GoodEreader has reported that a technical bug which prevented Amazon Kindle ebooks being made available on OverDrive has been resolved. Overdrive is currently the only ebook provider which has an agreement with Amazon to provide ebooks in Kindle format.
In December a glitch hit the Overdrive system that prevented the delivery of ebooks in Kindle format. Small press and self-published titles were available, but hundreds of bestsellers from major publishers were not. GoodEreader liased with libraries and patrons and contacted OverDrive to alert them of the problem; who have since resolved the issue attributing it to a technical bug. However there has been some speculation that there may have been a contract dispute between the two corporations, while the terms of the agreement were being renegotiated.
An excellent article at Inside Higher Ed suggests librarians need to exercise some caution when moving from print preferred to digital collections. Librarian Daniel Goldstein touches on many issues previously raised by this blog and the need for “e-book ownership to be more closely equivalent to ownership of a physical book than is currently the case”.
He concludes that “we need to renegotiate the way libraries operate in the e-book marketplace so that they can fulfill their unique and irreplaceable functions while also ensuring that publishers and authors receive their due. It will be expensive, if we can ever get there. Books will cost more and libraries will have to develop the infrastructure needed to host, preserve and deliver the books they acquire”.
OverDrive have announced that they will be discontinuing the sale of audiobooks in the WMA format, making all audibooks available in a DRM-Free MP3 format. The change will allow Overdrive to able to add the titles to the catalog quickly and then resell them to libraries, without a lull period of manually adding encryption.
The Overdrive press release is available here and the decision has also been discussed on the Good-Ereader blog.
An opinion piece from Wayne Bivens-Tatum published by Library Journal last week, considers a future for ebooks that could be good for both libraries and publishers. It considers the problems and unsustainability of patron driven acquisition and short term loans for both publishers and libraries. It also considers some of the difficulties with consortium purchasing, citing the Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA) as an example.
His two previous posts, linked to in the first paragraph are also worth reading.
More than 800,000 ebooks were borrowed from New Zealand libraries in 2013, up from about 350,000 in 2012. Meanwhile the total number of books issued fell by four percent to just over 48 million.
New Zealand libraries started to invest in digital books in 2011 when 40 locations started to deal with Overdrive in metropolitan areas such as Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. At the same time, a local initiative developed by library and educational book supplier Wheelers implemented its own system homegrown e-book lending service with Tauranga and Hamilton library districts.
Goodereader and Radio New Zealand both reported on this story.
BiblioBoard has announced a new program to offer bestselling independent and self-published e-books for library lending on a multi-user model. Dubbed the “Indie Rock Stars” module, the program will launch with the participation of some 50 authors, and will include at least 18 New York Times bestselling books and more than 30 award-winning novels.
Biblioboard is one of the few companies that currently allows subscribing libraries to offer patrons unlimited, multi-user access. Most e-book providers currently use the “one copy, one user” digital lending model for libraries.
The full article is available at Publishers Weekly. Thanks to ALIA, who included this in their weekly newsletter.
Simon & Schuster has recently announced that it will allow libraries to opt into the ‘Buy it Now’ program. The publisher began offering all of its ebook titles for library lending in June 2014, with libraries required to display a ‘Buy it Now’ link, which allows library users to purchase titles directly from the publisher rather than check it out from the library.
The American Library Association President Coutrney Young has welcome the announcement:
“We appreciate that Simon & Schuster is modifying its library ebook program to provide libraries a choice in whether or not to participate in Buy It Now. Providing options like these allow libraries to enable digital access while also respecting local norms or policies.
The full press release on the ALA website is available here.
A follow up article from Inside Higher Ed about Adode Reader’s recent ‘data breach’. Adobe have updated Adobe Digital Editions to version 4.0.1 which now encrypts the information its ebook and PDF reader collects about users.
In the article, Carl Straumsheim argues that the recent patch to address that privacy issue has spawned a new problem for librarians and readers who ‘no longer know how they are being monitored’.
Andromeda Yeltonn foreshadowed this problem in an earlier article, noting that ‘With ebooks, … the technology we have to put in place to enforce [digital rights management] and contractual requirements requires a fair amount of surveillance of infrastructure.”
Nate Holffender believes Adobe should not be applauded for satisfying the ‘bare minimum’ requirements set by privacy laws and basic standards of conduct. It also remains unclear how Amazon is using the encrypted data to track individual library users reading habits.
Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) is a reading app used by many libraries and readers around the world to access and read ebooks.
Adobe has come under recent scrutiny for tracking users in the app and uploading their data to servers. The plain text transmission of data was first reported Oct. 7 presumably stretches back as far as the release of ADE 4.0 in early September.
The American Libraries Association President Courtney Young stated in a press release
People expect and deserve that their reading activities remain private, and libraries closely guard the confidentiality of library users’ records… The unencrypted online transmission of library reader data is not only egregious, it sidesteps state laws around the country that protect the privacy of library reading records. Further, this affects more than library users; it is a gross privacy violation for ALL users of Adobe Digital Editions 4.”
This was followed by a statement from the Canadian Library Association.
Michael Kelley has published an article on Publishers Weekly ‘How Libraries Preserve E-books’, which picks up on many ideas previously discussed by this blog. Robert Wolven, associate university librarian for bibliographic services and collection development at Columbia University is quoted:
‘preservation is the global warming issue for e-books… everyone knows that if we don’t do something now we’ll be in trouble later’.
The article discusses some of the issues faced by libraries with negotiating perpetual accessed to licensed content. The article also considers how digital rights management technology and proprietary e-book formats can make preservation difficult.
Legal deposit for e-books and electronic serials would be a step forward in facilitating ebooks. Currently the US mandates that only electronic only serial publications be deposited at the Library of Congress, with no similar requirement for ebooks. This is problematic with the increasing amount of born digital ebook only titles and with the proliferation of self published e-books entering the market.