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.
Helen Leesh, librarian and co-chair of Shelf Free, has published an advocacy letter ‘Amazon we want to talk to you about Kindle Unlimited’ on the Chartered Institute of Library Professionals Website.
The article raises some interesting points, especially regarding the possibility of Amazon and public libraries working in partnership. This would allow public libraries to provide access to more new release/bestseller ebook titles and provide Amazon with the opportunity to act as a community partner and to reach new customers.
Another interesting article from the Chronicle of Education –College Libraries Push Back as Publishers Raise Some E-Book Prices.
The article explores a number of problems with the current ebook lending model already noted by this blog. This includes the rapidly increasing subscription prices charged by academic ebook vendors – including for short term loans, and limitations placed on interlibrary loans.
It also discusses the efforts of consortium groups such as the Boston Library Consortium, The Oberlin Group and the Orbis Cascade Alliance in negotiating licensing agreements with academic publishers to get a better deal for college libraries.
The Chronicle of Higher Education has published a letter to the editor by Susan Stearns, Executive Director of the Boston Library Consortium, and John Unsworth, President Elect of the Boston Library Consortium. The authors have expressed their frustration over the increased subscription prices for academic ebook titles for the 2015 fiscal year:
“In the BLC program, publishers charge libraries for ebooks based on a model that combines payment for short-term use of a title by a student or researcher with the purchase of the title after a few short-term uses. In this way, libraries pay full price for an ebook that meets the needs of multiple readers, and pay a fractional price for ebooks that are of use to only one or two people. This month the BLC was surprised to learn that a number of the publishers in this program planned immediate, significant, and unexplained increases in price”.
The authors cite the significant price inflation for electronic scientification journals as problematic, as it has far surpassed any increase in library acquisitions funding. BLC fears academic ebook pricing could go the same way, making subscriptions increasingly expensive to retain.
The European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations (EBLIDA) has created an online petition on change.org for the right to e-read. The petition seeks to give users the right to e-read by legalizing the lending of e-books from by libraries.
Specifically, EBLIDA wants:
– To provide our library users with the latest e-books as we do printed books;
– To buy e-books at fair prices and on reasonable terms;
– All citizens – not just those who can afford it – to benefit from free access to e-books in libraries;
– Authors to receive fair remuneration for the lending of e-books to the public.
EBLIDA is calling for the EU Commission to introduce a European copyright framework that is fit for purpose and allows libraries to acquire and lend e-books with an adequate remuneration to authors and other rights holders. The petition can be signed here
Claire Kelly’s interview with Richard Naylor, Director of the William K. Sanford Town Library in Loundonville New York, is worth a read.
Naylor is encouraging libraries to only purchase ‘fair use’ ebooks, which are bought at retail price and without time limitations. He also expresses concern about overcoming the high cost of building collections of ebooks, where major titles cost 200-300% of retail price and expire after one or two years. His ‘Best of the Small Press’ list contains only well reviewed fair trade books. Like many others, Naylor is hoping the ‘Big 5’ publishers and libraries can eventually agree upon a system ‘that helps meet our mission of education and cultural enrichment without hurting publishers or book stores’.
The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (UK) has called for the end of stringent lending limitations on ebooks through public libraries.
Of the six major trade publishers in the UK, only three (HarperCollins, Random House and Hachette) offer ebooks to public libraries. Research conducted by Shelf Free in 2013 found that 85% of ebooks were not available to public libraries. Out of the top 50 most borrowed adult fiction books of 2012, only 7 were made available by publishers for libraries to lend electronically.
The full press release is available here.