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In March, Alan Inouye, director of the American Library Association’s Office for Information Technology Policy, traveled to France to discuss the U.S. library ebook lending ecosystem at the Salon......

In March, Alan Inouye, director of the American Library Association’s Office for Information Technology Policy, traveled to France to discuss the U.S. library ebook lending ecosystem at the Salon du Livre (in English, the “Paris Book Fair”). There, he served on a lively digital book panel along with Johanna Brinton, a business development executive from OverDrive and Maja Thomas, who is the former senior vice president at Hachette Book Group.

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  • 1. Library Ebook Lending in the USA Salon du Livre (Paris Book Fair) Sponsored by the French Ministry of Culture and Communications March 24, 2014 Alan S. Inouye American Library Association
  • 2. Agenda • Why are we here? • Engaging and learning • Challenges and opportunities • The bigger picture: (E)book lending and the role of libraries • Questions 2
  • 3. A Bit of History • Origins of the library ebook lending problem in the USA and why it is such a controversy • U.S. copyright law: For print books, first sale doctrine enables library lending and much more • Libraries have considerable discretion with print books to use as needed for public purposes 3
  • 4. A Bit of History (2) • Ebooks are available primarily through licensing arrangements—with many constraints • Fundamental change in control and operations – Licensing terms / digital rights management – Role of distributors – Public libraries: Public policy is now a matter of private contracting 4
  • 5. Library Crisis: 2011 into 2012 • In wake of HarperCollins decision from spring 2011 – initiation of 26 circulation model • Simon & Schuster, Macmillan out of library ebook market; Hachette BG offers only backlist • Penguin pulls back from library ebook market • Random House imposes big price increase 5
  • 6. ALA Strategy: Engagement • Many possible avenues to pursue; lots of advice • Focus energy; ALA has limited resources • What would have value in the long run? • Conclusion: Direct engagement with publishers – Later, expanded to publishing ecosystem – Always subject to revision 6
  • 7. Two Plus Years • ALA leadership visits to NYC: – 8 multi-day trips • Conferences: ALA, PLA, AAP, BEA, DBW • Communications – Publications – Articles, op-eds, ―Open Letter to Publishers,‖ media and communications toolkit, Authors for Library Ebooks campaign – Informal 7
  • 8. Publisher Perspectives • Start: Sales displacement, friction, security • Large, complex, multinational organizations • Libraries 101: Library marketing staff v. digital business staff and general managers – Misconceptions – Fears (library and non-library based) • Problem: supporting many platforms/models 8
  • 9. Publisher Perspectives (2) • Publishers often perceived value of ebook higher than print book • The distributor black box • The megaplayers: Amazon, Apple, and Google • Local public library just around the corner for publishers = New York Public Library 9
  • 10. Library Perspectives • Start: Unfairness, hostility • Publishers are real people • Publishing 101: Didn’t know much about publishing marketplace, and digital publishing – Even more difficult because of the rapidly evolving marketplace 10
  • 11. Library Perspectives (2) • Making the business case v. library needs • More than publishers: authors, distributors, retailers, and readers • Libraries far from homogeneous too • More than ―libraries‖ – state libraries, cooperatives, … 11
  • 12. Big Five Current Status • HarperCollins • Penguin Random House – Penguin – Random House • Hachette Book Group • Macmillan • Simon & Schuster 12
  • 13. Some Issues • Progress in 2013, but… • Pricing • Business models: Too many yet too few • Remaining restrictions on availability – Frontlist – Pilots – Consortia 13
  • 14. Some Issues (2) • Facilitating sales: How far should libraries go? • Library-developed platforms • Intermediary platforms – transferring to another • Archiving / preservation • Privacy • And more 14
  • 15. Value Proposition of Library Ebook Lending: For Publishers • Analog to digital: Fundamentally changes the value proposition • Libraries represent direct sales; especially helpful for the backlist and mid-sized/smaller publishers • Ebook discovery/exposure via physical buildings – Decline in physical outlets; rise of Amazon; B&N? – Increasing possibilities of libraries as sales outlets? • Discovery /exposure: The ―growth‖ area? 15
  • 16. Libraries: Facilitating Ebook Discovery and Exposure • Analogies from print book world still in play • Leveraging the digital environment – Library Reads – Illinois Author Project – Orange County (Florida) Shake It app – Gimme (a clue), Scottsdale (Arizona) library – Digital review copies (Edelweiss, Net Galley) 16
  • 17. The Evolving Library • Library as publisher – Promotes community engagement & (digital) literacy – Expansion of self-publishing phenomenon • Reframing: The publishing ecosystem – Implications and possibilities for libraries – And then more than ebooks… – Towards reinventing the future of libraries 17
  • 18. Think Beyond Replicating the Book Model in the Ebook World Reader PublisherLibrary/ Bookseller Author (& Agents) Distributor Reader Publisher Library/ Bookseller Author (& Agents) Distributor 18
  • 19. Discussion - Questions Alan S. Inouye ALA Office for Information Technology Policy Washington, D.C., USA ainouye@alawash.org 202-628-8410 Resources • American Libraries E-Content Blog • American Libraries Supplement on Digital Content 19