Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What do You Want to Know About E-Books? Come and Ask!

I was a member of the panel for the session representing school libraries. I gathered more information than I gave. The E-books that I have purchased for my school library are reference works that have unlimited access and both school and remote log in capability. This is not what the people who came to this session were looking for.

The session attendees, at least those that spoke up, wanted to learn more about using E-readers in a library setting; specifically loaning E-readers to patrons. The questions were numerous and for most the questions there did not seem to a definitive answer.

Some questions focused on the E-readers themselves; which is better: Nooks, Kindles, Android tablets, MAC tablets, or something else all together. The answer to these questions was basically that all of the major company E-readers had pros and cons and to determine the needs of your patrons in relation before buying.

More questions were asked about the electronic books themselves. Should each E-reader have books pre-loaded that stay on that reader. Should the books be stored elsewhere (on a server or desktop computer), and be loaded onto the E-reader at checkout? How many times can the book be read before it needs to be repurchased? I’m not sure what the final answer ended up as for these!

The topic that came up over and over again was the uncertainty of the legal aspects of all of these questions. Some libraries have already purchased E-readers and are lending them to patrons using all of the above models and are feeling the way as they go.

There are many issues both ongoing and coming in the future with lending E-readers from libraries. I think there will be many models for loaning E-readers and many changes that will take place before all the issues are solved.

1 comment:

  1. When I arrived, a member of the library staff at Homer Public was talking about their new e-reader program. They had a “Getting to Know Your E-Reader” class complete with a ‘petting zoo’ of various models of devices. Homer Public owns six devices that check out for 2 weeks. Holds can be placed on them. They found that each device has a different life for the battery and that replacement batteries were not worth the time/cost because the device would be soon be obsolete.

    Juneau Public allows check out of e-readers to ‘patrons of good standing’. Kenai and South Anchorage High School purchase web-based e-books through Follett Shelf.

    There was much discussion and confusion on the topic of Digital Rights Management. The stickler seems to be not with the vendor but the publisher of the work. Many vendors will not sell to libraries because of the lending fine print rules. Some publishers incur a 25 circulations maximum before the c-book has to be re-issued. For a best seller, this time is up within a month.

    I think it was Ann Morgester who said – “When a book becomes an e-book, it becomes more than a copyright issue. It is the encryption – wrapping the DRM around the e-book.” Also, it is 3 steps forward, two steps backwards as a personal user. You have to anticipate the glitches. You get a wealth of books but you have to deal the vendor regs.

    I took a lot of notes but I am still very confused about e-book uses for library patrons. The panel emphasized that library professionals need to continue the dialog with publishers. We need to be able to own an e-book, not lease it.