ALIA Report: Comparison of Ebooks and Elending in Australian Public Libraries

ALIA has released a new report – Comparision of Ebooks and Elending in Australian Public Libraries 2013 v 2014. Approximately one third of the 1500 public libraries in Western Australia responded to the survey.

The reports key findings included:

1. Nearly all Australian public libraries now lend ebooks; up from 69% a year ago to 97% in 2014.
2. On average, ebooks make up 5–6% of a public library’s collection.
3. In 53% of public libraries, ebooks account for less than 1% of loans, and in almost all,
they account for less than 5% of loans.
4. 60% of libraries use two or more ebook providers, up from 33% in 2013. The three most
popular providers are Bolinda, Overdrive and Wheelers.
5. Between half and two thirds of libraries are less than satisfied or not satisfied with the choice
of bestsellers, books by Australians, popular authors and overall content.
6. 71% of libraries have ebooks in their catalogue but less than a quarter of libraries (23%)
are able to offer ebooks direct from their catalogue.
7. More libraries appear to be loaning ereading devices — 23% in 2014, up from 19% in 2013.
8. Skills in public libraries have remained at a similar level, with two in every five libraries saying
most or all of their staff were conversant with ebooks and ereaders.

The full report is worth reading, as it contains some interesting comments from public library staff.

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.

Library Journal Material Survey

Library Journal has released its annual materials survey, with some interesting findings regarding ebook availablity and circulation.

Nine out of ten U.S libraries now loan ebooks. Since 2009, print book budgets have fallen in favor of ­ebook dollars, with ebooks escalating from 1% to 7% of the materials budget overall and averaging closer to 10% at the biggest libraries.

Ebook circulation has also increased 1% a year since 2011, when this survey began measuring it, but no patterns emerge by location or size. Instead, ebook success may be attributed to individual library and community dynamics.

ReadersFirst guide to library e-book vendors

ReadersFirst has released their guide to library e-book vendors. The report ranks seven major library e-book vendors against the ReadersFirst principles, and outlines best practice for the distribution of e-books.

To develop the report, ReadersFirst developed an evaluation form to be completed by vendors, which included questions about whether systems could store and index metadata, allow clients to place holds on items, send delivery notifications, provide detailed account information, and so on.

Massachusetts eBook Pilot Project

The Massachusetts Library System has launched a six-month pilot project to explore different models of e-book lending, different platforms and user experiences.

The project will see 3,000 titles being made available through Baker & Taylor’s Axis 360 service, and 30,000 (largely historical) titles made available through the BiblioBoard platform, developed by BiblioLabs. These titles will be available through a single discovery interface developed for the project. 51 libraries in Massachusetts are participating in the pilot.

Project launch press release
Project scope and timeline

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

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.

The Big Shift: Public Library Strategies for Access to Information in Any Format

OCLC received a grant from ILMS in 2012 to explore the challenges that US public libraries face in providing e-book content, and to work with library leaders to identify possible strategies for addressing these challenges – the Big Shift.

The report of this project is The Big Shift: Public Library Strategies for Access to Information in Any Format.

The report summarises the results of desktop and market research undertaken in late 2012, including:

  • An overview of the e-book ecosystem in the US, including the market share of major publishers before and after recent mergers
  • The demand for e-books in 65 of the largest 100 library systems in the US, including their current spend on e-books
  • The expected future spend on e-books in these library systems, both if supply problems stay the same, and if they were improved (the increase would double if supply limitations were removed)
  • The level of purchasing of best-selling titles in both hard-copy and e-books at these library systems
  • The likelihood (quite likely) of these library systems sharing e-book usage data with publishers, distributors and retailers

The report also summarises strategies for addressing e-book issues, developed through workshops with library leaders in 2013, which are now being actively pursued by public libraries:

  • Create NEW value in the e-book supply chain
  • Use data to articulate library value in the e-book supply chain
  • Educate about the public policy issues around e-book access
  • Develop a common narrative
  • Coordinate and administer these plans

SCL and the Publishers Association invite tenders on e-lending research project

One of the recommendations of the UK’s Sieghart review into e-lending in public libraries was:

A number of pilots in 2013 using established literary events should be set up to test business models and user behaviours, and provide a transparent evidence base: all major publishers and aggregators should participate in these pilots

In June 2013, the Society of Chief Librarians and the Publishers Association released a Request for Proposal to appoint a research agency to co-design (with SCL and PA) and evaluate a number of research pilots which will test the impact of e-lending.

The key research questions are:

  • What is the reader journey? i.e. how do library users find and access e-books?
  • What is the impact on sales?
  • What is the overall impact on library services?
  • How does an e-lending offer change the customers’ perception of library services?

The deadline for proposals was July 17.

UPDATE: The contract to develop the pilots was awarded to MTM London, a research and strategy consultancy.

ebook news roundup – Connecticut Legislation, Ohio Advocacy, Apple and pricing, ebook sales

The latest news, courtesy of twitter (#ebooks and #libraries) and and other sources…

Patrick Losinski, CEO of the Columbus Metropolitan Library and Kim Fender, Director of the Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library, recently briefed members of the Ohio Library Council with an overview of the current ebooks in libraries situation focusing on consumer access to titles.”

The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed suit last year against Apple and six e-book publishers: Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin, Pearson, and Simon & Schuster. The trial is scheduled to begin June 3 in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. Apple has denied being part of any conspiracy,…

Approximately one in five books sold were e-books, which collectively accounted for $3 billion, or also about a fifth, of all trade publishing revenue, up 44.2% from 2011