Our new newsletter, The DOJ calls Shenanigans! on E-Book Pricing, plus Frustrations and Guides: Libraries and E-Content News

March 9, 2012
Posted in: Featured

The first item of the week: we launched another issue of our newsletter, the Spring Update, which features FAQs about Library Renewal, and a great guest post from Jonathan Chambers on the real math of ebooks in libraries. If you have been wondering what Library Renewal has been up, you can read about our partner library program. If you want to tell your library’s story with video, submit a proposal to Library Renewal. You might receive a custom HD Library Renewal camera.  And while you’re reading about all of those things in this issue, click on the “Subscribe to List” button in the upper left corner to receive our future issues.

The biggest news item of the week was that the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating allegations that Apple and five of the Big Six publishers allegedly conspired to fix the price of e-books. Apple, Penguin Group USA, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, HarperCollins, and Hachette Book Group are all being threatened with a lawsuit. Some, but not all of the companies are currently in talks to reach a settlement, the results of which could still change the e-book market. The European Union is also reviewing these allegations against Apple and the five publishers. The Wall Street Journal and New York Times Media Decoder Blog provide a history of how we arrived at the current e-book pricing model for consumers.

There has been much discussion in the blogosphere this week regarding whether or not libraries should continue fighting the fight for electronic content (or at least consider taking a breather). Bobbi Newman wrote a piece that is garnering quite a bit of discussion, and not just from those in the library world. Newman argues that libraries should think about getting out of the e-book lending game until there is a better model to provide e-books to library patrons. This is not to say that Newman wants libraries to get out of the e-book game forever — in the meantime, she thinks they should take a step back and work harder toward finding a workable solution.

Similar to Newman’s post, Guy LeCharles Gonzalez questions whether or not it is worth the effort for libraries to continue to fight for e-books. Gonzalez wonders if libraries should just wait until the dust settles with the scuffle over e-books and then consider the e-book lending model again. Mentioned in both of these posts is Andy Woodworth’s “Alternative Uses for the Pesky E-Book Budget” that has also been making the rounds this week. Look at the comments on all of these posts for further ideas and discussions — plenty of food for thought.

Along the lines of musings regarding libraries and their relationship to publishers is K.G. Schneider’s response to Random House’s increase in e-book pricing. Schneider once again provides a thoughtful piece on what libraries need to be thinking about in terms of access to electronic content and suggests that we need to use the history of our relationship with publishers as a guide for our actions.

IFLA released a draft guide for libraries on key issues for electronic resource collection development. It is an overview intended to highlight what librarians will need to consider when procuring electronic resources for their libraries.

Finally, this post from Emma Wright, which was originally published in early February. Wright, who has worked in e-book production for the past two years, presents a guide for e-book publishers detailing what they should take into consideration. While aimed at what publishers need to do, an interesting piece for all.

Don’t forget to check out our Twitter feed and Facebook page for news and links throughout the week.

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