Maureen Sullivan is the current president of the American Library Association and has been very busy planning out the largest annual gathering of industry professionals. She took a moment out of her busy schedule to discuss the evolutionary growth of ebooks in the library, how the discovery of content is a top priority, what it took to talk Simon & Schuster and Penguin into joining the library lending model, and how libraries are selling ebooks.
This is the last year Maureen is the president of the ALA and she has overseen dramatic changes in the library industry. One of her big accomplishments was getting several of the top six publishers to loan out their ebooks to libraries all over the USA. She mentioned that initially S&S and Penguin were very hostile to the idea of the entire library concept. It took over a year to sway them by meeting with them regularity, and cooler heads eventually prevailed. The large argument at the time was that if ebooks were given away for free at the library, it would cannibalize the physical and digital sales. Once big data proved this wrong with trials at Brooklyn, Queens, and the New York Public library, the concept caught on. Front-list Penguin titles are now available via 3M and Axis 360, and S&S is now walking down the same path. ALA played a pivotal in this and in the video below, Maureen documents exactly what happened.
Libraries are talking about selling ebooks via their websites and allowing patrons to bypass the waiting lists. This has been the hottest issue at ALA this year and we wonder how can libraries offer the ability to buy content and still stay true to their non-profit concept? Maureen thinks that there is a fine line between meeting community needs and satisfying the publishers. Her main argument was that many bookstores are closing, and libraries are playing a big role in book discovery. It only makes sense to sell digital books and use the money to increase the number of titles they can carry.
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ALA President Maureen Sullivan Discusses eBooks in Libraries is a post from: E-Reader News