Thursday, June 02, 2016

E-Books and Libraries

Cory Doctorow's latest LOCUS column:

Peace in Our Time

The "peace" in the title refers to the "e-book wars" that pit authors, publishers, and libraries against each other. Giant online booksellers such as Amazon come into the equation, too. I'm not sure I understand the practical details of Doctorow's plan for authors to retail their own books, but I definitely agree (judging from the numbers cited in this article) that publishers are currently ripping off libraries with exorbitant e-book prices. And I didn't know that the Overdrive system was imposed on libraries by publishers.

My personal experience of borrowing an e-book from our local library through Overdrive involved a monumental tome, PAUL AND THE FAITHFULNESS OF GOD, by N. T. Wright, my favorite New Testament scholar. Like most academic-level publications, the book is priced beyond the usual budget of a casual reader. To read it for free from the library, I had a long wait because our county system owns only one "copy" of this volume. Now I know the probable reason for this bottleneck—the library's cost of "buying" from the publisher the right to lend multiple "copies."

Doctorow's article contains lots of information new to me. Interesting discussion even if you don't completely agree with his proposals.

Margaret L. Carter

Carter's Crypt

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