Publishers restricting the use of ebooks

I came across two articles today that discussed how publishers are blocking libraries from making more use of ebook loans.  The first article I came across was from the Guardian Newspaper and discusses the fact that the Publishers Association have announced that they are going to make it even more difficult for public libraries to lend ebooks. The main restriction that they are adding is that members of the public will now have to physically enter a library to download the ebook rather than being able to do it remotely via the libraries website.  The full article can be found here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/nov/07/ebooks-library-borrowing

The second article was from the CILIP Gazette http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/launch.aspx?referral=other&pnum=4&refresh=4d1CK7q0kB09&EID=2e1a38fc-2027-4ed6-aea8-331774abda4a&skip=true  and was about the same restrictions having an impact on public libraries.  The author of the article seemed to be under the impression that ebooks were now “mainstream fare” for academic libraries. Though academic libraries have made great moves to purchase more ebooks over the last 3 years there are still many restrictions.  For example most core texts are still not available to purchase as an ebook, due to the publisher worrying about  losing sales of the print works to individual students.  The majority of ebooks that we purchase can only be accessed via web browsers and the students are unable to download them onto their own personal ereaders.  This means that in the majority of cases students cannot read our ebooks when off-line (for example when travelling on a train) as they can easily do with a print work. 

Some standardisation in the ebook market is needed and both librarians and publishers need to remain in communication so that a resolution that satisfies everybody can be met.

Post by : Lisa Anderson

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