Ebooks and Libraries: Like Peanut Butter & Chocolate or Oil & Water?

Last week I participated in an online Twitter conversation led by Charlotte Abbott at Follow the Reader.  When Charlotte asked me to be a guest in the discussion the topic was how to increase ebook adoption in libraries.  We knew the topic was going to be interesting when the conversation got intense on twitter before the discussion even got started, summed up here Will E-Books Really Destroy Libraries?

There is a great recap of the Twitter discussion at Follow the Reader,  Quest for a Viable Library E-Book Licensing Model. Charlotte has divided the tweets in to category or subject:

  • Pay-Per-Circulation E-Book Licensing
  • Or Based on Average Circulation?
  • Or Staged Release for Library E-Books?
  • What about DRM?
  • Negotiating E-Book Licenses
  • E-Book Usability Issues for Librarians

You can see complete transcripts from WhattheHashTag.

This Twitter conversation was great an intense and I really enjoyed it.  I love that it has inspired some blog posts and discussion around library land.

7 thoughts on “Ebooks and Libraries: Like Peanut Butter & Chocolate or Oil & Water?

  1. As a school librarian, I’ve been reticent to jump on the eBook bandwagon for all of the reasons that were discussed on twitter. Frankly, the industry has made embracing this technology at the school library level at best clunky and at worst completely undesirable. However. if you watch this video (starting at around 5.40) it makes having eBooks available in some form, particularly one that allows for bookmarking and annotation, seem like something of an imperative — particularly for those students for whom the traditional “analog classroom” is a recipe for disaster. Here’s the video: http://www.boingboing.net/2010/06/11/philip-zimbardo-on-t.html


    1. Jennifer, great video! Thank you for sharing the link.
      Libraries are in a tough spot there are all sorts of reasons why we need to adopt ebooks but DRM issues make it much more difficult than it needs to be.


  2. I think a better pair of scenarios is “Like Newspapers and The Web, or Like Travel Agents and The Web?” Either we’re going to reinvent ourselves in bold new directions, or our industry will shrink to a shadow of its former self as more and more core services get frozen out of the market.

    I think it’s most helpful to assume that the battle is already over, and that libraries lost, and that we will never again have the same opportunity to distribute commercial content that we did in the years between Gutenberg and Berners-Lee. If a great solution comes along, that’s awesome, but pinning the future of libraries on publishers inviting us into the distribution channel is wistfully poor strategy. We may be at the table, but we have no cards.


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