This December, OIF is celebrating 50 years of fighting for intellectual freedom: half a century of championing libraries, finding allies within the literary community, and aiding librarians in times of high anxiety. It’s an evolving role to be cherished and safeguarded. Lighting the flame At the 1965 Midwinter Meeting preconference in Washington, D.C., the Intellectual … Continue reading 50 Years of Intellectual Freedom
Author Archive: James LaRue
Like the United States and Canada, Australia has struggled with ebook prices that are too high, platforms with unpredictable fees, and licenses that are hostile to libraries, users, and authors alike. Inspired by various examples in the US (the Internet Archive, Douglas County [Colo.] Libraries, Califa Group), the good people at New South Wales established … Continue reading Indyreads: Australia’s New
Gluejar’s Eric Hellman has been doing some volunteer work for the Library Freedom Project, which has launched a most worthy initiative called the Library Digital Privacy Pledge. The idea is this: If we’re serious about the values expressed in the third article of the American Library Association Code of Ethics (“We protect each library user’s … Continue reading The Library Digital Privacy Pledge
On the one hand, some important information from previous studies has been confirmed: “Patrons purchased 50% of the ebooks they read in the past 12 months and received 50% for free.” In other words, we’re still helping people find ebooks, and they buy about half of them. What the library doesn’t buy, of course, does … Continue reading Have Ebook Readers Given Up on the Library?
Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, describes a situation that has prevailed in academe for some time now. Universities pay scholars to research and publish. Then libraries are forced to buy back that research at prices that are rapidly becoming unsustainable. To compound injury with insult, university libraries must also buy … Continue reading Elsevier and Open Access Journals
So what does it mean? First, it appears that 3M wasn’t finding the business all that profitable. I suspect that’s because although 3M’s interface is arguably far superior to that of OverDrive, our patrons have now gone through the initial agony of learning OverDrive’s app and don’t stray much beyond it. OverDrive (which itself was … Continue reading From 3M to Bibliotheca
What can we glean from this shift? First, despite an appealing design and many feature-for-feature advantages over the Amazon experience, Oyster by itself couldn’t topple the e-tailer giant’s lead. Second, it ain’t over. Google is still in the business of selling ebooks, and Google is a credible contender in the marketplace. Third, it’s hard to … Continue reading Oyster “Acqui-hired”
The result? Sales have fallen. Worstall notes that three big publishers that signed new deals with Amazon—Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, and Simon & Schuster—saw their ebook revenues drop in the last reporting period. Who could have foreseen it? Other than, well, everybody. Raising the price almost always means fewer sales. Lowering the price means … Continue reading Breaking News: Water Is Wet
The surprising answer, argues Johnson, is that they are doing pretty well. Musicians are definitely not making as much from Spotify and Pandora as they made from CDs. On the other hand, they are making quite a bit more on live performances. There seem to be, in fact, more musicians making a living at it … Continue reading Creative Apocalypse: Canceled or Delayed?
Our first keynote came from Lee Rainie, director of internet, science, and technology at Pew Research Center. He shared some soon-to-be-published data (keep an eye on libraries.pewinternet.org) that’s worth thinking about. He paired two trends: On the one hand, enthusiasm for the public library and librarians is on the rise. On the other, library use … Continue reading New Reports: Ebooks, Libraries, and Reading Trends
In brief, this three-way partnership between the New York Public Library (NYPL), DPLA, and First Book (with support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services) seeks to make free ebooks accessible to low-income children between the ages of 0 and 18. The books will be made available through the NYPL Library Simplified app (available in … Continue reading The Open Ebooks Initiative
But let’s focus on a new and better story. Disruption clears a path for pioneers, visionaries who see an opportunity where others see a threat. When it comes to ebooks, a few publishers are worthy of note. They not only experiment with technology in ways that significantly enhance the product, but they also reach out … Continue reading Digital publishing: In praise of pioneers