Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Forbes on ebooks and libraries

David Vinjamuri, author of one book published through traditional publishing, and another self-published, wrote the first of what looks to be a provocative series. He calls it "The Wrong War Over eBooks: Publishers Versus Libraries."

I wrote him to correct the first version of this. I told him, I believe, "I saw a decrease in USE (not youth or youth readership) that was hard to explain because our libraries are busy."

Vinjamuri is an astute writer, although I’d challenge this statement: "For better or worse, publishers are unlikely to adopt a pricing model for eBooks that mirrors how print books are sold to libraries." My library bought some 18,000 titles from publishers who DID agree to our Statement of Common Understanding. That Common Understand captures a lot of things close to the First Sale doctrine.

I still think of it like this: the Big 5 (and shrinking) aren’t the only game in town, and what’s good for them isn’t necessarily good for the author, or the reader.

But I’ve wondered why nobody pitched this model before. It's metered reading, and I can well understand why publishers might want that – for some books. I remain reluctant to give up the idea of ownership. I think the public isn’t well-served by the sacrifice of First Sale.

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