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Old 02-14-2012, 01:26 AM   #1
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EBook Libraries Don't Need To Be Local

I love having local libraries. They are a wonderful mind stimulus to walk through and just look at whatever kind of book attracts you.

But many libraries are struggling with having to fund buying both print books and ebooks, especially with the draconian methods many publishers are applying to ebook lending.

Ebooks can be downloaded from anywhere and don't have to come to a local library. So a person could live in Vancouver and join a library in Chicago or New York for downloads.

So instead of every regional library trying to buy ebooks, I was wondering if they should just just direct people to major libraries for ebook downloads and focus their budgets on print books.

Yes, there would be an added cost for people to join the second virtual library, but it would help the local library's budget.
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Old 02-14-2012, 01:47 AM   #2
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Actually, the publishers are fighting this kind of thinking, wanting OverDrive to limit ebook access based on whether a library limits ebook access to only those who live in the area or not.

I live in a state that partially funds library from state funds, so it's a state law that any state resident must be allowed by law to have access to any public library in the state. I still have to travel a few hours to get the library card, but I will admit, it's nice having access to more than one site because of it.

I keep waiting for this to change as well...
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Old 02-14-2012, 02:13 AM   #3
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I'm lucky and live in an area with access to over a dozen library systems via reciprocity; and several of these libraries have very large ebook collections. So I'm quite happy with the current arrangement where I live.
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Old 02-14-2012, 02:23 AM   #4
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Old 02-14-2012, 02:26 AM   #5
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Interesting. I think they can write off the Big Six right now. No way the big publishers will ever support this.
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Old 02-14-2012, 02:37 AM   #6
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Interesting. I think they can write off the Big Six right now. No way the big publishers will ever support this.
I'm not sure where that project is headed actually...

On a related note, the P2P distribution system seems to be good enough to keep a large number of books in decent circulation...
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Old 02-14-2012, 03:05 AM   #7
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Ebook libraries are local for precisely the reason that you stated -- they're handled by your local library, to which you pay taxes (assuming you're a property owner, anyway, since most libraries are funded through property taxes). Because it costs money for libraries to get ebooks (duh?), that money has to come from somewhere. You're already paying for your local library, which is why you get free access. Going somewhere not local means that you're not paying for that library through your taxes, which means you're probably going to need to pay a sign-up fee. Some larger libraries have done that (and some larger libraries that did that have shut down their non-resident programs ...). But then the problem is you're double-paying. You're paying for your local library, which you may not use if you're strictly an ebook reader (like me), and you're paying for access somewhere else.

Besides, once you get away from the "public library", adminstered locally and funded by local taxes, there's no reason to go to a "library" at all. At that point you've basically started the ebook equivalent of Netflix or Hulu, and you may as well run it as a for-profit business.
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Old 02-14-2012, 03:10 AM   #8
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Besides, once you get away from the "public library", adminstered locally and funded by local taxes, there's no reason to go to a "library" at all. At that point you've basically started the ebook equivalent of Netflix or Hulu, and you may as well run it as a for-profit business.
Unless we begin to view the network as the public library.

I'm fairly certain there would be no shortage of curators for this library. That would certainly cut down the costs a bit.
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Old 02-14-2012, 03:39 AM   #9
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Unless we begin to view the network as the public library.

I'm fairly certain there would be no shortage of curators for this library. That would certainly cut down the costs a bit.
Well if you're going to go that route, the internet's my library and any book I could ever want to read is available for free if I only look hard enough

There's definitely a market for a legitimate Netflix-for-Ebooks type service, as evidenced by all of the people who fall for the scam sites ("$10/mo gets you access to 1 million ebooks!", serves up Gutenberg). It worked for music (Zune, Rhapsody, Pandora, Spotify, etc), it worked for videos (Netflix, Hulu, VUDU, etc), it can work for ebooks. The problem is getting the publishers onboard at a price point that a) gets people to subscribe, b) allows you to at least break even on operations (public libraries don't do this), and c) keeps the publishers happy enough to keep supplying you with content (see Netflix's ongoing struggles with content providers).
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Old 02-14-2012, 03:52 AM   #10
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Well if you're going to go that route, the internet's my library and any book I could ever want to read is available for free if I only look hard enough

There's definitely a market for a legitimate Netflix-for-Ebooks type service, as evidenced by all of the people who fall for the scam sites ("$10/mo gets you access to 1 million ebooks!", serves up Gutenberg). It worked for music (Zune, Rhapsody, Pandora, Spotify, etc), it worked for videos (Netflix, Hulu, VUDU, etc), it can work for ebooks. The problem is getting the publishers onboard at a price point that a) gets people to subscribe, b) allows you to at least break even on operations (public libraries don't do this), and c) keeps the publishers happy enough to keep supplying you with content (see Netflix's ongoing struggles with content providers).

I am waiting impatiently for Afictionado to reveal more information about their subscription fees. And their launch date.
I would be prepared to pay for a subscription even if it only was Macmillan books.
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Old 02-14-2012, 04:00 AM   #11
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Because it costs money for libraries to get ebooks (duh?), that money has to come from somewhere. You're already paying for your local library, which is why you get free access. Going somewhere not local means that you're not paying for that library through your taxes, which means you're probably going to need to pay a sign-up fee. Some larger libraries have done that (and some larger libraries that did that have shut down their non-resident programs ...). But then the problem is you're double-paying. You're paying for your local library, which you may not use if you're strictly an ebook reader (like me), and you're paying for access somewhere else.
I belong to a bunch of library systems and don't pay anything to borrow ebooks from any of them.
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Old 02-14-2012, 10:59 AM   #12
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Actually, the publishers are fighting this kind of thinking, wanting OverDrive to limit ebook access based on whether a library limits ebook access to only those who live in the area or not.

I live in a state that partially funds library from state funds, so it's a state law that any state resident must be allowed by law to have access to any public library in the state. I still have to travel a few hours to get the library card, but I will admit, it's nice having access to more than one site because of it.

I keep waiting for this to change as well...
I'm in a similar situation in my state. I'm grateful, because the ebook selection at my local public library is pretty bad, skewed heavily towards children's books, cookbooks, and romance novels. Not that there's anything wrong with any of those, but they're not my preferred reading material.

Whenever I travel outside my local area but within the state, I've begun to make it a practice to visit the public library wherever I'm going to pick up a library card. It's quick and painless, and has allowed me to get access to books that I otherwise wouldn't be able to read.
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Old 02-15-2012, 09:01 AM   #13
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It would definitely make sense to have a centralized system - more difficult in the US, but for smaller countries, it could just as easily be funded through central rather than local government (just as long as it wasn't seen as an excuse to claw back unreasonable sums from councils). I wouldn't actually object to paying a small membership fee - several countries already do that.
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Old 02-15-2012, 09:56 AM   #14
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I belong to a bunch of library systems and don't pay anything to borrow ebooks from any of them.
Don't pay a fee maybe. but you pay.
If you own a home it comes out of your property taxes. If you rent it comes out of your landlords property tax which i can assure you is included in your rent. Other services and stores in your area also pay property taxes. Those taxes are are passed along when you make a purchase or use a service.
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Old 02-15-2012, 10:07 AM   #15
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Don't pay a fee maybe. but you pay.
If you own a home it comes out of your property taxes. If you rent it comes out of your landlords property tax which i can assure you is included in your rent. Other services and stores in your area also pay property taxes. Those taxes are are passed along when you make a purchase or use a service.
I'm aware of that. What I was responding to was that people would probably have to pay a fee for joining non-resident libraries. I was just informing toddos that I don't have to.
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