Thoughts on the iPad and libraries

6583d6ab08c6f37cfbf71f447236ee30.jpegThe Librarian 1.5 blog, written by Norwegian librarian Thomas Brevik, has a few thoughts on what the iPad means to libraries. Here is a snippet:

How do we get content from the library to the iPad and similar devices, and can libraries use iBook or the AppStore as a delivery method? I think there will be several opportunities, and that binding libraries to a cooperation with Apple to get in through the iBook store probably will be difficult and even counterproductive. There are at least two avenues to go, either create an international LibraryBook app (open source of course), that will work on any operating system, or cooperate with the creators of any of the open source apps that are out there to deliver books through them. Both avenues has their pros- and cons, but I believe that to secure a future for the library brand it would be a good idea to develop a special library app.

Will the iPad and iPad like devices change the media habits of readers? Very likely. The iPod and iPhone has both changed a lot of behaviour and expectations from library users, and how other devices are viewed and used. I expect to see increasing demand for content on tablets from readers and probably pressure on the library to deliver certain types of content, i.e. ebooks.

1 Comment on Thoughts on the iPad and libraries

  1. This is likely to get very interesting, much like the debate over using Skype to make calls on iPhone was. Apple will make money selling books through its iBookstore. Will it be willing to allow apps on iPads that let people check out those same books for free?

    One key factor is likely to be the presence or absence of micro-payments for loaned books. Re-shelving printed books not only costs libraries money, more and more patrons aren’t getting books off the shelves of their local library. They’re putting a hold on it somewhere in the system. To fulfill that hold, the library has to pull the book at one library, transport it to another, and shelf it there. Then when it is returned, they have to transport it back to the original library and re-shelf it there. Roughly put, that must mean a five or six fold increase in costs thanks to computer-based catalogs.

    How much cheaper would it be to have patrons check out digital copies from their homes? Whatever it is, that cost could be used to make small payments of to the author, publisher, and book distributor. Each one would be less than the cost of a book, but over time they would add up. Patrons would get their copy almost instantly. The library would save money. And the smallest library in the smallest town would have a collection as great as that in a major city.

    It’s something to think about, particularly as gadgets such as the Kindle and the iPad become more common. It’d also deflect some of the fuss over DRM and owning versus merely renting. If I can check a digital book out at any time I want, does it matter what sort of DRM tags along?

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