Monday, January 21, 2013
The War Over eBooks -- great articles at Forbes.com
David Vinjamuri at Forbes.com wrote a great article, "The Wrong War Over eBooks: Publishers Vs. Libraries." You can read it here. In it he takes a fair look at both publishers and libraries and outlines their sides of the argument for access. Then he posits that they are making the wrong arguments and suggests a different way to look at eBook access. His first suggestion? Instead of buying limited use licences for eBooks libraries could pay on a cost-per-circulation basis. It's fair, easy to calculate, and both sides get value for the transaction ... more readers with more access.
In the second article in this two part series, "Why Public Libraries Matter: And How They Can Do More," ( found here) Vinjamuri points out that libraries are a gateway connecting readers and publishers. Even in this ever changing world of eBook readers and tablets, libraries are the places where people are exposed to new authors and titles, book clubs abound, and reading is encouraged. He warns publishers that they "limit public libraries' access to eBooks at their own peril." And warns libraries that by focusing on the best seller list they "risk missing the significant opportunity afforded by the explosion in the number of new books published each year."
Eventually libraries and publishers will come to terms that, hopefully, everyone can live with. In the meantime it's the public that misses out. Not everyone has access to an eReader. Not all eReader owners can buy all the eBooks they want to read. Libraries stand ready to fill the access gap, just as they always have.