Sue Polanka of No Shelf Required participated in an ebook summit yesterday in New Jersey, sponsored by that state’s major library organizations. Other speakers included Robert Miller of the Internet Archive and Eli Neiburger of Ann Arbor District Library, and the panel discussed issues of licensing, copyright and DRM. Polanka’s summaries are posted in two parts on her blog (Part I, Part II), but here are some of the highlights.

Eli Neiburger, Ann Arbor District Library — “The eReader as a device is a flash in the pan. It’s not about the hardware/software and not really about the content – it’s really about the licensing. When you invest in a media format, it’s almost inevitable that you will get screwed in the end. Libraries are about owning and sharing things and the market is preventing that.”

Sue Polanka, Wright State University Library & No Shelf Required — “Libraries were encouraged to question vendors often and suggest new business models that suit their needs. There are many limitations on lending, sharing, ILL [interlibrary loans]. One alternative is to purchase ebooks as part of a consortia to at least be able to share content within a larger group. As Eli said earlier, when ad sponsored books come to be, libraries are screwed. …the first example, 24Symbols from Spain. They only have 1000 classic titles now. If it comes to be that more vendors offer subscription ebooks, libraries have some competition.”

Robert Miller, Director of Books, Internet Archive — “Got into books in 2004 and have huge collections of moving images and audio recordings and a dark archive of TV shows. They are struggling to find sustainable business models. Licenses tend towards monopoly. Libraries fund the creation of near monopolies by licensing – examples include OCLC, Lexis/Nexis, digital public library of America, HathiTrust.”

Mary Minow, Attorney, Consultant, and Former Librarian — “Copyright only protects the publisher and author, not the vendor, so vendors need a license agreement. The license agreement negates copyright, so technically we start with ILL [interlibrary loans], the license agreement takes it away. So, don’t sign license agreements that take it away.”

Joseph Sanchez, University of Denver — “[At his former school] started circulating second gen Kindles and first gen iPads as soon as they hit the market. He chose Kindle b/c he beta tested several devices with students and found they wanted immediate results and Kindle was the answer. They tried a unique patron driven model where they purchased titles on demand for the Kindle.”

“New Jersey Ebook Summit Summary – Part One”
“New Jersey eBook Summit Summary – part two”


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