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eBook Availability

(Libraries, News, Books, Reading, National Media, Audiovisual) Permanent link

The availability of e-books through public libraries is ever changing.

Libraries, including KPL, offer downloadable e-books through a vendor–OverDrive. Publishers offer their titles to OverDrive, libraries purchase titles in e-book format through OverDrive, patrons download e-books to their device through their home library using the OverDrive technology.

Three of the major publishers have not allowed their titles to be purchased by public libraries through OverDrive: Macmillian, Simon & Schuster, and Hachette. Just this week, Penguin announced they too will no longer offer their titles in downloadable format for public libraries to purchase. (Read more)

With this move, Random House is the only big-six publisher allowing unrestricted access to its e-books through libraries. HarperCollins does work with libraries, but has implemented a limit of 26 uses or checkouts of the title before it must be “repurchased.”

If you don’t find a particular e-book title available for download though our catalog, quite likely it is from a publisher who will not sell to public libraries.

The American Library Association is continuing to talk with publishers about the future of e-book availability for lending through libraries. We, along with the entire library community, share your frustrations with this ever changing e-book situation, both the availability of titles and the process of downloading to various devices. Stay tuned.

Some recent articles...




Posted by Ann Rohrbaugh at 02/10/2012 03:26:12 PM | 

thanks so much for the update Ann.
I think the director from Douglas County says it best: "I can say that based on my numbers of what we have seen from our ‘Buy Now’ links within our catalogs, that from January 1 to January 23 we had 10,000 people that clicked on the ‘Buy Now’ links..."
She answers the cold "bottom line" thinking with the cold hard facts that librarians have known since day one: we promote books and reading.
Posted by: Matt S ( Email ) at 2/10/2012 3:09 PM

Quote from the Feb. 10 Library Journal article related to issue: '“We want to insure that customers who have typically been book buyers do not migrate their purchasing into borrowing as accessibility to our books becomes frictionless,” as Alison Lazarus, the president of sales for Macmillan, previously told LJ. “This would imperil our retailers, wholesalers, authors and ourselves and would ultimately be detrimental to libraries,” she said."
Posted by: Jennifer C ( Email ) at 2/10/2012 3:22 PM

thanks for providing that quote.
It seems to me that library ebook borrowing is by no means "frictionless" (hopefully it will be in the future, but it looks like Penguin is trying to add even more friction for kindle users).
And of course there still is the same friction that there's always been with borrowing communities: (a) you have to become a member (b)the library will only buy so many ebooks so we might not have it or you'll have to wait (c) you can't keep the stuff. These same principles apply.
Not to mention the good side of "frictionless" in terms of promoting books, as evidenced by the numbers above (all the people clicking on buy now). I also bet that library members tend to not pirate ebooks (illegal download), which is a real problem.
In the end, I hope it comes down to a fair balancing of interests in the spirit of democracy as I'm sure it will.
Posted by: Matt S ( Email ) at 2/10/2012 5:17 PM

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