Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ebooks: The New Normal

On Wednesday, October 12, I had the privilege of attending the second annual virtual conference on eBooks, “Ebooks: The New Normal.” While the summit did not inspire me as much as the last year’s, I wanted to share with you the best of the many unique ideas presented.

As one of the opening keynote speakers, school librarian and author of the The Unquiet Librarian blog, Buffy Hamilton, had a lot to say about equality, access, and how libraries need to take advantage of a situation of confusion. She asserted that libraries need to make themselves an integral part of the eBook learning experience. She also voiced concerns about a lack of a standard DRM (Digital Rights Management), meaning all eBooks would work in exactly the same way, and about privacy issues with patrons using Kindles in the States. (If you would like to know more, Librarian by Day has written an amazing article on the deal that U.S. libraries cut with Amazon.)

In the session “Ebooks: Strategy (Not) Required,” Susan Lyons, Learning and Engagement Manager of the Richmond County Public Library talked about an amazing outreach program called “The EReady Takeover.” After noticing a number of customers in a restaurant using portable reading devices, Susan partnered with the venue and spent a day teaching people how to download library eBooks. To do so, her library created a mobile lab and gathered a team of 8 librarians. Since their first outing, the library has partnered with 12 other local business. Susan said that it has been a great opportunity to dialogue with non-library users, as only 10% of those helped were aware of the library’s eBook collection.

Lastly, Eli Neiburger, who was part of a panel presentation entitled “The ebook Evolution: How They’ll Change Public Libraries,” spoke passionately about how libraries need to focus on diversifying their value. He cautioned that we are currently in an eBook pricing bubble and that at some point disruptive technologies will cause this bubble to burst. Therefore, libraries should be creating content and services that are unique to their communities. Besides programming and working with local groups, he said libraries could be circulating items which could not be found elsewhere. Due to current licensing models and the fact that libraries do not actually own their digital content, Eli felt that this strategy would be the best way hedging against rapid demand shifts.

1 comment:

  1. Hello,
    Now any type of e book available in net you can