Friday, October 28, 2011

First sale doctrine

Thanks to Jeff Donlan, director of the Salida Regional Library District, for this link: "The Digital Death of Copyright's First Sale Doctrine" by AnneMarie Bridy.

The issue is very clearly laid out in this blog post: the difference between copyright (the author's ownership of the rights to the work) and sale of a copy (the particular instance of that work) is what has allowed the flourishing of a rich marketplace of ideas. We buy a book at full price, and pass it along or resell it at a used book store. The author stills owns the copyright, but the copy moves through many hands. And so it finds many readers.

In the Digital Age, triggered by the infamous software EULA (End User License Agreement) and the assertion of new rights (I'm only letting you access this, you don't own the copy), suddenly that open market place is shutting down. Authors -- or more usually, publishers -- are asserting that copyright and copy are the same. Nothing is for sale. It's only for lease.

Does this make sense in the software world? I would argue that it doesn't. But my main interest is the transfer of this issue to the ebook publishing world. The ironic result is that this will result in less recognition for authors -- fewer readers, fewer sales, less influence, and ultimately, a probable real decline in literacy.

This issue is precisely the thing my library is trying to address through its establishment of its own publishing platform. We're happy to pay for what we use, and happy, even, to push our patrons to places where they can buy what we helped them find. But we are opposed to the removal of "first sale" altogether. Our mission is to promote literacy, after all, not to erode it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

NISO - The e-Book Renaissance conference

Interesting conference. I've been tweeting at #nisoebook. Will come back later to add some of the big takeaways, but the main one is an obvious thing to get from a National Information Standards Organization conference: standards (file formats, accessibility guidelines) matter.

Just listened to Steve Paxhia, who gave a great snapshot about ebook adoption by various markets. The big thing here is that ebook adoption is still on the upswing, about 25% of market, and that they are active library users eager for more content. They read more than others.

And if I may opine here, I think they would like, very much, to be able to donate the books they've bought back to the library.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Training staff on ebooks and ereaders

The amazing Sue Polanka spoke at our recent Colorado Association of Libraries conference about all things ebook. She has become a trusted business intelligence reporter, and has the most comprehensive -- and clear -- presentation on what's up than anyone I've run across.

As she recently blogged at her No shelf required site, she and I talked about strategies to get library staff better informed about ebooks and ebook readers. Such training tends to be expensive and slippery. It costs a lot - in equipment, presenter time, or staff time - to give a solid introduction to all the issues, and unless a staff member USES that particular device, it all fades away fast.

So my library did something different. We asked our Foundation board to offer a $50 rebate to any staff member who bought a Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iPad, Android tablet, or HP Touchpad (this last was my idea, and yeah, I know HP pulled the plug on it). The board thought it was brilliant. We gave our staff three months to do it: the month before we announced the rebate (so as not to punish our early adopters), the current month, and the next month. And we gave the full $50 AFTER taxes (it counts as compensation). Out of about 320 staff members, 104 took us up on it. And now, they train themselves, get together regularly to compare notes over lunch, and find themselves far more able to support the devices of our patrons. It was cheap, effective, and quick. It moved the whole staff rapidly forward in tech savvy. Recommended.

Sharon Morris on Trends

For the past several years (since 2008), the Colorado State Library's Director of Library Development and Innovation, Sharon Morris, has given a talk at the annual Colorado Association of Libraries conference about library trends. She has a sharp eye, and I find that the things she picks are the things to watch. I'm pleased to report that she's put up a site, here, where she briefly summarizes her observations. She also, from time to time, posts her thoughts about various issues. Highly recommended. - Welcome

In November of 2018, I left my position at ALA in Chicago to return to my Colorado-based writing, speaking, and consulting career. So I'...