Six speakers, all from different countries, shared the key issues surrounding eBooks and eLending in their regions on Monday’s all day eBook session.
Publishers and authors are generally concerned with the impact of libraries’ eBook circulation and their financial viability. Klaus-Peter Böttger from European Bureau of Library Information and Documentation Associations (EBLIDA) shared a recent case where Dutch libraries went to court to make sure they can lend eBooks. Margaret Allen shared that Australians are generally unhappy with the lack of Australian content and bestsellers’ availability. Keith Fiels of the American Library Association (ALA) covered author concerns on control of works, libraries’ impact on sales and ALA’s positive engagement with the big six (now five) publishers.
Dan Mount from Civic Agenda pointed out that eLending can play a complementary role to eBook sales, citing the example of the eBook titled “The Four Corners of Sky”, which was checked out 24,000 times in the first nine days and rose 50,000 places on the Amazon Sales Rank Charts. He advocates that the long-term focus should be on consumer satisfaction rather than on the pre-occupation with restricting illegal access.
YS Chit from the International Publishers Association (IPA) framed the scenario’s challenges neatly in nine “E’s”:
IFLA Governing Board member Paul Whitney updated us on a newly approved IFLA Background Paper on eLending where libraries, publishers and authors are to agree to reasonable terms and conditions for the library acquisition of eBooks. Also, that a publishers and authors are not to restrict a library’s ability to license and/or purchase eBooks for library collections.