Hidden Cost of eBooks at University Libraries

ebook“For the past few years, both California State University and University of California libraries have been experimenting with packages that replace paper books with ebooks. The advantages are obvious … But there’s a huge difference between casual and college reading, and recent studies prove beyond doubt that while ebooks are perfectly fine for the latest John Grisham or Fifty Shades of Grey, they actively discourage intense reading and deep learning.”…

North Dakota libraries, including the BSC Library, are also experimenting with ebooks.

In this thoughtful essay, Peter C. Herman, a professor of English literature at San Diego State University, points out some of the positives and negatives of ebooks for academic libraries and their users. Read entire essaybook

What do you think?



The Abomination of Ebooks

ebookEbooks … nothing but ebooks …. why we’re not there yet.

“This is not one of those rants about missing the texture, touch, colors, whatever of paper contrasted with the sterility of reading on a tablet. No, the real abomination of ebooks is often overlooked: Some are so ingrained in the product itself that they are hiding in plain sight, while others are well concealed beneath layers of commerce and government.

The real problem with ebooks is that they’re more “e” than book, so an entirely different set of rules govern what someone — from an individual to a library — can and can’t do with them compared to physical books, especially when it comes to pricing.”  Read rest of article …

Why Won’t They Sell to Us? An Open Letter to Publishers

CHICAGO (September 28, 2012) — American Library Association (ALA) President Maureen Sullivan released this open letter to publishers regarding the refusal of Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Penguin to provide access to their e-books in U.S. libraries.

The letter begins:

“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.” Read the rest of the letter….


Good News for Libraries!

June 21, 2012 (Anaheim, California)

“On the first day of the largest library conference in the world, the American Library Association (ALA) welcomed the announcement from Penguin Group USA that it will re-enter the library e-book lending market with a pilot in New York City.”

Read the statement from ALA President Molly Raphael to learn more.

Digital Divide

“To the surprise of many readers, public library e-book “shelves” now sport gaping holes. The Witness by Nora Roberts? Unseen. The Lost Years by Mary Higgins Clark? Missing. Drop Dead Healthy by A.J. Jacobs? DOA.

None of these bestsellers is available through your library’s thoughtfully developed online collections. You may think that your library simply hasn’t bought them yet, or that our shrinking budgets kept us from providing the e-books people are demanding. But the truth is that for the first time, libraries are unable to purchase some materials on behalf of our communities.”

For the rest of the article by Molly Raphael, President of the American Library Association, go to “Publishers Long Overdue in Offering Libraries eBook Titles.”


ebooks for libraries

We’ve been blogging about libraries and ebooks and how some publishers do (or don’t do) business with libraries.  For example:

  • ebooks from some publishers are not available to libraries at any price
  • some publishers place caps on the number of times an ebook can be checked out before access is lost and the library has to purchase the ebook again
  • other publishers have raised the price of ebooks to libraries by as much as 300%

A grassroots campaign, whose goal is to convince publishers to increase the availability of ebooks to libraries, is now underway.

The advocacy effort launched Tuesday (May 8, 2012) with a website called ebooks for libraries.  The centerpiece of the website is a petition with a target of 10,000 signatures.

 If this issue resonates with you, let your voice be heard.