An open letter to America’s publishers from ALA President Maureen Sullivan
September 24, 2012, CHICAGO The following open letter was released by American Library Association (ALA) President Maureen Sullivan regarding Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Penguin refusal to provide access to their e-books in U.S. libraries.
The open letter states:
It’s a rare thing in a free market when a customer is refused the ability to buy a company’s product and is told its money is “no good here.” Surprisingly, after centuries of enthusiastically supporting publishers’ products, libraries find themselves in just that position with purchasing e-books from three of the largest publishers in the world. Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Penguin have been denying access to their e-books for our nation’s 112,000 libraries and roughly 169 million public library users.
Let’s be clear on what this means: If our libraries’ digital bookshelves mirrored the New York Times fiction best-seller list, we would be missing half of our collection any given week due to these publishers’ policies. The popular “Bared to You” and “The Glass Castle” are not available in libraries because libraries cannot purchase them at any price. Today’s teens also will not find the digital copy of Judy Blume’s seminal “Forever,” nor today’s blockbuster “Hunger Games” series. Continue reading An open letter to America’s publishers from ALA President Maureen Sullivan
Andrew Richard Albanese from Publisher’s Weekly wrote a very nice article about life with eBooks in public libraries. I have clipped a couple of paragraphs below. The fulltext is available on the Publisher’s Weekly site.
Discussions between libraries and the big six publishers over e-book lending have grabbed headlines in 2012, but despite cordial statements from each side about the benefits of communication, a report released this month from the American Library Association suggests the two sides remain far from a breakthrough.
“Mixed” is how Robert Wolven, associate university librarian at Columbia University, and co-chair of the ALA’s Digital Content Working Group, describes the state of affairs between libraries and publishers. “I think the discussions we’ve had demonstrate that we’re not at an impasse,” Wolven tells PW. “There are potential paths for exploration and for improving things. But there’s still a lot of work to be done.” Continue reading Life with E-Books
From an OCLC press release:
DUBLIN, Ohio, July 10, 2012The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has awarded a $99,957 grant to OCLC for a new initiative, “The Big Shift: Advancing Public Library Participation in Our Digital Future.” The purpose of the grant is to more fully understand the challenges that U.S. public libraries face in providing e-book content to borrowers, as they ensure that all Americans continue to have access to commercially produced content through their local public libraries, even as formats change.
OCLC will partner with the American Library Association (ALA) and the Public Library Association (PLA) to review the e-book landscape and jointly develop recommendations for managing the e-book environment, in order to ensure adequate public access to these emerging resources. Continue reading IMLS grant awarded to OCLC to study challenges PL face in providing eBook content
Libraries Thriving is a Collaborative Space for e-Resource Innovation and Information Literacy Promotion. Thinking and doing. I had the chance to speak with Laura Warren, Solutions Associate for Credo Reference (a supporter of Libraries Thriving) about the program. Listen to the interview here.
Here is more information about Libraries Thriving:
With low usage and shrinking budgets, libraries are challenged to justify resource investments now more than ever. At the same time, information users are ill prepared to navigate the amount and quality of content on the web. This creates a tremendous opportunity for libraries to show that they are well equipped to help users navigate information resources and for users to benefit from this guidance. Continue reading Libraries Thriving Collaborative Space, an interview with Laura Warren of Credo Reference
Congrats to everyone at Unglue.it for the first successful campaign. Here is the official press release:
Two hundred and fifty-nine supporters pledged a total of $7,578 to a campaign to “unglue” Ruth Finnegan’s 1970 classic, “Oral Literature in Africa”. The campaign, which lasted 33 days, topped the campaign’s target at 12:30AM EDT on June 20 with a little under two days to spare. As a result the book will be issued as an ebook with a Creative Commons Attribution license, opening it up to free use and reuse by scholars and readers around the world.
Unglue.it, the website that hosted the campaign, launched on May 17th with the goal of “giving ebooks to the world”. Unglue.it allows rights holders of already published books to present “ungluing campaigns”. Site members can then pledge towards making the book available as Creative Commons licensed ebooks. If the campaign meets its goal, the ebook becomes freely available to everyone. Continue reading Unglue.it celebrates the first successful campaign
Have you heard of Unglue.it? If not, read on… Unglue.it is a a place for individuals and institutions to join together to give their favorite ebooks to the world. We work with rights holders to decide on fair compensation for releasing a free, legal edition of their already-published books, under Creative Commons licensing. Then everyone pledges toward that sum. When the threshold is reached (and not before), we collect the pledged funds and we pay the rights holders. They issue an unglued digital edition; you’re free to read and share it, with everyone, on the device of your choice, worldwide.
Their first campaign has less than one week to go.
We’re up to 65% of the goal with just under 1 week to go!
The campaign for Oral Literature in Africa closes next Thursday. With the support of ungluers like you, it’s already over $4,900, almost two-thirds of its goal — but it needs more pledges and publicity to reach $7,500 before midnight EDT on June 21. Continue reading Unglue.it looking to finish it’s first campaign
Bobbi Newman, who blogs at Librarian by Day, has an excellent editorial post about current Ebook conditions in public libraries. She questions whether libraries should step back and wait for better options, quoting several other prominent bloggers on the subject. It’s an interesting thought piece from a public library perspective. The comments are just as interesting.
Here is a brief clip from the post – Should Libraries Get Out of the Ebook Business?
Or get out at least until there is a better system? I know what you are going to say, I can hear it already — “We can’t! Our patrons demand ebooks!” Except the truth is our patrons want a lot of things we can’t give them — to always be first on the waiting list for the new James Patterson, to not pay fines when their books are late, for the library to be open earlier or later, or to have a system besides Dewey because despite using it their entire lives they still cannot figure it out. When it comes to ebooks, we cannot give them what they want, not really, we cannot give them books from Simon and Schuster or MacMillian or new books from Penguin or Hatchet, and not more than 26 times from HarperCollins, and probably not many books from Random House. What we can do, what maybe we should do, is spend their tax money wisely, and I am no longer convinced that spending it on the current ebook system is a wise move.
A great article is available on the Library Renewal site – $2 BILLION FOR $1 BILLION OF BOOKS: THE ARITHMETIC OF LIBRARY E-BOOK LENDING written by Jonathan Chambers.
Here is a clip from the introductory material: Library Renewal wants to help libraries build a powerful new way to get econtent to their patrons. We envision a new infrastructure, one that is vastly improved, equitable and fairly priced (with hidden costs eliminated). In order to figure out exactly how to make something like that a reality and create an actionable plan we have been busy doing research and meeting with experts from a variety of areas. We’ve naturally talked with plenty of library folks, but we have also actively included and sought out others that have legal, business and publishing expertise. Jonathan Chambers, the author of this piece, fits that bill perfectly and has worked directly with us a great deal over the past year. Here you’ll see the sort of approach some folks working with Library Renewal are thinking about. We (both Library Renewal and Mr. Chambers) would love to hear your reactions to this post in the comments.
*note* While the pricing changes implemented very recently by Random House are not factored into the dollar amounts discussed here, that in no way changes the conclusions that are drawn in this piece. Drastic changes like what we have been seeing related to libraries and econtent are endemic to the systems currently in place. We believe that these sorts of market shifts serve to strengthen the premise that specific types of action are in order and that Library Renewal is the perfect partner for that work. Enjoy!
The following is a summary of:
RUSA/CODES Reference Publishing Discussion Forum: Life after the Statistical Abstract.
What will the proposed demise of the Statistical Abstract mean for reference librarians and library users? Now in its 130th annual edition, Statistical Abstract has played a central role in guiding users to statistics since before we were born. Since finding statistics can be challenging under the best of circumstances, what are our strategies for dealing with this loss? Are there new services and products we would like to see from commercial publishers?
Alesia McManus, owner of the “Save the US Statistical Abstract” Facebook page, moderated the discussion. About 50 librarians, publishers, and vendors attended.
Alesia McManus, Dan Coyle from ProQuest and Bruce Samuelson from Bernan Publishing all spoke briefly to start the session. Continue reading Life after the Statistical Abstract – ALAMW discussion summary
Yesterday ALA announced a new blog on E-content, to be administered by Christopher Harris. Here is more information from the press release:
Keeping up with the many varieties of digital contentand how libraries can offer them to their patronsjust got easier. American Libraries has launched an “E-Content” blog (http://americanlibraries.org/e-content) that provides information on e-books, e-readers, e-journals, databases, digital libraries, digital repositories, and other e-content issues. The blog complements the new section on e-content that appears in the weekly e-newsletter American Libraries Direct and focuses on similar issues.
E-Content is administered by Christopher Harris, director of the School Library System for the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership in New York State. Harris was selected because of his engaged expertise in many things digital. A participant in the first ALA Emerging Leaders program in 2007, Harris was subsequently honored as a Library Journal Mover and Shaker in 2008. He is coauthor of Libraries Got Game, published by ALA Editions in 2010, and is a regular contributor to School Library Journal.
The E-Content blog will help disseminate the work of the new ALA Working Group on Digital Content and Libraries, which is currently being formed to proactively address digital content opportunities and issues from both policy and practical perspectives. This Association-wide group of experts, selected by ALA President Molly Raphael, will broadly represent the many constituencies within the library community. The working group’s charge reflects a priority of the ALA 2015 Strategic Plan, supporting the “transformation” of libraries.
The Triangle Research Libraries Network (TRLN) held a Summit in August called “Beyond Print.” They have recently posted the meeting materials on their site, including slides, analysis, and future steps.
From the website: Beyond Print is an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funded project to develop new business models and licensing terms for the cooperative acquisition of e-books. The Triangle Research Libraries Network (TRLN) has a long history of cooperative collection development policies that distribute subject and language responsibilities among member libraries to minimize overlap and maximize breadth of coverage. Higher e-book prices for single institutions, and weighty multipliers to enable inter-institutional access, threaten this investment and the future of scholarly sharing.
A key element of the project was to convene representatives from library consortia together with vendors and publishers to explore new and mutually sustainable models as research libraries make the print to electronic transition in their book collections. The TRLN Beyond Print Summit was held in Chapel Hill, NC on August 22-23, 2011. Join us at the Charleston Conference where we will continue the conversation.
Picked this up on the LITA listserv today:
A joint Poudre River Public, Front Range Community College, and Colorado State University libraries committee has released a report on the state of eBooks and eReaders. The purpose of the study was to gain a better understanding of this rapidly-developing topic, and to make recommendations aimed at serving the customers of each library.
Recommendations from the summary report include the following:
education, advocacy, technology, and continued partnership and study
The Equitable Access to Electronic Content (EQUACC) Task Force met for the first time at a meeting held at ALA Midwinter and had a more substantive session at a one-and-a-half day retreat at the Washington Office, March 7-8, 2011. The retreat happened to coincide with the announcement that HarperCollins would limit loans for its e-books. Throughout the retreat, the significance of the HarperCollins decision factored into most of the discussions. In addition to addressing this timely issue, the Task Force made significant progress toward identifying challenges and solutions for improved electronic access, use, distribution, and preservation. The Task Force focused on long-term strategic issues given that there could easily be a situation similar to the HarperCollins decision in the future and ALA must be prepared to respond effectively.
The interim report is available here.
ALA’s EQUACC, Presidential Task Force on Equitable Access to Electronic Content has launched a website, available at http://www.equacc.ala.org/
They are offering a discussion forum, comprehensive list of resources arranged by theme, and an option for RSS feeds or a subscription via email.
Check it out, stay informed, be vocal, support the cause!
Reprinted in full from an ALA email and press release:
First and foremost, I want to thank you for your patience. I held back on a public statement on the recent decision by Harper Collins to restrict the lending of e-books until the Equitable Access to Electronic Information Task Force (EQUACC) met last week. Please know that I heard your voices of concern about the impact of additional costs on your libraries and ability to meet the needs of the communities you serve. A press release
was issued today that speaks to our shared alarm at announced and potential limitations to the access to knowledge, information and the creative written works of authors in the electronic era. We know that libraries are essential to an informed nation and therefore our democracy. I have been and will continue to highlight our commitment to access in every media interview I give. Continue reading ALA President Responds to Restrictions on E-book Lending
From the ALA Washington Office website: Recent action from the publishing world in the e-book marketplace has re-ignited interest and sparked many questions from librarians, publishers, vendors, and readers. Two ALA member task forces — the presidential task force on Equitable Access to Electronic Content (EQUACC) and the E-book Task Force — were recently created to address these complex and evolving issues. EQUACC met this week in Washington, D.C., to provide ALA with guidance and recommendations for a coordinated ALA response to the challenging issues. Continue reading ALA Task Forces To Tackle E Challenges