eBooks and Public Libraries - Working on the Partnership Print Email

Yes, WCLS has eBooks for you to borrow, but you may be wondering why there aren’t more eBooks available from the library, why you have to wait for eBooks, or why some bestsellers aren’t available at all? Here are some answers:

Three of the six major publishers (Hatchette, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and all of their imprints) will not sell their eBooks to libraries at all. Another major publisher, HarperCollins requires libraries to re-purchase an ebook after it has circulated 26 times. Penguin gives their eBooks a 1-year license, but will not allow their eBooks to be read on the Kindle platform. Random House (which is merging with Penguin) sells eBooks to libraries at three times the cost to anyone else.

woman using an eReaderWCLS provides eBooks through The Washington Anytime Library cooperative, which buys and distributes eBooks for 30 libraries in Washington through OverDrive. Each member library purchases eBooks that can be used by patrons from all member libraries. For this service, each title must be purchased, individually, in each format - the audiobook version, the Nook version, the Kindle version, etc. Each copy of an eBook can be checked out by only 1 patron at a time.

Freading is a new eBook service for WCLS patrons which uses a different eBook lending model. It offers titles from about 50 publishers and WCLS pays only when a book is downloaded. Each title can be read at the same time by many readers. Freading offers eBooks that are like the popular Hot Picks titles you find displayed in your library – really great fiction and non-fiction eBooks that are always available to you! To get started with Freading, go to the library’s eBook page: http://WCLS.org/ebooks

Public libraries, the American Library Association (ALA), and library advocates around the country are working together to find ways to make eBook services better for patrons. See the Frequently asked questions regarding e-books and U.S. libraries on the ALA website to learn more.

Stay tuned--as one librarian explains it: “At this moment in history, there is great uncertainty about pricing models for eBooks, eMovies, and eMusic. The old paradigm seems broken; a new one has not yet emerged.”