If you’ve been paying attention to ebook news this past week then you’ve probably read about Penguin curtailing their library ebook distribution. Their actions and the debate among librarians inspired me to push ahead with a series of posts I’ve planning.
Penguin decided (late last week, actually) that they were going to reconsider library ebooks and as a first step they blocked sales of their new releases and they also made OverDrive block patrons from borrowing via the Kindle (this is enabled again).
I’ve touched on this once or twice as ebook news, but I’ve also been watching the debate among the librarian bloggers. There are 3 or 4 that I read regularly, and it was Andy Woodworth in particular who inspired me. Here’s an excerpt of his editorial:
As disappointed as I am with publishing companies, I have my own disappointment with my peers. We can’t be churning up a shitstorm every time a company makes a change when it comes to eBooks. We ceded that control when we signed on the line for the Overdrive contracts. Nor can we act surprised when a company makes a change after all of the articles and blog posts that tell us that the publishing industry is changing and shrinking in the last few years. They are trying to save themselves, so don’t act surprised when they do something dramatic.
Libraries are at the mercy of publishers because they ceded control of their ebooks to OverDrive. Well, what if they didn’t cede control to OverDrive? What are the alternatives?
That’s what I’m going to answer in this series of posts. I don’t know that anyone has done a comprehensive look before, and I don’t know about you but I’d like to know more just for my own curiosity.
Update: And here are the first installments:
I’ve had this idea since shortly before the Nook Tablet launch event. Between one thing and another I hadn’t gotten to it yet, but the Penguin news this past week made me realize that time is a-wastin’.
I’m still in the middle of the research, but I do already have a few topics that I plan to cover, including: a library that launched their own ebook server, the Open Library, B&N’s library ereader program, Freading, and whatever else I come across while looking into this.
I had planned to also include posts on the 3M Cloud Library and Axis 360, OverDrive’s 2 mainstream competitors. But I think I’m going to pass because if they were in operation today then they would be in the same situation as OverDrive is in right now. I’m trying to find ways out of this mess. (And I couldn’t get Baker & Taylor to tell me anything new about Axis360, so I have nothing to write.) Also, I’ve written about them before.
BTW, if you know of a library ebook program that I didn’t mention above please leave a comment. I want to look at all the alternatives.
Also, if you have personal experience with one of the alternative library ebook programs, please get in contact. I’d like to get an inside view of the costs, ease of use, and so on.
I’m going to try to get the first posts up this coming week, but that will depend on news not breaking and my sources having enough time to talk to me. Since I cannot control either circumstance, this series might take a while.
image by ellen forsyth