Library Ebooks Lending Progress

Random HouseLast week we posted that ALA would meet with major publishers to discuss making their ebooks available in libraries.  Was there any progress?  Actually, there was.

Random House, the largest of the big six publishing firms, announced that it would sell ebooks to libraries again.  They are going to use a new model of (higher) library pricing but the ebooks won’t ever expire.  What’s implied here is a lending model based on the physical model of one checkout of an ebook at a time.  A Random House Spokesman said:

“Our commitment to libraries, as imperative to our momentum, if not to our existence as publishers, is greater than ever. The leadership of Random House grew up in large part loving libraries and we believe libraries are indispensable in bringing readers and books buyers to our authors’ works. It’s an emotional as well as a practical commitment in our support and our enthusiasm for libraries.”

An article from American Libraries made no mention of the change in policy at Random House.  It seemed most of the talks involved ALA leaders educating the publishers on ebook lending practices and trying to alleviate their fears.

In meeting with publishers who currently do not sell ebooks to libraries, we shared our profession’s concerns regarding the impact of these practices on library users, many of whom rely solely on the public library for their reading choices. In some instances, we found that there were misconceptions about how libraries operate that, once clarified, mitigated some of these publishers’ concerns. For example, some publishers had the impression that libraries lend to whomever visited their respective websites, thus making collections available virtually worldwide without restriction.

Further reading:

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