IDATE study of commercial availability of digital books to French public libraries

The French Ministry of Culture and Communication commissioned a report from consulting company IDATE on e-book lending in French public libraries, to promote discussions about e-lending in French libraries, and review possible future directions and trends. The report is the result of a literature review and interviews with nearly forty experts from a number of targeted countries, conducted between June 2012 and February 2013. An English-language summary of the report is available, but the full report is available in French only.

The report surveys the current e-lending situation in Sweden, the UK, Germany, Spain, North America and the Netherlands, and compares these with the current situation in France. If found that:

  • E-book lending is comparatively rare in French public libraries, although the proportion of e-book titles available to French libraries is greater than in some other countries, and e-lending is much more established in Anglo-Saxon countries
  • No single model for e-lending exists, and models are still being developed
  • The relationship between e-books, publishers, and aggregators is critical to how e-lending can be implemented

IDATE also makes a number of recommendations for establishing a balanced e-lending framework, including:

  • Finding a middle ground for the use of DRM
  • The publishing sector should provide a “coherent offer” of e-books, which should include recent titles
  • Economic models should not be standardised while the market is still in development
  • Consortia licensing should be allowed
  • Statistical data should be shared between publishers and libraries
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LIANZA E-book Issues Paper

The LIANZA Standing Committee on Digital Content and e-Lending produced their E-book Issues Paper in October 2013. The paper gives an overview of the current e-book situation in New Zealand libraries (including some information on tertiary, school and special libraries, as well as public libraries), the broader strategic work being undertaken in New Zealand around libraries and e-books, and international advocacy work, initiatives and research.

The paper also includes information on the e-book platforms being used by public libraries in New Zealand, 2012 data on e-books in academic libraries, and results from a 2013 survey on e-books in libraries in New Zealand Crown Research Institutes.

Tender for Library Authorities to join UK e-lending pilots

The Society of Chief Librarians and the Publisher’s Association have released an invitation to tender titled Testing the impact of e-lending both on-site and remotely upon the Public Library and Publishing sectors.

One of the recommendations of the Sieghart review of library e-lending in the UK was that a series of pilots be constructed to test remote e-lending, based on one user-one copy, and that copy would deteriorate after an agreed number of loans. The pilots are intended to provide publishers, authors, agents and libraries with an evidence base to assess what happens to lending and purchasing behaviour in those areas.

The SCL and PA appointed research and strategy consultancy MTM London to design the pilot projects in August 2013.

The current tender calls for Library Authorities to participate in the pilots. Four authorities will participate, one each that:

  • represents a largely rural population and will loan e-books for 7 days
  • represents a largely rural population and will loan e-books for 21 days
  • represents a largely metropolitan population and will loan e-books for 7 days
  • represents a largely metropolitan population and will loan e-books for 21 days

Each participating authority will be required to purchase a pre-agreed set of approximately 1,000 titles, made up of front- and back-list titles from major publishers, prominent UK authors and new titles as they are published.

As well as meeting the standard requirements from publishers and platform providers, the participating authorities will be required to include a ‘click to buy’ button for all titles included in the project.

Participating authorities will be required to report on the changes in physical and e-lending habits of clients during the pilot. The pilots are intended to run for 12 months to December 2014.