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.

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

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.

Book Industry Collaborative Council’s final report

The Book Industry Collaborative Council’s final report [7.16 MB] has been published on the website of Senator Kim Carr, Minister for Industry and Innovation. Copies of the report are also available from the websites of the Australian Publishers Association and the Australian Booksellers Association. Amongst other things it recommends the establishment of a permanent industry body, the Book Industry Council of Australia.

This report includes the final report of the Lending Rights Expert Reference Group, which was tasked with developing principles of supply of e-books to libraries, and a framework of digital lending rights as an extension of existing lending rights schemes. This is pages 180 – 203 of the report.

The report proposes eight general principles of supply of e-books to libraries, including availability of titles, continuity of access, fair remuneration for authors, fair prices for libraries, and device neutrality.

The report also makes recommendations for next steps, to maintain the momentum of work carried out by the LRERG, including working with industry and government to implement the proposals.

Cory Doctorow on libraries and e-books

Writing in Locus Magazine, author Cory Doctorow gives a brief by well-written account of the frustrations experienced by libraries in procuring e-books, and argues that publishers should treat libraries like neutral parties or even allies, rather than a captive market to be exploited.

Cory Doctorow: Libraries and E-books – Locus Online, also published in the September 2013 issue of Locus

FAIFE comments on IFLA e-lending thinkpiece

Libraries, e-lending and the future of public access to digital content. Comments from FAIFE-perspective – by Philippe Colomb, Hermann Rösch, Amélie Vallotton Preisig.

IFLA’s Committee on Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression comments on the the thinkpiece “Libraries, e-lending and the future of public access to digital content“, prepared by Civic Agenda for IFLA in November 2012.

Struggling to satisfy demand: the reality of the public library ebook marketplace reflected in usage data from a selection of public libraries

Struggling to satisfy demand: the reality of the public library ebook marketplace reflected in usage data from a selection of public libraries – Matt Weaver, Board Member of Library Renewal. Posted March 18, 2013.

This paper examines ebook lending data from 5 US public library systems using Overdrive from January 2011 to June 2012. It finds that:

  • clients’ acquisition of ereader devices drives their use of ebooks in libraries, particularly during the holiday period
  • slightly more than half of all checkouts were of titles from those Big Six publishers who made their content available through Overdrive
  • ebooks currently contribute a small percentage of libraries’ overall circulation figures
  • the majority of library patrons do not currently borrow ebooks, and up to 17% of patrons who registered to use Overdrive never borrowed an ebook

The paper goes on to conclude that:

The present ecosystem for ebooks in libraries does not represent a value for our members. While competitors to Overdrive have emerged, this competitive environment does not drive prices down, as prices are controlled not by vendors, but by publishers. Without the ability to own ebook content and migrate collections between vendors, then libraries cannot benefit from the arrival of new competitors in the marketplace. In the end, library ebook collections will remain fleeting, bound to vendors; and not only expensive to acquire, but also to sustain. An environment in which access to as broad a range of content as possible is secured for patrons, and affordable to libraries, will not emerge out of the current environment

DAZL report – ebook project environmental scan

DAZL Report: Arizona State Libraries – by Carson Block Consulting Inc, August-September 2012

As part of planning a statewide ebook service (Digital Arizona Library), Arizona State Library commissioned Carson Block Consulting Inc to produce this technological environmental scan, based around the model for ebook collection and e-lending developed by Douglas County Libraries in Colorado.

The paper includes discussion and analysis of the Douglas County model as it works for Douglas County Libraries, Marmot Library Network, and the Califa Consortium. This includes detail about:

  • key technological elements of the Douglas County model
  • technological resources supporting the Douglas County model
  • which technological elements are mission critical or optional
  • which public libraries and entities are known to be following the Douglas County model
  • strategies, successes and challenges experienced by those using the model
  • estimated costs incurred by some libraries implementing the model

Ebooks and elending issues paper – ALIA

The Australian Library and Information Association produced their Ebooks and elending issues paper to be a foundation for discussion about ebooks to be held at the ALIA Information Online conference in February 2013, and a library summit in March 2013.

The paper summarises the current ebooks and elending environment in Australia, and outlines the issues facing Australian libraries. This includes discussing how libraries support the book industry, the current situation in ebook supply in Australia, including the difference between academic and trade publishing, and four themes of current issues:

  • Content – including refusal to supply, and collection development issues
  • Procurement – including issues around flexible or inflexible business models, ownership, consortia and fair dealing
  • Operations – including integrating ebooks into the larger library systems, interoperability, reporting and analytics, and lending rights schemes
  • Lending and access – including barriers to access, DRM, inter-library lending and open access

The paper may undergo more iterations leading up to having a final version to share with government, industry and policy makers by April 2013.