Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Future of E-Books and Libraries

When you walk into a library to borrow a book, traditionally we think of a printed book. A solid material you take home after it is checked out. However, a growing number of library patrons now turn to electronic devices to enjoy their reading; thus, the question of e-book enters the equation. 

Earlier this year there have been several talks between the Big Six Publisher (Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin, Random House and Simon & Schuster) and libraries regarding the introduction of e-book lending. Overall, the Big Six has been reluctant to team up with public libraries due to their fear of library e-books undercutting other sales. Currently, libraries are paying high prices to obtain e-books' titles from the Big Six Publisher. HarperCollins has a 26-lend limit on its library e-books. Random House nearly triples its e-book prices in March and Hachette recently confirmed it would more than double its prices.

Although there have been many obstacles, things are moving slightly forward. In June, Penguin launched a one year pilot project with vendor 3M and the New York Public Library. Macmillan officials recently announced that the publisher is also working on a pilot program that would enable e-book lending for libraries. This development is monumental since libraries have been fighting for equal access to e-books citing that library patrons should have equal access to print and electronic books. Despite recently developments, the future of e-books and libraries remain uncertain. 

What do YOU think?
Readers what do you think about e-books and public libraries? Do publishers have the right to be concern about their sales? Do public library patrons have the right to access e-books? Do you think a six-month delay release for public library e-books is fair?  

For more articles on the future of e-books and public libraries: 
The Digital Shift: Macmillan Confirms Ebook Pilot for Libraries         Publishers Weekly: Macmillan Poised to Test Library E-book Model
The Wall Street Journal: Libraries Cut E-Book Deal With Penguin
paidContent: Hachette to Raise Ebook prices for libraries by 220%