From the Director
Library news and happenings.
I have often written here about opportunities as well as limitations for ebook use through public libraries. Now I want to call your attention to two ebook features on our website.
First is a short video (1 minute 14 seconds) explaining publisher limitations on ebook availability through public libraries. Along with the video is an online petition to make your voice heard. I urge you to watch the video and sign the petition. You’ll find links on our home page and on our eBooks page.
Second is a Pew research study about ebook use. The results of this study will help libraries and publishers better understand the use of ebooks through libraries and, I am hoping, strengthen the library argument for ebook availability. I urge you to complete this brief survey. There’s a link on our eBooks page.
Ebooks lending through public libraries is an evolving service for us, an evolving market for publishers. Let your voice be heard, your opinion counted through this petition and research study.
Ebooks for Libraries
Many “best of” and “book winners” are announced at year-end so announcing winners at this time of year caught my attention and is probably a good marketing strategy.
The American Booksellers Association recently announced the winners of the “2012 Indies Choice Book Awards” with the following description: “after a month of voting by the owners and staff at independent bookstores across the county, we have an outstanding list of winners that reflects the types of books independent bookstores champion best.”
And the winners are….
- Adult Fiction Book of the Year: The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
- Adult Nonfiction Book of the Year: Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton
- Adult Debut Book of the Year: The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht
- Young Adult Book of the Year: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
The full list of winners, 2012 Honor Award recipients, and Most Engaging Author Awards designees are listed on their website.
Readers can support independent booksellers by purchasing these titles or any books, of course, or borrowing them from the library. Independent booksellers and public libraries are good partners in promoting books and reading.
2012 Indies Choice Book Awards
Every week is an occasion to celebrate something. This is the big week for libraries. It is National Library Week!
This annual national observance was first sponsored in 1958 by the American Library Association as a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support for all types of libraries.
Within the week, there are some special designations: Tuesday is National Library Workers Day; Wednesday is National Bookmobile Day; Support Teen Literature Day is Thursday.
We appreciate the attention this week brings to libraries and the celebrity endorsements that go with it. This year’s theme is “You Belong @ Your Library.”
Here’s a good reminder from author Brad Meltzer, honorary chair of 2012 National Library Week. Come visit this week or any week and happy National Library Week to you.
National Library Week
April is “National Poetry Month” as first designated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. The goal is to celebrate poetry and its place in American culture. Libraries, booksellers, and literary organizations highlight poetry through displays, programs, and readings.
The website of the Academy suggests thirty ways to celebrate the month, ranging from the predictable “read a book of poetry” to “integrate poetry with technology” and “visit a poetry landmark.” Their website also has a search function to locate a poem by title, poet, keyword, form or theme. That’s very handy if you vaguely remember a poem and want to locate it.
We have a large poetry collection, particularly at Central Library. Most is classified in the 811s. Some are compilations, others are the works of one poet.
And happy National Poetry Month to you.
National Poetry Month
Last week I wrote here about the evolving ebook market.
I shared that libraries were bracing for a price increase for ebooks from Random House publishers. Indeed the recent increases are double and triple the prices we had been paying. As an example, one recently released title had been $40 for the ebook version; it increased to $120 as of March 1. The print version, with the library discount, is a little over $20.
Basically, the new Random House prices for ebooks to ebook distributors, not directly to libraries are
- Titles in print as new hardcovers: $65 - $85
- Titles available for several months or timed to paperback release: $25 - $50
- New children’s titles in print as hardcovers: $35 - $85
- Older children’s titles and children’s paperbacks: $25 - $45
In spite of these hefty price increases, libraries welcome that Random House continues to offer titles in ebook format to libraries.
Again, as I wrote previously, Penguin Books are not available in ebook format to public libraries. They publish many bestsellers and we, like all libraries, regret we cannot provide them to our users.
Bottom line: please know we will continue to provide ebooks as they are available and affordable for public libraries. Some titles we cannot provide at all, due to publisher restrictions, others we may not be able to provide until several months after their initial release.
The market continues to evolve.
Most libraries, including KPL, experienced a strong increase in the circulation of ebooks after the holidays. Obviously readers were a popular holiday gift. Ebook users have learned how to download books from OverDrive through our website and many have attended our training or Q & A sessions.
In addition to titles available through the OverDrive consortium, we purchase additional copies of popular titles available to KPL resident cardholders. However patrons often ask why a particular popular title isn’t available in ebook format.
All publishers will sell us print copies, but not necessarily ebook copies. Their policies and approach vary considerably:
- Random House titles are available; they recently announced a price increase.
- HarperCollins titles are available to public libraries but each title is limited to 26 uses. The library must then renew its license for that title.
- Macmillan does not make its popular titles available; some scholarly titles are available to public libraries.
- Penguin terminated its agreement to provide to public libraries in February. Those titles already in a library’s catalog are still available.
- Simon & Schuster titles are not available.
- Hachette backlist is available, not the frontlist of new, popular titles.
- Scholastic titles are not available.
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt titles are available.
Bottom line: the availability of a popular title in ebook format through a public library depends upon the publisher. Ebook lending through public libraries is still evolving and the specifics change frequently. Be assured, however, that we continue to follow the market closely and purchase popular titles available to us. Even if we don’t have the title in ebook format, we will have it in print.
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...
- ALA, Authors Guild, 3M Weigh In on Penguin-OverDrive Dispute
(February 10, 2012, Library Journal)
- ALA responds to Penguin’s decision to discontinue digital media sales to libraries via Overdrive (February 10, 2012, American Library Association)
- Penguin Severs Ties with OverDrive
(February 9, 2012, Publishers Weekly)
- Penguin Group Terminating Its Contract with OverDrive
(February 9, 2012, Library Journal)
- Simon & Schuster, Macmillan Express Concerns About Library Ebook Lending After ‘Positive’ Talks with ALA (February 8, 2012, Library Journal)
As I have often written, each day and week has some special designation, many relevant to libraries. This week, November 13–19, is the 90th anniversary of “American Education Week.”
The goal of this designated week is to “inform the public of the accomplishments and needs of schools and to secure the cooperation and support of the public in meeting those needs.”
KPL is particularly proud of our relationship with Kalamazoo Public Schools. As I previously wrote in this blog and in our newsletter LINK, all KPS first graders recently visited one of our libraries and were given their own library card. We are now in the midst of their second visit to return the books they checked out and hopefully to begin a pattern of regular library visits.
We are now preparing for the “Global Reading Challenge,” a battle of the books type program for fourth and fifth graders; we just concluded this year’s “Youth Literature Seminar” focusing on teen literature; and, of course, we have many resources for students at all grade levels, both in print and online.
We applaud our colleagues in education and join them in supporting student learning and achievement.
American Education Week
We all need friends and KPL is fortunate to have very good ones….Friends of the Kalamazoo Public Library….and this is the week to recognize them.
October 16 – 22 is “National Friends of Libraries Week.” The description encourages “library lovers everywhere to join their local friends of the library group.” I would add to that, in the case of KPL friends, shop their bookstore on the lower level of Central Library to show your support too.
The Friends of KPL contribute $50,000 - $60,000 per year to the library, all from the proceeds from their bookstore. That represents a lot of books….most are priced from 50¢ to $2.50. As their slogan states….“gently used books, gently priced.” Our community is generous in donating books to the Friends for them to sell to benefit the library.
The Friends contribution funds our summer reading games for all ages and provides support for some signature ongoing programs: Global Reading Challenge, Reading Together, and concerts among others.
Happy “Friends of Libraries Week.” They would welcome you as member.
Friends of Kalamazoo Public Library
We will be celebrating the 30th annual Banned Books Week (BBW) with Art Hop and a Read Out on Friday evening, October 7, from 5 to 8 pm.
BBW celebrates the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. It draws attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the country.
Again, as in recent years, we are partnering with the local chapter of the ACLU to sponsor an art contest inspired by one of the six books most frequently challenged or banned. The submissions will be on display during Art Hop. The winner will be announced at the event and later posted on the KPL and ACLU websites.
In addition to the art, the Read Out will focus on read aloud passages from challenged or banned books. You might be surprised at some of them: Shel Silverstein’s A Light in the Attic, Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, to name a few.
Many authors whose books have been challenged are participating in Read Outs around the country. Authors as well as readers are raising awareness of book censorship by posting videos on YouTube of themselves reading from their favorite banned books.
Celebrate and appreciate your freedom to read whatever you want to read!
Banned Books Art Contest