ALA welcomes Simon & Schuster change to Buy It Now program

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.

Adobe Reader under fire for data breach

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.

The Digital Reader has critisiced Adobe’s responses as being in adequate. Adobe claims that sending a user’s reading logs in this form meets the standards of Adobe’s privacy policy. The dispute highlights some of the difficulties in setting standards for DRM and readers privacy.

Simon & Schuster eBooks available on US Overdrive

The Simon & Schuster ebook catalogue will soon be available to U.S public libraries using Overdrive. Libraries that wish to offer Simon & Schuster ebook titles must have a ‘buy it now’ option on the page alongside borrow or place a hold.

According to the Overdrive blog post:

“With Library BIN, your library will earn a content credit equal to 50 percent of the retail markup for titles purchased from the OverDrive-hosted referral page. The content credit will be applied to your OverDrive Marketplace account for future orders”.

Simon & Schuster publish ebooks by many popular authors. This agreement will offer U.S library patrons a greater choice of titles for ebook loan.

ALIA E-lending Report 2014

The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) has released the E-lending Landscape Report 2014. ALIA commissioned Brussels-based Civic Agenda to produce a worldwide elending landscape report, identifying public library-led initatives to secure ebooks for borrowers.

Australian public libraries have experienced great difficulty in obtaining ebooks for elending and finding a platform which will meet the desired criteria:

  • A secure, trusted repository that contains ebooks from the big publishers, as well as from authors direct, and from local publishers
  • Content procured at a fair price
  • Providing access to local history content
  • Library branded
  • Providing content that can be accessed from all sorts of devices
  • With a clever discovery layer
  • The options of loan or buy.

The report on elending platform developments internationally is intended to help identify practical solutions for Australian public libraries. It includes a list of conclusions and options available for Australian Public Libraries to consider when purchasing electronic material.

New York Library Director calls for libraries to buy ‘fair use’ books

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 Oberlin Group Statement on Ebooks & Libraries

The Oberlin Group, a consortium of 80 US liberal arts colleges, has published a statement calling for academic libraries to reject licensing restrictions with publishers which prevent libraries sharing e-books via interlibrary loans.

When libraries ‘purchase or rent material we cannot share with citizens beyond our campus borders, we turn our backs on a great strength of the academy—the ability to build complementary collections and share them in good faith with researchers and the community of readers’. The Group also calls for libraries and publishers to work together ‘in making good scholarly literature available to everybody who needs it’.

The full statement is available here

CILIP: strict limits on library ebook lending must end

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.