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Friday News: Ebooks, its all about them.

The Internet is destroying a good number of things while making a fairly decent number of exciting new things–but in particular, it sure has got its hands around the neck of dear old literary culture. What is literary culture? It’s what used to mean “participation in a community that purchases and consumes and discusses and participates in argument about the content and form of written work.” Or… wait. Is the Internet strangling us? I change my mind hourly. Bookish.com

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

10 Comments

  1. Catherine
    Aug 16, 2013 @ 06:21:43

    E-books are draining library budgets across the country. It’s hard, because they’re expensive and the terms and prices publishers give us are horrific, yet they are in high demand and attracting people who otherwise wouldn’t use the library. If this is a service that matters to you as library user, I encourage you to keep an eye on the news about how much libraries are giving up to offer a single e-book, and then join us in petitioning publishers for more reasonable terms.

    Thanks, Jane, for always including so much library news :)

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  2. Vanessa Jaye
    Aug 16, 2013 @ 08:38:38

    I just read somewhere that the Toronto Public Libraries have a new partneship with Indigo-Chapters bookstores/Kobo where, if you’re perusing the libary inventory online, they’ve now added a buy button that will take you directly Indigo/Kobo so you can buy your own copy rather than borrow from the library. And the library gets a percentage of the sale. On the one hand, great idea to bring in extra revenue and relieve some of the demand on library stock in the face of dwindling funding, but on the other, I would guess that most peeps are using the library because they don’t have the budget to buy a lot of books, or don’t have the confidence that the book will be worth buying.

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  3. hapax
    Aug 16, 2013 @ 09:03:58

    I predict that within five years public libraries will have developed a platform that will allow them to buy ebooks directly from the publisher and circulate them to their patrons (just like they do EVERY OTHER kind of material), which will eliminate the horrific prices they have to pay through middlemen like Overdrive.

    Unfortunately, until this happens, the budget situation will only get worse.

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  4. EmilyW
    Aug 16, 2013 @ 09:52:58

    I wish I could donate my ebooks to my local library just as I do my paper books. But alas…

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  5. E
    Aug 16, 2013 @ 16:57:44

    At least these libraries have an ebook budget. My local library’s materials budget was cut to zero this year. That’s no new materials at all. We’re stuck hoping that people will buy books on the library’s Amazon wish list in hopes of getting new books into circulation. It’s very sad.

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  6. txvoodoo
    Aug 16, 2013 @ 17:23:57

    @EmilyW – I thought the same thing. Or if an ebook vendor let us buy & gift/donate ebooks to libraries of our choice.

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  7. Bea
    Aug 16, 2013 @ 18:22:22

    @EmilyW:

    Wouldn’t that be wonderful? I hate that I can’t do anything with an ebook once I’m done with it. I can’t donate it, share it, lend it…it’s frustrating. It’s a major disadvantage of ebooks.

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  8. Courtney Milan
    Aug 16, 2013 @ 18:39:04

    @hapax:

    Overdrive is not the problem. I have my books on Overdrive. They take a larger cut than Amazon on books over $2.99, a smaller cut than books under $2.99, but still a very reasonable price. I suspect that large publishers get a better deal than I do, one that means that an Overdrive sale is probably equivalent (or close) to the cut they get from Amazon.

    I can set my price for libraries the same as I do for retailers, and the only reason I don’t for some books is that the lowest price I can put in Overdrive is $1. So my 99 cent books are priced up by a penny.

    In any event, what I’m trying to say is that I’m pretty sure it’s publishers who are pushing horrific library pricing, not Overdrive.

    EDIT: There *are* problems with systems like Overdrive–it means that the content is licensed, not owned, so you’re locked into continuing on with Overdrive to get continued ebook lending, which is not a good thing. But this is a different problem.

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  9. hapax
    Aug 16, 2013 @ 21:52:17

    @Courtney Milan: I can set my price for libraries the same as I do for retailers

    Huh. This I did not know — thank you VERY MUCH for the information.

    I’d like to think that this sort of info would help us put more pressure on the publishers to negotiate a better deal, but considering the paranoia and general muleheadedness of most publisher statements, I rather doubt it.

    Frankly, I think that if libraries hadn’t already been established three centuries ago, the publishers would try to stop us from lending books as well.

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  10. liz
    Aug 19, 2013 @ 10:24:10

    I live in Broward County and ebook purchasing for the county is not so much about budget but availability. They are slowly building up their back collection at the same time. The local city libraries are a different matter, but most readers use the county library system. There County libraries in almost every city.

    As for Overdrive I wish that my library would get rid of it. It is a clunky mess. Very hard to sort and find books. Then having to go through amazon to check out the books.

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