Librarians have become an important constituency at Book Expo America (BEA), showing up in increasing numbers year after year to hear publishers pitch their latest offerings. This year, however, BEA won’t just be about the books librarians will buy, but how they will buy them, and, in the case of e-books, if they can buy them at all.
In the past 18 months, the Suffolk consortium’s e-book expenditures have tripled. In the first few months of 2011 alone, [Diane] Eidelman, [administrator for member services at the Suffolk Cooperative Library System] says, the library system has increased its e-book budget by 66%. And still, patrons can’t get e-books fast enough. Earlier this month, the e-book version of James Patterson’s 2010 thriller, Don’t Blink, had a staggering 108 holds, she says, even though the library tries to purchase enough copies so there are no more than two reserves at a time. “We’ll probably have to buy more copies,” she notes. “We believe that’s good customer service. But it is incredibly expensive. E-book purchases really are almost patron-driven at this point, and every few months we put more money into e-books.”
Bill Rodgers, library resources division manager at Minnesota’s Hennepin County Library System, also offers some eye-opening statistics. Without even a year’s worth of data, Hennepin has already increased its e-book budget 10-fold, to $350,000 from its initial $35,000 commitment. In the summer of 2010, downloads numbered around 1,500 monthly, Rodgers told PW. By December, downloads increased to over 7,000. By March 2011, e-book checkouts numbered 17,480.
Note 1: The article also includes a quote from Josh Marwell, VP of Sales, at HarperCollins about HCOD:
At a symposium at the Darien, Conn., Public Library on April 5, HarperCollins’s Marwell acknowledged the publisher’s deepest fear‚ that library e-books would turn “legions of buyers into borrowers.” But he also softened his stance, saying the 26-lend limit may be flexible, and he urged continued dialogue. “We’re in the water,” he said.
See Also: International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) Digital Book 2011 Conference (at BEA)
Co-Located at the BEA.
Lean More: IPDF Conf. Web Site
Learn More: Conference Program