“North Carolina Digital Library has offered eBook downloads since 2005, and in the past year we’ve seen a tremendous increase in checkouts,” said Ruth Ann Copley, director of the Davidson County Public Library in North Carolina.
When it comes to ebooks, no other member of the publishing community faces more challenging questions than public libraries. What aspects of the publishing business model have to be rethought in order to build a sustainable ebook model for libraries? Does patron-driven purchasing have a place in the trade-public library business?
At Digital Book World 2011, Library Journal‘s Josh Hadro will moderate a panel, The Ebook Ecosystem: Where do Libraries Fit?, that will attempt to offer answers to these thorny questions. He will be joined by Ruth Liebmann, VP, Director of Account Marketing, Random House; Christopher Platt, Acting Director, Collections and Circulating Operations, The New York Public Library; and Steve Potash, President and CEO of OverDrive, Inc.
It's been nearly two years since I started reading e-books almost exclusively. First, on my iPod Touch, then my Kindle and when my library began offering ebooks in August, I book a Nook so I could get books from the library.
I spent about $200 for that Nook - including extended warranty and cover. I figured the investment would pay for itself in a few short months. It already has. Since purchasing my Nook, I have read 30 books from the library. If I had purchase even half that many books at an average of $10.00 per book I would have spent $150. But I wouldn't have read fewer books, but I would have picked up some free books on B&N and Amazon, or purchased some below $10 books.
More importantly, since I don't have to buy the books, I'm more open to experimenting with different authors, and am reading books I never would have , if I didn't have the option of getting them from the library.
I was not a big library user before. In fact, I rarely went. I found the chore of having to return books by a certain due date, tedious and stressful. Plus, since I travel quite a bit, I had no interest in carrying a bunch of hardback books in my carry-on.
So I am watching with enormous interest had libraries are going to navigate this new environment. It does challenge everything a library stands for, and at the same time, it provides an opportunity to match more authors with readers.