The thinkpiece was the starting point for discussions on desirable characteristics for public access models for library digital content, library user expectations’ regarding eBooks, and the relationship between libraries and publishers in the eBook age. During the meeting participants focused on the role of copyright, licensing and legislation in access to digital content like eBooks, as well as reviewing advocacy campaigns and the potential for IFLA as an advocate for library access to eBooks.
The publishing industry has been in flux for years. First chain stores, then Amazon, then e-books — all combined to create dramatic change.
"Another way they might create additional distribution is through a subscription, e-book subscription service," he says. "Before Random and Penguin merged, no single publisher would have had enough of the most commercial titles to make something like that work. They might. So they may be able to create distribution channels that are extra, compared to what we have now, and proprietary, in that other publishers won't be able to get at them."
23% of Americans ages 16 and older read an e-book in the past year, up from 16% the year before. The share who read a print book declined to 67%, from 72%.
The population of e-book readers is growing. In the past year, the number of those who read e-books increased from 16% of all Americans ages 16 and older to 23%. At the same time, the number of those who read printed books in the previous 12 months fell from 72% of the population ages 16 and older to 67%.
Overall, the number of book readers in late 2012 was 75% of the population ages 16 and older, a small and statistically insignificant decline from 78% in late 2011.
The move toward e-book reading coincides with an increase in ownership of electronic book reading devices.
Cengage Learning, John Wiley and Sons, Pearson Education, and McGraw-Hill Education settled five copyright and trademark infringement claims related to counterfeit textbooks, the companies announced recently.
"Many of our patrons are also interested in ebooks. But lately publishers are changing the rules. Some -- four of the "big six" -- won't sell ebooks to libraries at all. The two that did, HarperCollins and Random House, unilaterally changed the terms. HarperCollins requires us to "buy" the book again after 26 checkouts. (It's really more of a license to read than a purchase.) Random House recently raised the price of a new ebook by 300%. So a fiction title might cost $80; a non-fiction title, $120."