Will loosening up e-lending rules ultimately hurt book sales? Kenney says that’s not necessarily the case. “Because they’re licensed, I would argue publishers have an opportunity here to be creative,” he says. “The HarperCollins model is one interesting model; I would certainly entertain a variety of other models from publishers. … This is a very different world that we’re in, and I think that it’s an opportunity for publishers and librarians to sort of work together to figure out, how can we sustain readers? How can publishers thrive? How can libraries also thrive?”
But libraries also need to be open to experimentation, he adds. “They need to hear different solutions coming in the marketplace from publishers and just say, ‘OK, we’re gonna give that a shot … things are changing, and the publishers need to experiment. We might not think that what they’re doing might even be working, but we need to give it a fair shot.’ “
We’re all waiting to see if the Macmillan ebook program for libraries set to launch in 2013 will be an example of the creativity Kenney is talking about.
The report says, “Only two publishing houses, HarperCollins and Random House, will license their most popular books to libraries in digital form.”
While it’s accurate that both of these companies do license new (frontlist) titles we’ve seen Penguin (via 3M Cloud Drive) and Macmillan (coming) offering libraries some older (backlist) titles. Hachette also continues to license some backlist material to libraries. Of course, it’s also worth mentioning that in 2012 both Random House and Hachette announced significant price increases for libraries who want to license the ebooks that they make available.
A full text transcript of the audio is also available.