problem begins, as most ereaders use a relatively clumsy method of getting ebooks safely loaded into them.

    In order to address this problem, an increasing number of libraries are beginning to offer their readers courses in how to work with  Overdrive (the software system that most libraries use to deal with lending ebooks).

    As the Overdrive system is actually pretty simple for people (borrowers) to use, these courses are not long and don’t require a high level of computer literacy in order to master how it all works and to open up the world of ebooks in libraries.

    If you are one of those who are finding the whole business of borrowing ebooks from your local library complex,  it would be well worth your while to go along and ask them if they are running any such courses, or at the least if they have someone there who would be prepared to walk you through the process.

    After all, using your local library as a source of ebooks is very sensible and will save you a lot of money as well.

    So, time to be proactive and encourage your local library to organise such courses at once.

    Share with us:

    Do you have any thoughts on libraries lending ebooks and the technical aspects of this idea?


    Libraries are starting to boycott Harpercollins

    library ebooks

    In the Digital era libraries are leading the charge for eBook lending and many customers exclusively are getting their reading fix whether they have an e-reader or a tablet computer. Many libraries when you sign up for a book that is lent out will send you a link to download it when it becomes available. After a few weeks the book will expire and then get sent back to the pool of lend-able books. This is all changing with a recent decision by Harpercollins to limit the amount of lending each book has.

    Libraries all over the world who lend books out digitally are up in arms and many are calling for a boycott of all Harpercollins Publishing books. Recently the company changed a longstanding decision for unlimited downloads of their ebook to it now expiring after 26 times lent out. Libraries are now having to buy the same book over and over in order to lend it to patrons.

    With its tangible books the library sometimes lends the same book out many times per month for sometimes 25 years. With the call to eliminate the ebook after 26 reads it is challenging libraries to allocate a growing part of their budget in order to purchase more ebooks. This call is unjust and many libraries are wanting you to sign a petition HERE.

    For its part, HarperCollins Publishers says it’s trying to find the business model that’s right for everyone.

    The company publishes romance novels and young adult books — genres that tend to fly off the shelves at local libraries.

    via ozarkfirst

    Related posts:

    1. HarperCollins is selling more eBooks than Hardcovers
    2. How eBook Library Lending works with e-Readers
    3. Are ebooks heralding the end of ownership?
    4. Google starting a Newsstand for Newspapers and Magazines on Android
    5. Amazon eBooks outselling Tangible books 2:1
    6. e-Reader sales will jump to .2 Billion by 2014

    US Air Force libraries provide ebooks of Chief of Staff reading list titles

    Csaf reading list

    From Overdrive’s Digital Library blog:

    In 1996, the Chief of Staff  (CSAF) of the US Air Force created a professional reading list to develop a common frame of reference among Air Force members – and every CSAF since then has continued the Professional Reading Program.  The books are always available for check-out in our over 100 US Air Force libraries around the world. The 2011 list was selected with an eye to titles that were available electronically.

    The Air Force, along with all military services, has a high number of deployments and our Airmen are often on the go.  Having titles available in downloadable format as well as the traditional formats makes it easier for our Airmen to learn about leadership, military heritage and military strategy.  There’s something for everyone – from Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Relin to Cyber War by Richard A. Clarke and Robert Knake.

    When the 14 title CSAF list was released in January, we bought all nine titles offered by OverDrive. So our customers could find this new collection easily, OverDrive staff added a special category for the CSAF books, front and center on our landing page.

    We also asked OverDrive to work with the publishers of the remaining titles on a case by case basis – to date, one has agreed to add their title in EPUB format for us. We’re using  the OverDrive Reports function to closely monitor waiting lists. One of our reference librarians designed a brochure template for all libraries to customize and hand out to their customers with library holdings – and information on how to sign up for an OverDrive account.   We’re adding more customers daily and when they join to read the CSAF books, we hope they’ll stick around to enjoy our other titles.  Time, and the Reports function, will tell.

    Melinda M. Mosley is administrative librarian for US Air Force libraries.


    5 reasons why libraries should not use ebooks … yet

    SkynetThat’s the tile of an article from Banned Library. Here are the reasons, details in the article:

    1. Most libraries will not have the tech support to handle every device

    2. Most libraries will not have the tech to support the service

    3. The ebook industry is constantly changing

    4. The patrons that use ereaders the most use the library the least

    5. Skynet, man.


    HarperCollins to libraries: What?

    A report on MobyLives Monday noted that HarperCollins had announced it was limited the circulation of its ebooks by libraries to 26 “circulations,” and that already-under-fire-from-every-fucking-direction librarians were not too happy about this. As a result, the next day a group of librarians announced a boycott of HarperCollins, centralized at this website. As the site explains, “Until this policy is revoked, join us by not buying any new books or ebooks published by HarperCollins or any of its imprints.” What’s more, it asks patrons and librarians to “support your local library if it chooses to participate in the boycott and write a letter to HarperCollins explaining your actions.” When will the boycott end? “… as soon as HarperCollins agrees not to limit the number of times a library can loan each ebook.”

    Yesterday HarperCollins issued an “open letter” to librarians saying that, well, it wasn’t going to back down. According to the statement,

    We spent many months examining the issues before making this change. We talked to agents and distributors, had discussions with librarians, and participated in the Library Journal e-book Summit and other conferences. Twenty-six circulations can provide a year of availability for titles with the highest demand, and much longer for other titles and core backlist. If a library decides to repurchase an e-book later in the book’s life, the price will be significantly lower as it will be pegged to a paperback price point. Our hope is to make the cost per circulation for e-books less than that of the corresponding physical book. In fact, the digital list price is generally 20% lower than the print version, and sold to distributors at a discount.

    We invite libraries and library distributors to partner with us as we move forward with these new policies.

    A report at the Christian Science Monitor, meanwhile, noted that a few librarians “said some cap wasn’t unreasonable,” just that “a cap of 26 seemed arbitrarily low, that the books should be discounted if their use was so severely limited, and that librarians, not corporations, should decide when to weed the collection.”

    And then there’s the fact that MacMillan and Simon & Schuster don’t sell ebooks to libraries at all ….


    Library Users, Librarians, and Libraries Boycott HarperCollins Over Change in Ebook Terms

    IndexFrom LISNews: Librarian News:


    New York, NY — Library users, librarians, and libraries have begun to
    boycott publisher HarperCollins over changes to the terms of service
    that would limit the ability of library users to borrow ebooks from
    libraries. A new website, BoycottHarperCollins.com, is helping to
    organize their efforts to get HarperCollins to return to the previous
    terms of service.

    On February 24, Steve Potash, the Chief Executive Officer of
    OverDrive, sent an email to the company’s customers — primarily US
    libraries — announcing that some of the ebooks they get from
    OverDrive would be disabled after they had circulated 26 times. Soon
    after, librarians learned that it was HarperCollins, a subsidiary of
    News Corporation (NWSA), that intended to impose these limits.
    Immediately, library users, librarians, and libraries began voicing
    their opposition to the plan by HarperCollins, with several library
    users and librarians urging a boycott.

    As Joe Atzberger, of Columbus, Ohio, one of the first librarians to
    address the issue, wrote on his Atzblog
    “The previous model already forced libraries to pretend a digital
    ‘copy’ was a single physical thing. Only one library’s user can have
    it ‘checked out’ at a time. And only on one device. The clearly
    misapplied language around this tells you what a terrible idea it is.
    To be clear, this model eliminates almost all the major advantages of
    the item’s being digital, without restoring the permanence,
    durability, vendor-independence, technology-neutrality, portability,
    transferability, and ownership associated with the physical version.”

    Information on this grassroots campaign can be reached via a website
    that went online on February 27, 2011, BoycottHarperCollins.com. The
    boycott will end as soon as HarperCollins agrees not to limit the
    number of times a library can loan each ebook.

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