Recently the Library held a workshop on using devices such as the Kindle, Nook and iPad to access our collection of e-books and other digital content. Over 100 people showed up! But access to and facility in using new hardware is only part of the e-book puzzle.
Publishers are struggling to find a workable business model for making their books available in digital format. Most troubling for libraries is a host of restrictions on where and how readers can acquire e-content. Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Penguin do not sell e-book versions of their titles to libraries at all, and HarperCollins limits an e-book purchased by a library to 26 readings, and then a new “copy” must be purchased. Others have increased the library purchase price of an e-book to several times the price paid by an individual consumer.
What this means is that library patrons will be forced to purchase e-books, often from retailers with near monopoly power, instead of being able to share these resources within their communities, as they now do with printed books. Visit www.ridgefieldlibrary.org for links to some insightful articles on this situation and how you can help shape the future of e-books in libraries.