Public Libraries, Ebooks and the Digital Divide


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My part of the TLA Publications Advisory Board panel presentation at the 2013 Tennessee Library Association Conference on April 25. Fellow panelists included Alison DePollo, Amy York, Meredith Goins and Martha Earl.

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  • Poverty rates for the entire country in 2011 were 11.7 percent for families and 15.9 percent for all individuals, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.
  • Looking at the Pew Internet Report, Tablets and E-book Reader Ownership Nearly Double Over the Holiday Gift-Giving Period from January 2013, device ownership for tablets and ereaders nearly doubled from 10-19% - percentage of people who own e-readers with a house hold income of less than $30K who owned an ereader is 8% as of mid-Jan 2012 versus the 19% of the $30-50K group & $50-75K group and the 31% of the $75 + group.Versions of ereaders have dropped to less than $100 but for those who are on the far side of the digital divide due to financial reasons, growth is still at half the rate of the middle income groups and then less than a fourth of the upper income groups.Even among the middle to upper income there is a 12% gap and that gap grows to 20% in regard to tablet ownership. So it’s a bit worrisome when we see people talking about how tablets will replace pcs in the future to think about these gaps in ownership between the different income levels and how the potential opportunities will differ for each group as more services move online, especially government services. For example is everyone aware that social security now requires direct deposit? As of March 1 it was required, people are still receiving checks but the ssa is contacting people who are not doing direct deposit. if you look at the Connect TN website for rural and low income seniors
  • Connectivity is an issue too. This is from the Connect TN web site of seniors own a computer, 17% a mobile device, and with low income that drops to 36% and 8%Now if computer ownership and mobile ownership are below the state average in TN, what do you think it ereader ownership rates are?
  • More than three-quarters of libraries (76.3 percent) offer access to ebooks, a significant increase (9.1percent) from last year. Additionally, ebook readers are available for checkout at 39.1 percent of public libraries, an increase of 28%
  • So what are public libraries doing? Well we are participating in READS and buying other ebook collections for our patrons with devices to enjoy. I’m pleased that Overdrive/READs now has the capacity to read an ebbook on a computer which means that the 92% of people with incomes of less that $30K can read on their computer or use a library computer to access the ebooks depending on how your library allows time for computers. Ours is no time limit unless people are waiting. Douglass County has negotiated and is hosting it’s own ebook collections from SmashWords ($4 a title for 10,000 titles), Gale and Lerner Digital. They have their own Adobe Content Server for hosting these collections.Biblio Tech in TX which will have 10,000 ebook titles, 150 readers- 50 for children plus desktop computers, tablets and laptops for use at the library. Opening in the Fall.39% of Libraries are circulating ereaders. WCPLtn started last year with a few nooks and we are adding some mini ipads due to….
  • right when libraries were getting comfortable, starting to loan ereaders and yeah, B&N had a great reader program for libraries, they were sued. Free Public Library of Philadelphia and Sacramento PL were sued by the National Federation for the Blind with the end result that all ereaders circulated by libraries must have TTS capacity.
  • Heather Lambert, the TSLA State Continuing Education Coordinator, sent an email to the Tennessee Libraries listserv notifying us that that there will be a call to action to update your library’s information for this site. It is focused on digital training and the initiative will launch March 21. Connect2Compete
  • Programs, free classes to learn how to download which frequently result in showing people how to operate their devices, sharing tips
  • One-on-one assistance for 30 minutes for a focused issue, follow-up computer classes, resume reviewStaffing, may walk-in or may make an apt. Encourage apts.
  • Wild West with a variety of business models and it doesn’t look like things are calming down soon. Collusion has to be avoided.Harper Collins – 26 checkoutRandom House – high prices Penguin – new pilot program, pricing ? Recently merged with RHMacmillan - plans to run a pilot project in the first quarter of the year that will charge libraries $25 per copy for a selection of 1,200 back catalog Minotaur Books titles, but give buyers better than usual lending rights for either two years or 52 loans, depending on the popularity. They'll only have permission to lend to one person at a time for each copySimon an Schuster -Simon & Schuster signed a deal last week with 3M and the NYPL to distribute eBooks into libraries. Hachette - allows only eBook titles published before April 2010 to be available to libraries, and recently increased prices for libraries to purchase a title. the past decade and especially in the last two years, corporate publishers have continued to move ahead and add books and then take away access or raise prices.  But overall, it is progress.Currently, Random House, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster allow access to all of their titles (although S&S is in a test with three libraries). Hachette has most of their backlist available, as does Penguin. Macmillan allows a select list of titles. There are also some key publishers not yet in. Included in this group are Scholastic and Norton.
  • “Over the past decade and especially in the last two years, corporate publishers have continued to move ahead and add books and then take away access or raise prices.  But overall, it is progress. … There are also some key publishers not yet in. Included in this group are Scholastic and Norton”.
  • the current different models for public libraries
  • result is a variety of pricing for librariesNone of the titles are available through Smashwords.A few of the titles are over 20 years old and not in our catalog – that is why you see that B&T has a price but not Ingram.A few of the titles have print material forthcoming, but you cannot actually purchase the print book today.
  • Public Libraries, Ebooks and the Digital Divide

    1. 1. Tennessee Library Association 2013 ConferencePublications Advisory Board Panel Presentation
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    3. 3. 2001 (NOV) – HarperCollins signs deal with Overdrive to distribute eBooks.2008 (MAR) – Random House signs with Overdrive. 6,500 titles.2010 (APR) – Hachette stops selling any new titles to libraries. Backlist remains.2011 (FEB) – HarperCollins institutes the 26-check out expiration.2011 (MAR) – Amazon establishes it’s own lending library.2012 (FEB) – Penguin cancels Overdrive contract.2012 (MAR) – Random House hikes price of books by 3x.2012 (JUN) – Penguin and 3M in test with NYPL and Brooklyn Public.2012 (SEP) – Hachette raises prices by 2x.2012 (OCT) – Penguin test successful, rolled out to others.2012 (OCT) – Amazon extends lending library to UK, Germany and France.2013 (MAR) – Macmillan makes 1,200 titles available.2013 (MAY) – S&S announces ALL titles available in test with 3M and Axis360. 18, 2013
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