Archive for category News
My Twitter account continues to earn its keep, as that’s how I’ve learned of the Harper-Collins – OverDrive outrage currently going on:
Next week, OverDrive will communicate a licensing change from a publisher that, while still operating under the one-copy/one-user model, will include a checkout limit for each eBook licensed. Under this publisher’s requirement, for every new eBook licensed, the library (and the OverDrive platform) will make the eBook available to one customer at a time until the total number of permitted checkouts is reached.
-via Atzblog, who also sums up the myriad problems thusly:
To be clear, this model eliminates almost all the major advantages of the item’s being digital, without restoring the permanence, durability, vendor-independence, technology-neutrality, portability, transferability, and ownership associated with the physical version.
I have some sympathy for Harper-Collins’ position (at least their point that ebooks don’t need to be replaced as physical books periodically do; and as someone on Twitter pointed out, at least they allow ebooks at all (1), but then again…not really. It’s up to them to develop a profit model for digital technologies without trying to artificially enforce the same rules of analog media. This is the music industry all over again. And the TV/movie industry. It was bad enough when the rule was 1 ebook = 1 physical book for circulation(2)!
Worse yet, 26 is the magic number for circulation, which
… was arrived at after considering a number of factors, including the average lifespan of a print book, and wear and tear on circulating copies.
-via Library Journal
A couple weeks ago I was hanging out in the WW2 section of Bird Library to pick up some books from my wish list. While I was perusing the shelves, I pulled out a book that had actually been published in the early 1940s. Instead of a copyright insert near the front of the book, there was a notice that the book had been produced in accordance with wartime regulations (smaller overall size, thinner pages). In the very front of the book was the old-school circulation data…as in, due dates stamped on the little card in the paper pocket affixed to the book. It was neat to try imagining the people who checked out this book (many times) in 1945 before the war ended, and then all the check-outs right after the war, and in the decade after that.
My point with that story is: how the hell did HC actually come up with 26 as an appropriate circulation number, because if a 66-year-old book, deliberately printed on thin paper, can still be in tip-top shape on my library’s shelves…. hooboy. Again from LJ,
If a lending period is two weeks, the 26 circulation limit is likely to equal roughly one year of use for a popular title. For a three-week lending period, that stretches to a year and a half.
How many physical books have to be replaced on a yearly basis? Serious question. I’m sure some do, but generally speaking? Is that a common lifespan for a library book?
1. I’m not really sure whether that’s better or worse than this hurlyburly.
2. Which was bad enough, let’s be honest. Another Twitter commenter pointed out acceptance of that practice as libraries not exactly having a good track record for defending patron use rights. But what options have libraries, generally, had? Like publishers, libraries have a/n (potentially) uncertain role in an increasingly digital world and each industry does what it can to keep up/preserve its place. For libraries–not exactly rolling in cash and influence– that may mean some compromise in usability and access to provide content in a relevant medium to their patrons. (And on the other hand, this is an example of libraries trying to adapt to stay relevant, whereas HC’s actions are a desperation act to keep increasingly obsolete/irrelevant practices.)
From Fast Company via the EFF Facebook feed:
For some time now, academic librarians have been resorting to Netflix to plug shortages in their media holdings. In fact, they have been thoroughly above-board about it; even the distinguished journal Library Trends ran an article about “Netflix in an Academic Library” last winter; author Ciara Healy wrote in the abstract that “Netflix turned out to be an excellent, cost-effective solution.” The other week, an acquisitions librarian at Concordia College in New York blogged about the blessing of her institution’s double eight-disc-at-a-time subscription, which she wrote saved her library $3,000. Though one commenter wondered “how you got this past legal for your university,” she responded that there had been “no legal repercussions.”
Whoops. Turns out Netflix isn’t actually cool with libraries using the service and doesn’t want early adopting librarians to be encouraging others to do so.
On the one hand, librarians should be more conscious than the general public about usage terms and agreements (as a function of copyright). On the other hand, Netflix effectively doesn’t care. On the other other hand, it’s too bad libraries can’t wrangle a corporate Netflix account or at least get Netflix-esque prices from their vendors.
I came across this little update through AustenBlog of all places: while you are in a Barnes & Noble store, you can have free access to eBooks for an hour at a time.
A lot of the discussion around eBook readers in relation to librarianship and traditional book reading has involved the ability (or inability) to annotate and share, and the place of eBooks in libraries. In that light, this is an interestingly library-esque addition to the Nook capabilities that nonetheless falls short.
For one thing, I’d love to know who decided the 1 hour cut-off…it seems rather arbitrary, unless, perhaps, there’s research that shows fast readers can finish a novel in 2 hours and so a more limited amount of time was in order.
I also wonder what the distribution of books is between B&N stores and their eBook selection. Namely, I’m wondering what the point of this access is if you can only take advantage of it while sitting in the midst of shelves and shelves of books, any one of which a customer can curl up with in one of the armchairs for as long as it takes to finish reading it. This seems like a step in the right direction but still not enough. I don’t expect corporate bookstores to take on the public library function, but even just setting up unlimited access only in a B&N store would better parallel the access to physical books.