In a slight break with tradition, this week we have two articles of the week! Admittedly, they both appear in the same issue of the Maine Policy Review that focuses on libraries and information, however, they represent far different viewpoints on an issue that is important to all of us. The articles are by Tom Allen, President and CEO of the Association of American Publishers and Maureen Sullivan, Past President of ALA and both focus on the purchase and lending of eBooks by libraries.
As you can imagine, Maureen Sullivan does not share these views. She points out in Libraries and Book Publishers that by using varying business models publishers add confusion, “complicating the library purchase of e-books” noting that “each of the big six publishers uses a different model, and Simon & Schuster’s model is to not sell to libraries at all.” And then she goes on to complain about lending and content restrictions as well as the inflated pricing in these various models. However, she does mentions some hopeful signs as publishers and librarians have held meetings that “have been frank, cordial, and productive discussions that have fostered greater understanding of the challenges.”
We suspect that you will find yourself nodding in agreement with some of the arguments being made in both articles. However, despite the publisher/librarian meetings alluded to in Ms. Sullivan’s article, we are left wondering if there are compromise solutions that will accommodate the needs of both publishers and librarians. We’d love to know what you think? So after you’ve had a chance to read both articles, feel free to comment.