ATG Hot Topic of the Week: eBooks

by Jonathan H. Harwell, Rollins College 

The Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library, in partnership with Library Renewal, has launched a petition drive for e-books.  They’re trying to convince certain publishers to sell e-books to libraries, and for other publishers to make their pricing and sales models more library-friendly.  Here’s how they’re calling them out:

  • Penguin recently ended ebook lending to public libraries.
  • HarperCollins has a 26-checkout limit on each ebook … and then the library has to buy it again.
  • Random House allows unrestricted access to ebooks, but recently raised prices – in some cases tripling them.
  • Macmillan, Simon & Schuster and Hachette don’t sell ebooks to libraries at all.

The petition is online at http://ebooksforlibraries.com/ (the source of the bulleted items above).  The goal is 10,000 signatures, and there are 5137 so far.

Meanwhile, Colorado’s Douglas County Libraries have been building it so they will come.  Not a baseball diamond, but an e-book and music portal, where they’ve purchased and are hosting all of the content.  They only have 800(!) publishers on board so far…other publishers and libraries are also lining up to try their hand at this model.  BoingBoing has the scoop, including a video that shows off the snazzy interface.

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