Some of you may know that I am celebrating the unboxing of the Mireau family treasures onto library shelving that travels most of the length of my new house. My husband and I are getting up extra early these days to enjoy our reading time before the work day begins. The alarm ringing at 5 is obnoxious but the extra minutes spent with a novel is lovely. I am secretly hoping that it continues to rain so that I can read novels for my vacation next week rather than landscape.
A few of the novels read in the past couple of months have been downloads to the various ereader apps on my iPad. When there is a hole in a collection, or it someone else grabbed the desired item first, or when something is unavailable in the print or digital public library collection in the moment that I want to consume it, an e-book version is a handy alternative. In my world – alternative not replacement.
A few items came my way this week that provoked some personal reflection on electronic books:
1. From Time: Bookless Library Trend (hat tip to John DiGilio aka iBrary Guy)
2. From the scholarly kitchen: The Ticklish Problem of Pricing E-books for Libraries (Thanks to Alicia Posesorski of Irwin Law)
3. From Stephen Abram at Stephen’s Lighthouse: New Textbook Models
4. Simon Chesters Slaw post yesterday about Internet Archive Canada’s financial woes.
The references above make for some very interesting reading and some worrying thoughts. Will the trend of e-books further narrow publisher competition? Will the proliferation of accessible written work increase literacy, decrease monetization, destroy copyrights? Is a scholarly borrowable collection going to be available to non-academics or are license fees and restrictions for academic libraries going to limit access for those outside the insitution? What does all of this mean for my law firm library budget? What does it mean for our clients in terms of the cost of legal services?