Tuesday, October 2, 2012

eBooks and Libraries

A delegation from the American Library Association (ALA) met with publishers at the Association of American Publishers (AAP) conference last week.  The biggest positive I see from it is that there is still a willingness to talk about solutions for libraries to provide ebooks to their patrons.

Here is a re-cap of the meeting from the ALA president, Maureen Sullivan.

I still wonder what will be the outcome of all the sturm und drang of libraries "giving away" the intellectual property created by the big publisher's authors.  Public libraries have for scores of years purchased and loaned books.  The publisher's position is, of course, the exact tack that the RIAA and big music industry companies took with the intellectual property of their artists and what happened?  Someone else <cough>Apple<cough> came in and took their business away.

I wonder if big publishers have missed the boat in the same way the music industry did?  Projects like this one in California, this one in Colorado, and this one in Houston Texas show a strong desire on the part of libraries to strike out on their own.  The world of publishing is much larger than the so-called "Big 6" publishers which includes the likes of Penguin, HarperCollins, and Hachette.  In the coming 2-3 years, these projects will prove their worth or something else will come along to provide the service.  Libraries continue the shift more and more toward providing services rather than dispensing "things", be that books, DVDs, or something else.

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