Thursday, December 08, 2011

E-Books and Access: Upholding Library Values: Part 1

I enjoyed the first part of Sarah Houghton's ALA TechSource workshop. See my notes below for an overview of the discussion. The slides and related readings are available at 


People know we have books, but don't know that we have ebooks.
What image are we projecting to the outside?
Are we projecteing our digital content?
Ebooks are more than digitiized text. Integrated media.
People expect it to work on any device.
Users are frustrated with downloading of ebooks.

The Big Players: Content 
These are the major ebook content providers at the moment.  The list changes frequently.  There are other content providers not listed here.
OverDrive: leader in popular ebook content.
3M Cloud Library: physical presence in library via checkout terminals
MyiLibrary: popular content
eBooks on EBSCOhost: This is one of the content providers we are currently using in my library
Safari: technology ebooks
Gale Virtual Reference Library: reference ebooks.  We use this one quite a bit at my library.
books24x7: a company to keep an eye on
axis 360: From Baker and Taylor, making a big play in market
FolletShelf: popular in school libraries
OneClickdigital: audio ebooks from Recorded Books

SH suggests posting ebook FAQ and device compatability on library website.

Free eBooks
Open Library
Project gutenberg
LibriVox: audiobooks of public domain books recorded by volunteers.  (I love this site, but the quality of audiobooks varies)
Many more...

Big players: Devices
Amazon Kindle
Barnes and Noble Nook
Sony Reader
+all tablets, smart phones, laptops and desktops (I use my iPad and iPhone but am considering a reader.)

The big players: Operating Systems

 The big players: Formats
ebook: EPUB, PDF, MOBI, TXT, RTF, HTML, Kindle, Daisy
eAudioBook: WMA, MP3
Advocacy with ebook providers is essential.

Corporate terms of service: company defined, overrides copyright law. Usually is what limits ability to transfer to device, etc.
Digital Rights Management (DRM): software that enforces the terms of service and copyright law.
Digital Millenium Copyright Act: makes it a criminal offense to circumevent technological measures that protect copyrihgted content, eg digital rights management. Penatly for violiting DMCA is greater than penalty for copyright violation.
Some libraries are negotating with content publishers directly, not providers.

What happens when your leasing, not buying?
Most library vendors only lease digital content. Some make it sound like you are buying but you are not. "bibliopocalypse:" We don't own it forever.
Overdrive marketing uses words like buy, purchase and sale, but contracts use words like license and subscribe.

Liscening terms to consider
Cost: platform, conent, add terms (min purchase), difference between cost to library and to consumer (provider charges much more to library than consumer for same content), difference between costs for pCopy (print book) and eCopy.
Accessility: some vendorrs have not made ebooks or platforms accessible. This is a potential legal problem for the library.
Collection access: access to entire or partial catalog. do certain publishers limit terms of access; can content be removed; what publishers and authors are not included?
Termination: Under whhat conditions? Pro-rated refund?
Some publishers are difficult to deal with: Simon and Schuster (doesn't sell ebooks to libraries), MacMillan (doesn't sell ebooks to libraries), Penguin (pulled content from overdirve), HarperCollins (limits number of checkouts)
Some people expect all books to be available as ebooks, but not all books are digital.
You can negotiate terms!
Contracts and prices are not confidential.
Terms of Service Terms of service can legally override copyright law. Companies can put anything they want into the terms of service.

eBook Readers
Considerations: Device rules (what collections will you be able to access on this device), Software rules (format compatibility, DRM compabitle), Content rules (will all pieces of content work?)

 Reader lending
From 4 scenarios outlined by Mary Minow
-You can lend an empty reader or a reader loaded with public domain content and/or content with permissions to share (creative commons)
-A decvice loaded with ebooks licensed from a vendor can be lended. Be sure you are following terms of service.
-Do not lend a device with unauthorized content
Considerations: initial cost +ongoing cost, cost of device + titles

Summary: Digital Collections
Digital collections provide access when you are closed.
Make users aware.
How DRM affects user access.
Device support

 SH's final thoughts: "Advocate for your users."