A movement to improve e-book access and services for public library users
Libraries have a responsibility to fight for the public and ensure users have the same open, easy and free access to e-books that they have come to rely on with physical books. Libraries face two major challenges. First, unlike print books, publishers are not required to sell e-books to libraries -- and many do not. Second, addressed here, products currently offered by e-content distributors, the middlemen from whom libraries buy e-books, create a fragmented, disjointed and cumbersome user experience.
To correct this, e-content providers must be willing partners and offer products allowing users to:
- Search and browse a single comprehensive catalog with all of a library’s offerings at once, including all e-books, physical collections, programs, blogs and donor opportunities.
- Place holds, check-out items, view availability, manage fines and receive communications within individual library catalogs or in the venue the library believes will serve them best, without having to visit separate websites
- Seamlessly enjoy a variety of e-content. To do this, libraries must be able to choose content, devices and apps from any provider or from multiple providers, without bundling that limits a library’s ability to serve content they purchase on platforms of their choice.
- Download e-books that are compatible with all readers (Kindle, Nook, iPad and so on).
In order for libraries to continue to function as key providers of information to the public, these basic principles must be followed. The libraries who signed this agreement are committed to holding content providers to this standard and will prioritize these requirements when acquiring e-books and other e-content.
e-Book Price Comparisons
Douglas County Libraries (DCL), Colorado has been publishing a monthly list of pricing for print and ebook bestsellers for the past year. Per the report of the ebooks libraries can buy, the average price was $63 with consumer pricing averaging at $11.50. DCL will continue to publish this monthly report and make it available.