Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Ebooks, publishers & libraries

Ebook publishers are changing how the license ebooks to libraries.  These two podcast episodes from Beyond the Book detail those recent changes.  As you might expect, the changes do not necessarily favor libraries or library patrons.

July 20: An E-books Embargo For Libraries (14 min.)
Tor Books, a science fiction and fantasy publisher and division of Macmillan, has moved to change its “e-book lending model to libraries as part of a test program to determine the impact of e-lending on retail sales,” reports Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer. Beginning this month, newly-released titles will not be available until four months after the publication date. The “embargo” practice has sparked a backlash by librarians.

“It’s yet another wrinkle in an already complex lending scheme that librarians must manage, and I think what is bothering librarians most of all is that [the change] came without warning,” Albanese tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally.

“I spoke to Michael Blackwell, a librarian in Maryland who is one of the organizers of ReadersFirst, a coalition of some 300 libraries dedicated to improving e-book access and services for public library users. He called the move a ‘giant leap backwards’ for libraries and disputed the idea that library e-book lending is hurting Tor’s retail e-book sales.”
Sept. 7: More Changes In E-book Lending For Public Libraries (the first 6 min. 30 seconds)
In what the publisher called “good news” for libraries and their patrons, Penguin Random House has announced that as of October 1, 2018, the house is changing its e-book lending licenses for public libraries in the U.S. The shift moves access to book titles from a “perpetual access” model (where libraries pay a higher price but retain access to the e-book forever) to a “metered model” (with lower prices on e-books that expire after two years).

“PRH top titles today are capped at $65 for a ‘perpetual access e-book license. The new top price will be $55. Lower prices are a good thing—but a $10 drop is not enough librarians say, especially if they have the burden now of relicensing John Grisham titles,” Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer, reports.

“What librarians really wanted from PRH was a choice. They want to be able to own a perpetual access copy or two for the collection at whatever price, and then add [more copies of the same title] to meet periods of high demand without having to buy more perpetual access copies,” Albanese tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally.

“Much of what publishers do with library e-book pricing is about defending other markets, but I think that’s shortsighted and self-defeating. If anything comes out of these changes I hope it will be to kick up a discussion about why digital readers in libraries are treated differently,” he adds.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Copyright: Forever Less One Day (7 min. video)

While not a copyright expert, C.G.P. Grey has provided an interesting and entertaining look at the length of copyright protection in this short video. By the way, while I like the video, one error which stood out to me is that the length of copyright in 1790 in the United States was 14 years, with the possibility of renewal for another 14 years.  Yes, that does equal 28, which is what he said in the video, but only 14 years was guaranteed with additional action by the creator.