Some predictions from John D. Riley (BUSCA, Inc.) www.buscainc.com
(Included in his upcoming Library Marketplace article in November 2010 ATG, v.22#5, which will be distributed at the 2010 Charleston Conference
- All books published before 1923, the copyright free books, will all be free online. Once they are on the internet they can’t be controlled. Think what that will mean for the rare book trade and for interlibrary loan. Free ebooks will revolutionize the out of print market, but there will still be demand for print copies, just more inexpensive ones. Truly rare books may become even more valuable, but will be considered museum artifacts.
- The “Orphan books” that have been scanned by Google will not be a significant addition to the literature. The period between 1923 and let’s say 1960 was not an era of massive numbers of published books. The worthwhile ones are already in reprint. There’s a reason the others are orphans.
- Because of the advances in Print on Demand all books will be available in dual editions print and e. Ebooks will be a way to see if you actually want a print copy.
- Ebooks will continue to come down in price. The last high priced ones are science and technical publications and they are morphing into databases anyway, searchable by keywords and topics. Pay per view seems to be the way they will go. Why own them?
- Vendors will have to concentrate on value added services to survive. With more staff cuts coming in libraries vendors have an obvious role to play. Handling rights and licensing could become a growth area for vendors.
- Libraries will become “just in time” providers of information, whether ebooks or print books delivered from off site or by inter library loan or by a device such as the Espresso book machine.
- Colleges and universities will be under enormous pressure to offer more courses online and at a lower cost. The library will morph into an information creating center as well as a provider of information.
- The internet will go away and will be seen for the fad that really was…just checking to see if you were paying attention.