Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Are library eBook vendors trying to "cut out the middlemen" -- librarians?

The American Library Association's American Libraries blog has a post by Christopher Harris titled "Does OverDrive Really Care About Libraries?". Harris writes about an email that he received from OverDrive as part of its ISTE conference promotions; here's a quote from his article:

"Instead of speaking as a library partner—a company dedicated to helping provide digital books through libraries—OverDrive seems to be presenting itself to the school technology world as a library replacement. 'Lend your students eBooks from a publisher-supported digital library powered by OverDrive,' the ad states. Never mind, this seems to suggest, lending from a school library that includes ebooks; tap into an OverDrive library replacement that your school can buy after laying off the school librarian."

Harris' primary concern is that eBook vendors, faced with declining school and public library budgets, may start selling their collections as a replacement for, rather than an addition to, physical libraries. However, there's scant evidence that library eBook consolidators are bypassing libraries (at least as of yet.)
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