The general consensus among participants (at International Federation of Library Associations meeting) was that public libraries have two, maybe three years to establish their relevance in the digital realm, or risk fading from the central place they have long occupied in the world’s literary culture. – Peter Brantley
Brantley was a participant at talks ensuring digital access to ebooks. I was intrigued by the focus on e-lending and licensing issues. Not merely just about e-books and platforms. Brantley outlines the tensions of licensing ebooks as well as the preservation needs of libraries. To read the full discussion from International Federation of Library Associations called Libraries, e-Lending and the Future of Public Access to Digital Content.“Libraries, e-Lending and the Future of Public Access to Digital Content.
I was surprised to learn Canada was a success story as “years of negotiations with the Association of Canadian Publishers has resulted in a landmark draft proposal for licensing a bundle of e-books, with terms loosely based on the HarperCollins model, but good for 40 loans rather than 26.” On my wish list I would like to see renewals permitted but that is not the current practice. Also ebooks are widely popular at public libraries.
The libraries and publishers are trying to find a business model where publishers make profit and libraries can ensure access to information. But experiments have had surprising results. In Denmark publishers and libraries came to a broad licencsing agreement with Bluefire Reader. Then more 100,000 users took advantage of the trial with over 600,000 loans in the first year. This was a hugely successful experiment with a relatively small population of 5.5 million Danes.
In a legal library we see the same tensions played on a much smaller scale.
Filed under: eBooks, Public library | 1 Comment