The fact is that rightsholders do have serious concerns and librarians have not managed to address them. They won’t do it with anger, or with soothing but unfounded assurances that ebooks will be no different from print in their economic impact.
A recent attempt to tackle this concern [that libraries help help book sales] was some research by library ebook supplier Overdrive. It indicated ebook lending had a positive impact on book sales. But it was printed book sales that the survey found benefited. This somewhat misses the point. It’s universally acknowledged that print will be a less important source of income and many books will be digital-only. Publishers and authors are right to be concerned about the impact of lending on ebook sales. In addition, the past history of library ebook lending is largely irrelevant, given that it was mostly PDF files on clunky PCs—nothing like the experience of reading on a Kindle or iPad. And glib assurances that it will all be fine won’t cut it here when so much is at stake.
Librarians must open their minds to these new realities impacting the creators and important downstream services.
Martin Taylor: "Well Done, HarperCollins: Librarians Must Change Old Thinking"
Filed by March 7, 2011on