Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Library Pros and Cons of ebooks

Ebooks are great for many people but the library has to think of a few pros and cons that the individual buyer doesn't have to consider.  The advantages to ebooks for a library would be that they can extend the physical boundaries of the library. Patrons are not restricted to library hours, they can download a book at 3 am on Sunday morning if they want - content is available 24/7. Also, ebooks don't take up room on the shelf and they can never be lost or damaged - they'll always be there for someone.

The down-side to ebooks, from a library point of view, is that they are more expensive to purchase than print and their use is restricted with digital rights management. Content is often leased rather than owned due to vendor license agreements. Often there are also annual fees required to guarantee perpetual access to content. Some publisher content may not be available for library lending - Macmillan, Simon  Schuster, Hachette, and Penguin group do not sell ebooks to libraries or library vendors. Random House raised its prices in March tripling the cost of an ebook to libraries. Ebooks also require technology in order for the user to read them which limits some patrons from having access.

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