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Meeting Notes:  Ebooks, platforms, pricing, looking to the future

Page history last edited by Linda Van Wert 11 years, 9 months ago


Session 3 - 2:00 - 3:20 pm.Meeting Notes: Ebooks, platforms, pricing, looking to the future


Ebooks, Platforms, Pricing, Looking to the Future. 

Facilitators:  Michelle Wilde and Joe Kraus

Note Taker:  Linda Van Wert


Most who attended the session had Ebook collections or were getting ready to select some. People had interest in Ebook packages available and how to deliver Ebooks on reader technologies.


Ebook collections include Safari, Books 24/7, Ebrary, NetLibrary, Knovel, MD Consult, ProQuest, Morgan & Claypool, Springer, and CRC, although this list is far from comprehensive.  Comparing Ebook usage stats across platforms is extremely difficult, and like comparing apples with grapes with peppers.  There is no standardization.


Reader technologies include Kindle (Amazon) and Sony Readers (used by Google & Public Libraries).  Pricing for Kindles is expected to drop in the near future and then students will most likely have their own, reducing the need for libraries to lend Kindles.


A couple of libraries are currently lending Kindles.  They also have an application for "Reserve" departments where content can be bought and placed on the Kindle for limited loan.  After 28 days, content will no longer be available.  The privacy issues related to Kindles' account information being retained for further download.  When the Kindle technology is upgraded, all Kindles need to receive the upgrade.  Pluses of the Kindle:  portability, lighted reading, battery conservation, and archive on Amazon.


Sony Readers can do native PDF downloads while Kindles have a limited capability for PDFs.

Question:  Will PDFs still be available in 10 years?  PDFs have been around for 15 years and it is unlikely that the technology will shift away from it. 


What is the best model for purchasing Ebook packages?  Own vs. lend? No limit on number of users?  Unlimited simultaneous users?  There is not one model that fits all and pricing structures all vary.  Vendors who are aggregators and do not own the content can only lease it to you (i.e., Knovel or Safari). Springer owns the content and it is purchased through the Ebook contract.  Certain vendors will not go with a purchase model online because it detracts from their print book sales.  Springer would like to make all their books available as Ebooks.


Safari's model has a set number of slots but users can swap books in and out.  Patrons cannot place requests for books not in the system, however.  Safari is a "B to C, or Business to Consumer" model and academics are not their first priority.


NetLibrary, Ebrary, and EBL (Electronic Book Library) have user driven models where patrons can preview and select the items from a pool of possibilities.  Patrons need to know that they are ordering Ebooks because sometimes it is not clear.


Morgan & Claypool books are electronic only.  The author knows it is an electronic resource that will be updated.  It is possible to order them in print but that is secondary.  They can be purchased by subject collections with timelines.  A one-time purchase includes future updates.  It's a great model!


Question:  Can you InterLibrary Loan Ebooks?  It depends on the contract or license.  Springer lets libraries "lend" sections because their books are set up chapter by chapter.  In the Prospector alliance (consortium), 8 libraries have Springer Ebooks and 2 are lending libraries.  Links to the chapter PDF are sent via email for download.


Cataloging Ebooks can be difficult.  Is it possible to catalog chapter by chapter, and is it even desirable? 

If you purchase content and it becomes dated, can you delete?  Some systems allow adds and drops, but this causes a cataloging nightmare.  Cataloging Ebooks can be very time consuming.


Question:  Is it important to have standard MARC records for digital books?  It's good to have the best records possible.  Some publishers will provide the standard MARC record free-of-charge.  It is important to use the online catalog as an access point for the Ebooks to optimize access and use.


Do any libraries have Ebooks in their collection development policies?  Ebooks are not often specified as a preference.  Duplication needs to be addressed.  If libraries have a collection such as Knovel Ebooks, then they opt not to purchase the print.  In consortia purchasing, duplication will exist.  Ebooks without print are best for large reference works.  Important decision-making point: commitment to continued electronic subscriptions and platforms vs. purchase of print as necessary.  Budget planning becomes locked in and less flexible. 


Google Books settlement:  In the legal settlement, Google Books was scaled down to more of a finding tool.  There are 8 million books and it will increase to 40 million.  In the future, Google books may sell Ebook packages to universities.  Right now, only portions of the books are available - up to 70% - to generate interest.  Publishers are willing to go with Google because it makes the content "findable" and therefore increases the book sales.  What can Google Books sell to libraries besides the "discoverability" though?  It will increase ILL due to increased discoverability of numerous books.  Scripps Institute currently has the Google Books available.  It is usually one reader station in the library (public, academic) with restrictions on how the station is used to search.


Future of Ebooks?  Users want "chunkable" information that they can carry with them.  They don't want to always need to be connected.  Ebooks provide the convenience and consumers will demand it.  Ebooks are excellent for the quick reference "look up."  Many libraries have less patrons or students using their physical facility, but an increase in the use of resources due to electronic content availability.


For students, textbooks can be readily updated in Ebook format.  It's easier to put out a new edition.  It may help with cost and space issues.  BookSmart or TechSmart:  you can lease time-limited Ebooks but they can't be highlighted.  In Kindle, highlighting is possible.  It does not work well in Kindle for figures and is dependent on color.


Arizona State was going with lending Kindles but there was an ADA lawsuit.


The future may hold more possibility as well as more complexity.




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