Ignore the silly title (references to Breaking Bad are about its success on Netflix and the applicability of Netflix’s access model to books).  This is an excellent presentation of key points by knowledgeable players in the book market and library world today.   A lot of the same issues are starting to confront us with regard to streaming media. Key points seem to be that patron driven access (for books that’s something like FReading) is great if its success is paradoxically kept modest, and that publishers are realizing library users are book buyers, not market cannibals (but they never seemed to doubt this in the print world, right?)  As usual, the future’s both disturbing and comforting depending on whose point you want to latch onto.

 

 

The eBooks of Sue Grafton’s earlier alphabet series (Penguin or Random House published everything after P) are now available to the library market thanks to a recent decision by Macmillan to expand its available catalog to include the Holt and Metropolitan imprints. This is just for starters. There are a lot of other great books that no doubt will soon be requested.

 

"B" is for burglar "C" is for corpse

 

This article from Digital Shift covers the views and reactions of several key library personnel and advocates to the new subscription services I mentioned yesterday. It sounds like their offerings are heavy on self-published and public domain works, at least for now.

Here’s a quote:

As surveys by LJ and others has shown, regular library users tend to read many more books each year than the average U.S. consumer. They borrow more, buy more, and use e-readers more frequently. For now, [Massachusetts Library System Small Libraries Advisor] Chadwick said she thinks that these new subscription services will likely fold into many users’ reading habits without an adverse effect on libraries.

 

I hope that’s right.

 

 

It seems the latest development in the evolution of the eBook market is the subscription service – basically offering subscribers a large selection (hundreds of thousands of titles) for a monthly fee, with unlimited reading time for whatever title you can find.  Three players have jumped on the scene: Scribd, Oyster, and (naturally) Kindle Unlimited.  Limiting factors for these new services include lack of publisher cooperation and the fact that they tend not to get the real frontlist.  That is understandable, as the services’ low cost model prevent them from compensating publishers and authors sufficiently to carry the hottest new titles. Read here for more information.

Lately, popular authors and their publishers have been releasing novellas and other short, sometimes even experimental, works exclusively as eBook singles.  A good example that a librarian brought to my attention today was J. A. Jance’s Joanna Brady novella called The Old Blue Line, coming out next month only in eBook format.  There is no promising sign on the horizon that this content is coming to print any time soon, unfortunately.  At the moment it is also not available for us to purchase in OverDrive and 3M, but titles may appear later in them close to or after the publication date.

Here’s a link to a Forbes article  from last year that explains an economic motive for doing electronic only publication for shorter works. If you’re a glass half full kind of person, you might note that the likely alternative would be no availability at all for these, but that’s probably little consolation to the tantalized print reader and/or library borrower.

 

According to a study analyzed by Publisher’s Weekly, eBooks’ share of the total market actually dipped a bit between the first and second quarters of this year, after a rocket rise in previous years.  This could be a plateau on the way to further heights or this format may have settled at last.

In the coming year, we are investing significantly to develop more fully our e-collections, especially 3M, the new kid on the block.  This could include some retrospective development as well as keeping up with current frontlist demand.  We have spread out the selection of these so it is not falling all on one person.  The best way to “SINC” a title, however, is to go ahead and use the recommendation and wishlist features within OverDrive and 3M.  A recommend-to-library title in OverDrive is also much like a RINC, with an automatic notice for the recommending customer.  The ease and speed with which we can obtain electronic titles, assuming of  course they are available in the first place, is gratifying for all, and they will never be lost or damaged.  Romance readers seem to have taken especially to eBooks, which is a good thing because the print versions sometimes have a short life even if we can get them in print.   I welcome feedback particularly about the 3M display shelves, over which we have total control, but please remind customers this isn’t the whole collection!

A big thank you to all of you in the branches that help connect users to these resources every day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Libraries and E-books

September 4, 2013

Cory Doctorow, blogger, journalist and science fiction author wrote Cory Doctorow: Libraries and E-booksin Locus online.

In this online perspective he wrote that he attended the ALA convention in June.

While I was in Chicago, I sat down with some of the ALA strategists to talk about how libraries are getting a raw deal on e-books. When libraries want to buy an e-book from the publisher, they find themselves paying as much as five times the price you or I pay for the same book. Literally – librarians are paying $60-80, and sometimes more, to include current release frontlist titles in their collections. Each of these e-books can only be lent to one patron at a time, which means that libraries are sometimes buying a dozen – or more – of these overpriced text-files.

ALA has launched a program called Authors for Library E-books  seeking to add author voices to those of librarians and readers in support of equitable access to digital content through libraries.  Doctorow suggests that authors join him in supporting this.

-Posting authored by Lorraine Burdick

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