Mad World of eBooks – part three, ALA Discussion

See parts one and two of this session for more information.  The session was described by one of the speakers as “speed dating for eBooks”- evaluating the relationships between libraries, publishers, vendors.  Best thing I heard all day.

Group three – Becky Clark, Johns Hopkins, Alex Holzman, Temple UP, Rob Kairis and Kay Downey, OhioLINK

  • Becky – finding that: client publishers want better e-book distribution options, library clients want more e content, commercial aggregations haven’t served publishers or libraries very well, university presses need new revenue streams to offset declining print sales.
  • Alex – Looking for a way to form a consortia for ebooks, trying to get several university presses together.  They’ve had interest from about 50 UP’s, plan to have PDF’s to start and move to XML later, plan to have purchase/subscription models.  Seeing declining sales of print books to university libraries, presses are more focused on print books and we want e, library marketplace for ebooks has hit a tipping point.  UP’s can’t afford to offer ebooks on their own, so they are trying to form their own consortium.
  • Kay – challenges in acquisition include – publisher embargoes, acquisition workflow, licensing (unlimited simultaneous use, mobile devices, ILL, etc); cost – want to see some type of standard model, use – what constitutes a use?  OhioLINK did an ebook survey of its members – 116 librarians at 52 different libraries – accessed by multiple users when library is closed, libraries don’t purchase or lease ebooks individually b/c they are waiting for the consortia.
  • Rob – We need to get past the physics of this first – print vs. e; e- issues of space/time don’t really exist and yet we want to treat ebooks the same way we treat print books.  Libraries don’t want to spend more money on ebooks than print, but want publishers to stay in business too.   We need to think about ebooks as a revolutionary idea rather than an evolutionary idea. Librarians – do we really need to own books anymore?  The ebook doesn’t necessitate ownership, so why can’t we have a leased based model – lease more, own less.

Interesting discussion ensued about Rob’s idea of just leasing books. Sorry I can’t share due to request of attendees.

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