Children, DoJ, Publishers, ALA, SXSW, PLA and CiL: Libraries and E-Content News Weekly

March 18, 2012
Posted in: News

Won’t someone please think of the children?! No, really, please think of the children:
Concern rises among some that children may be the largest group left out of the e-book revolution. An article from Digital Book World discusses that only 5-7% of the revenue for children’s publishers comes from sales of e-books, a much smaller percentage than that of adult books. There is a correlation between the poverty line––44% of children live in low-income homes––and access to e-books and e-readers. The Children’s Book Council is concerned that this will cause a digital divide between those who grow up reading and interacting with tablets/e-readers and those who do not. There is no discussion in the article regarding libraries and their role in creating access to electronic content, but the author does want to hear from librarians (as well as teachers, parents and other concerned citizens). This is one of the many reasons we are engaged in our work here at Library Renewal and we’re glad to see this capturing the attention of the folks at Digital Book World.

Friction burns?:
Penguin recently determined that e-books available through OverDrive in the Kindle format may no longer be transferred wirelessly, instead requiring users to download and manually transfer Kindle books via USB. The publishers actions are a demonstration of “friction”, a word sometimes used by publishers to describe an intentional barrier to easy e-book access through libraries. The consequences of this frictional barrier are showing up i libraries across the country.
Report on Penguin “friction” from teleread.
This example, from Washington County Cooperative Library Services in Oregon, shows how libraries are attempting to explain this new “friction” to their library users.

DoJ and publishers:
An opinion piece from Publisher’s Weekly on the recent allegations by the Justice Department against several publishers that they corroborated to set high prices for e-books. Of note is the assumption by publishers that competition would matter more than pricing.

ALA on meeting with publishers:
Publisher’s Weekly interviewed ALA president Molly Raphael at this year’s PLA conference. Raphael met with publishers at the Association of American Publishers meeting. This interview with Raphael covers some of her thoughts regarding access to e-books, what she thinks the major publishers are struggling with, and why it might still be awhile before the issue of access to electronic content from the major publishers is resolved. A good resource for understanding how the ALA is working to come to a consensus with publishers regarding e-books.

Library Renewal at SXSW, PLA and CiL:
Library Renewal has been on the road for the past couple of weeks talking about our work and goals. Libraries, e-content, e-books, publishers and solutions, that’s what we’ve been talking about. Interest has been very high and responses have definitely been very positive. Our “Spring Tour 2012” started at SXSW where we were represented on a panel with several other very fine library folks called “Making Stories: Libraries & Community Publishing“. The description of the session and the audio file from it are now up on this page. Michael Porter’s portion starts in about 25% of the way through. You can see the Library Renewal slides below:

Finally, if you will be in Washington DC this week for Computers in Libraries, please reach out to us and book a time where we can talk and connect. And be sure to attend the panel session “Ebook Trends: Info Pro Perspectives” where Michael is presenting as well. That session is A202 in the schedule and runs from 11:30 – 12:15. Hope to see you there!

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