Monday, January 16, 2012

Libraries and ebooks discussed in Washington Post

A Washington Post article on January 13, 2012 described problems libraries have stocking their virtual shelves with digital content, including the restrictions placed by publishers on library access to many ebook titles.

Going to the library used to be like going to "Wal-Mart: Everything you need and want is there," but with ebooks everything has changed, the article noted.

Of course, this isn't news to librarians, but in the past many of the library-going public hasn't been aware of the barriers a library faces in offering ebooks to its patrons. Maybe the word is finally getting out. This makes (at least) the third mainstream media article on the subject in less than a month. In late December 2011 published a good article on how to check out ebooks from the library, with details on the complicated landscape of licensing restrictions, formats, and DRM. On December 24, 2011, just as many consumers were about to receive new ereaders for Christmas, the New York Times documented the ebook tug of war between publishers and libraries.