Author Archive: James LaRue

50 years of the Office for Intellectual Freedom

50 Years of Intellectual Freedom

November 1, 2017

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


Screenshot from Indyreads

Indyreads: Australia’s New
E-Content Platform

May 16, 2016

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
E-Content Platform




Open access

Elsevier and Open Access Journals

November 10, 2015

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


3M Logo - RGB Pro Size1

From 3M to Bibliotheca

October 8, 2015

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


Screenshot from Oysterbooks.com.

Oyster “Acqui-hired”

September 22, 2015

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”


Amazon box

Breaking News: Water Is Wet

September 14, 2015

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 view from Cheyenne Mountain Resort, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Photo by James LaRue)

New Reports: Ebooks, Libraries, and Reading Trends

July 29, 2015

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


President Barack Obama announces the Open Ebooks Initiative at Anacostia Library in Washington, D.C., on April 30, 2015.

The Open Ebooks Initiative

July 17, 2015

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