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According to the American Library Association there are 121,169 libraries of all types in the US. The largest portion of that number can be found in schools: 99,180. There are around 4,000 in academic libraries, another 8,000 in specialty libraries such as law or medical libraries, 1300 in government libraries, including military libraries and 8,951 public libraries housed in over 16,000 buildings.

That's a lot of books, but this week we are only looking at the ones in the public libraries. Those you would find in your neighborhood, city or county.

I don't know about your town, but in mine, which is located in the Mojave Desert, our branch library provides more than books. During the summer it operates as an unofficial  cooling center for those lacking AC or evaporative cooling in their homes. The tables and chairs fill early with people reading books, magazines and newspapers on those scorching hot summer days.

But all year long you can find residents at the banks of computers that our library provides for their use. It is where students can do their research, visitors can check their emails and patrons can access the library catalogue.

It is easy, looking around the limited space to imagine a day when most of the books will be gone, and only those that are specific to this geographic area and/or include extensive maps, diagrams and pictures will remain. And just as the cassette tapes of audiobooks were replaced, first by CDs and then by MP3s, many books will be available only in a digital format.

Books Fly Into a Computer
I can imagine a coffee bar right over there, in that corner. And wall displays of digital book covers on touch screens that allow patrons to browse a book, read the cover blurb and even access reviews of it. Chairs will be casually grouped around charging stations for digital readers, which the library will also lend.

Librarians will be able to spend more time assisting patrons with research questions and less time shelving books. More children's activities and literacy programs can be conducted.

I know that image probably strikes fear and disgust into the hearts of those who love the paper books we have grown up with, but there is no real need to worry too much, as that day is still a long way off. First we have to get to the point where digital books are completely integrated into our lending libraries.

Currently there are six big publishing firms that together account for 51% of the market share of books. They work with three library ebook distributors, OverDrive, 3M and Baker & Taylor. The libraries buy their ebooks mostly through one of these three distributors. As far as eBook agreements go, they vary by publisher.

  • Simon & Schuster Last month Simon & Schuster began a one year pilot program that will offer its entire catalogue of ebooks at prices close to retail with unlimited check-outs with the standard caveat that they can only be loaned to one patron at a time. Unfortunately, the pilot program will only be offered to the three New York Public Library Systems. So, if you hold a library card at  The New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library or the Queens Library you should have access to all Simon & Schuster books.
  • Penguin, which suspended sales of its ebooks to libraries in 2011 reversed that decision in April of this year and is now selling its catalogue of ebooks to libraries. The price will be the same as retail and must be re-purchased every year. But still feeling no love for Amazon, Penguin will not be dealing with OverDrive which is the only ebook distributor for libraries to fully support the Kindle.
  • MacMillan announced its launch of a pilot program in January, 2013.
    The pilot is limited to 1,200 older titles from the Minotaur Books mystery and crime fiction imprint (part of Macmillan’s St. Martins division). Libraries will be able to lend out the ebooks for two years or 52 times, whichever comes first, before having to buy a new copy. According to Library Journal, each ebook will cost $25. The ebooks will be available through three different digital library distributors at launch: OverDrive, 3M Cloud Library and Baker & Taylor’s Axis 360.
    According to OverDrive, the pilot program has proved so successful that MacMillan has broadened it to include more titles.
  • Hachett has just completed a pilot program and announced that they will be making their entire catalogue of over 5000 titles available to public libraries. They will charge three times the price of a primary edition, when new, and will allow unlimited checkouts, although to only one patron at a time. A year after publication in print, the price will drop to 1.5 times the highest priced edition then in print. The good news is that the library will not have to buy a new book every year. Hachette is working with all three major distributors, Overdrive, Baker & Taylor and 3M.
  • Random House (which is expected to complete its merger with Penguin later this year), like Penguin, is offering its entire catalogue to libraries at three times the cost of retail. But, subject to the one ebook, one user at a time, restriction, the ebook does not have to be repurchased.
  • HarperCollins allows its books to be licensed for 26 uses. After it has been checked out 26 times, it disappears. HarperCollins books are available through 3M Cloud Library and Baker & Taylor's Axis 360.
In an interesting experiment, Sourcebooks and OverDrive have launched an event that will hopefully show what effect library ebooks can have on a book's sales. For fifteen days, ending June 1, OverDrive will offer, to its 35,000 libraries, free access to Four Corners of the Sky by Michael Malone. They will track the sales of the book as well as the sales of other books by the same author it see if there is any impact.

Public Libraries are the backbone of our democracy, providing the means for a citizenry to remain well informed. They are often the hub of their communities. Providing access to news as well as literature, libraries have always evolved to keep pace with the world around them. Gone are the card catalogues of yesterday that used to stand at the center of every library in the country. Filling new shelves are DVDs and CDs that offer different ways to experience the written word. Computers have made themselves at home amidst the stacks of printed books and offer some Americans their only link to the online world.

Eventually, ebooks will be integrated seamlessly into the library experience. The path between then and now may have some bumps and detours, but it will lead, someday, to a new destination for readers that will give them access to all of the works of all the publishers.

Readers & Book Lovers Series Schedule

DAY TIME (EST/EDT) Series Name Editor(s)
SUN 6:00 PM Young Reader's Pavilion The Book Bear
Sun 9:30 PM SciFi/Fantasy Book Club quarkstomper
Bi-Monthly Sun Midnight Reading Ramblings don mikulecky
MON 2:00 PM Political Books Susan from 29
Mon 8:00 PM Monday Murder Mystery Susan from 29, michelewln
Mon 11:00 PM My Favorite Books/Authors edrie, MichiganChet
TUES 5:00 PM Indigo Kalliope: Poems from the Left bigjacbigjacbigjac
alternate Tuesdays 8:00 AM LGBT Literature Texdude50, Dave in Northridge
alternate Tuesdays 8:00 AM All Things Bookstore Dave in Northridge
Tue 8:00 PM Contemporary Fiction Views bookgirl
WED 7:30 AM WAYR? plf515
Wed 2:00 PM e-books Susan from 29
Wed 8:00 PM Bookflurries Bookchat cfk
THU 8:00 PM Write On! SensibleShoes
Thu (first each month) 11:00 AM Monthly Bookpost AdmiralNaismith
Thu (third each month - on hiatus) 11:00 PM Audiobooks Club SoCaliana
FRI 8:00 AM Books That Changed My Life Diana in NoVa
Fri 6:00 PM Books Go Boom! Brecht
SAT (fourth each month) 11:00 AM Windy City Bookworm Chitown Kev
Sat 9:00 PM Books So Bad They're Good Ellid

Originally posted to Readers and Book Lovers on Wed May 29, 2013 at 11:25 AM PDT.

Also republished by Progressive Friends of the Library Newsletter and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thank you! (9+ / 0-)

    I had no idea there were so many differences between the ebook publisher/library agreements. I will definitely bookmark this post.

    For non-tech/research books, my library uses Overdrive and one other distributor, one of them with about 3000 titles and another with about 5000. I think this is combined ebook and downloadable audio. So far I've only downloaded the audiobooks. There are fewer of those than I'd like but often one or some by most authors I look up. (And thanks again btw for recommending Tana French, Susan -- I loved her books.)

    "Sometimes paranoia's just having all the facts." William S. Burroughs

    by scilicet on Wed May 29, 2013 at 11:45:48 AM PDT

    •  I'm on the last chapter of Faithful Place audio- (6+ / 0-)

      book by Tana French. The Irish accent sounds authentic. Thanks for recommending audiobooks. I love them. Rachel Maddow narrates her book Drift, which was a real treat.

      My library uses OverDrive, but does not provide downloadable audiobooks. I still have to get in the car and drive over there to pick up the physical disc. It's a tough life. But if they would install that coffee bar, I would do it more often.

      •  that narrator! (3+ / 0-)

        I loved his accent and how he differentiated between characters in dialogue. I thought the female narrator of The Likeness did an amazing job too, not only with the heroine's voice but with that of Frank, the main character of Faithful Place who has a smaller role in The Likeness. The guy who narrates Adrian McKinty's "Troubles" series has (or puts on) a wonderful Irish accent, as well. If I hadn't switched to Neal Stephenson books, I'd be thinking with an Irish accent by now.

        "Sometimes paranoia's just having all the facts." William S. Burroughs

        by scilicet on Wed May 29, 2013 at 12:46:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I do most of my reading on Kindle but (7+ / 0-)

    just to be fair, I've bought a Nook e-reader and a Nook tablet.
       Both companies have excellent selections.
      It's too bad that the publishers are dragging their feet in cooperating with libraries. B&N and Amazon have millions of titles for sale. Why can't all those titles be available to e-reader customers of the public libraries?
       I would point out, though, that both Nook and Amazon have thousands of titles available for free,as well as many many low cost digital books by independent authors (such as myself.)
       So there is a great variety of free/low cost reading out there for e-reader owners, even without the libraries.

    •  Publishers would rather not do any ebook (15+ / 0-)

      business with libraries. Or print business. They would rather we all purchased our books. If not directly from them, from a source other than Amazon.

      From their point of view, every book borrowed from a library is one less sale. Of course, that ignores the fact that with the growth of online booksellers and the shrinking independent booksellers, the local library could become the best place for most readers to browse. They usually display new books prominently and I have never been stopped from browsing and taking pics of books I may want to buy online.

      I am beginning to research the reach of other publishers and independents, such as yourself, into the library market. I don't even know if one of the three distributors would even include self-published ebooks. Whatever I find out will appear in a later section of this series.

      •  they count on libraries to buy about 3500 copies (11+ / 0-)

        even of genre books they don't promote. I think publishers have drastically cut back on "small" books, but it used to be they'd take chances on some, giving them 1st hardcover print runs of 3500, since they knew they'd sell that many. Those guaranteed sales were just one more way libraries helped so many new writers.

        "Sometimes paranoia's just having all the facts." William S. Burroughs

        by scilicet on Wed May 29, 2013 at 12:59:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It is a love-hate relationship with libraries. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Susan from 29, pedmom, EverGrateful

          Publishers do both at the same time: regret the lost sales that borrowed books represent and depend on the baseline of sales to libraries. The evidence of the second attitude is easily seen at every both the ALA mid-summer and mid-winter conventions, where you have every large and plenty of small publishers packing the vendor hall to give books away to librarians in the hopes that they'll buy them for their library, school, etc. Most of the time, these are advance copies, so it's really aimed at getting that baseline of copies sold.

          The whole ebook problem is partly because they just haven't worked out how to do it properly yet. They're trying to adapt from practices laid down for print materials or databases, neither of which really fits. Hopefully, this will all shake out in a few years as the technology and demand mature, but we'll have to wait and see on that one.

          I do wish, though, that Overdrive wasn't the go-to for most libraries for ebook services. It's too cumbersome a platform and doesn't really allow direct interface with e-readers. If we're lucky, the standard will finally be resolved to ePub as the format of choice and other platforms will have a chance. I do not, however, blame Overdrive for the lack of Kindle compatibility; that's entirely Amazon's fault, along with other practices like retaining the ability to erase anything on your Kindle, even if you legitimately purchased it. If they'd just make the Kindle able to read ePub files like the Nook and other e-readers can...but then they'd have to give up some control and they'd sooner cut off their own arms than do that.

          Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. Sun Tzu The Art of War

          by Stwriley on Thu May 30, 2013 at 10:59:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  the compatability thing is maddening (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Stwriley, Susan from 29, EverGrateful

            For me the problem is with audiobooks. Overdrive offers pretty much all of them in mp3 form, which is iTunes friendly, so I can import the books to itunes and then move them to & listen to them on my phone. The other bigger source of audiobooks through my library offers most audiobooks as Microsoft wmv (windows media video) files, which won't play on my mac or phone because Apple won't let them. I've tried several programs that are supposed to work around this but none do. I wish Mom and Dad would quit fighting.

            "Sometimes paranoia's just having all the facts." William S. Burroughs

            by scilicet on Thu May 30, 2013 at 02:47:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  It's a little better than (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Stwriley, Susan from 29, EverGrateful

            it used to be. You used to have to jump through about 50 hoops to get your ebook from the library. Now it's only around three.

  •  Our library uses Overdrive (7+ / 0-)

    and I downloaded my first library book onto my kindle on Monday. Our library is only a 5 minute walk away, but for this rural county I would imagine the existence of the ebook library will open worlds to families living further out, especially over the summer when kids are home from school. Gas is expensive, and to run 40 miles into town to the library is a luxury that some won't be able to afford.

    The library in Orlando also offered books on MP3, that were already on a small MP3 player that ran on one AA battery. Those were very convenient for my other half and my daughter, who could just stick the book in a pocket and listen wherever they went (my daughter used to listen sitting outside on the porch). They don't have these yet at this smaller library system.

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Wed May 29, 2013 at 11:59:59 AM PDT

    •  Our library is part of the county system, but they (4+ / 0-)

      can use interlibrary loans for materials that the county doesn't have. You may want to check on that for the MP3 books.

      The library in Orlando also offered books on MP3, that were already on a small MP3 player that ran on one AA battery. Those were very convenient for my other half and my daughter, who could just stick the book in a pocket and listen wherever they went (my daughter used to listen sitting outside on the porch). They don't have these yet at this smaller library system.
      •  I'll have to look into that. (3+ / 0-)

        I don't know if those mp3 players are on the interlibrary loan list, they might be restricted.

        "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

        by FloridaSNMOM on Wed May 29, 2013 at 12:28:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Those things are called "Playaways." (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Susan from 29, EverGrateful

        Our library used to get them a long time ago, but we received a bunch of complaints in re: quality control. It is eminently possible that they have improved, but we dropped them because of this issue. (The library is also on the hook for supplying the batteries, which becomes a cost consideration if Playaways began to circulate better.)

        "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

        by bryduck on Thu May 30, 2013 at 09:13:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I love audio books (5+ / 0-)

      I have belonged to Audible since 2005 and have way over 500 books.
      I listen to them while walking the dawgs.
      2 books/month for $23.95.
      Now with Overdrive, I can get even more audio books.
      So that makes it over 600.
      Which device does Pengruin work with if they hate Amazon and does it work the same as Overdrive?
      Anyone?  bueller?  

      Gitmo is a Concentration Camp. Not a Detention Center. Torture happens at Concentration Camps. Torture happens at Gitmo. How much further will US values fall? Where is YOUR outrage at what the United States does in OUR names?

      by snoopydawg on Wed May 29, 2013 at 08:03:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry, I guess I should have made that clearer (4+ / 0-)

        above. Penguin will provide books through the 3M Cloud Library and Baker & Taylor's Axis 360. Both of those have apps for mobile devices, including androids, so you can probably use them on a kindle fire. But only as an app on the kindle fire.

        And, the Axix360 will soon have its own e-reader. Because we really don't have enough e-readers that cannot communicate with each other.

        •  Thanks. (3+ / 0-)

          Guess it won't work on an Ipad with  Kindle.
          I wondered why some authors were not available thru Overdrive.
          Good info diary.

          Gitmo is a Concentration Camp. Not a Detention Center. Torture happens at Concentration Camps. Torture happens at Gitmo. How much further will US values fall? Where is YOUR outrage at what the United States does in OUR names?

          by snoopydawg on Wed May 29, 2013 at 11:14:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You can get 3M books to your iPad; (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Susan from 29, EverGrateful

            in fact, that is the easiest combination yet known for downloading ebooks. 3M, however, does not have too much in their catalog yet, so don't be surprised if your library doesn't have much there . . .

            "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

            by bryduck on Thu May 30, 2013 at 09:03:38 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Kindles are not supported by (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Susan from 29, EverGrateful

          3M (yet)--or is that the other way around? There is a workaround for all but the Fire which involves downloading to one's PC and then "side loading" to the Kindles, but 3M and Amazon have yet to reach a licensing agreement.

          "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

          by bryduck on Thu May 30, 2013 at 09:02:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  My library uses Overdrive (5+ / 0-)

    and it's been wonderful. I greatly prefer physical books, but right now I just can't affrod making the drive to go get them, so e-books it is!

    But I get entertainment and fresh reading material, free. As long as I can pick up free wifi. <3

    Get 10% off with KATALOGUE2013 at my shop, or go to the Kos Katalogue!

    by LoreleiHI on Wed May 29, 2013 at 12:08:31 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for this wonderful diary, Susan! (4+ / 0-)

    Contains a great deal of interesting information.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Wed May 29, 2013 at 01:38:08 PM PDT

  •  What an excellent summary. (6+ / 0-)

    Did you compile it just for this article? I imagine it is kept up to date by the ALA or some organization.

    About those ebook terms -- in the past, when a library bought a book, they could lend it out for years and years. Decades, even. (To one person at a time.)

    Why, with ebooks, would a library be forced to repurchase each year -- especially when paying retail?

    Publishers physical costs are significantly lower, as well.

    Denial is a drug.

    by Pluto on Wed May 29, 2013 at 02:22:45 PM PDT

    •  The ALA probably does keep this type of info (5+ / 0-)

      handy, I just scoured the web looking for the most current information I could find. The ALA did have the number of libraries on its website to which I should have linked. I will do that now.

      The publishers who force a repurchase on an annual or use limit basis justify it by saying that a library would have to purchase new copies of its physical books that deteriorate through wear and tear.

      •  But do they really deteriorate (5+ / 0-)

        ...that rapidly? It seems that the books I check out are really old. I can understand bestsellers, I suppose. Until they are not best sellers anymore -- and have moved to the backlist.

        I don't know the business that well to know about book replacements in the past.

        Also, how do you return an ebook so that it can be loaned again? Do they just evaporate when they are due? Will they be lent out for the same amount of time as regular books?

        Thanks for all the info.

        I look forward to your next part.

        Denial is a drug.

        by Pluto on Wed May 29, 2013 at 03:01:44 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  They tend to just disappear from your e-reader's (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          library when the return date is reached. Usually the loan period is the same as for paperbased books.

        •  HarperCollins--the publisher (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Susan from 29, EverGrateful

          who currently uses the 26 circulation model--charges less for their ebooks than the other publishers/vendors, so there is a good tradeoff to be had. It makes the most sense for best sellers, since most libraries would love to have many multiples of those books when they are hot and not care about losing access to some of them when they reach their limit.

          "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

          by bryduck on Thu May 30, 2013 at 09:06:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I use (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Susan from 29, EverGrateful

    I have been really happy with it.

  •  Anecdotally... (6+ / 0-)

    That's an interesting item about Overdrive and Four Corners of the Sky.  We use Overdrive  often (it hosts our local library) and I had never noticed that item.  Just went to Overdrive and found it on its home page.  I think Overdrive is a very poorly designed web site anyway, and I hope the lack of visibility of the book doesn't negatively affect the experiment.

    Our household has contrasting behavior on the borrow-or-buy issue.  I've purchased books for decades, but about 10 years ago I really cut back and mostly use library resources now.  One of the main reasons is that I ran out of shelf space for books!  We have bookshelves all around our house and I didn't want to buy one more.   We've moved several times and the movers have always underestimated the weight of our books.

    By comparison, my pre-teen daughter would rather buy a book for her Nook than suffer the library wait for availability. (She uses her own money and also has a book budget allowance, so she does have constraints.)  I don't fault her impatience though; Overdrive (via our library) offers very few ebooks in her favorite genres anyway, and the ones that do appear are hugely waitlisted.

    She'll also buy a hardcopy if she likes a book enough to keep on her bookshelf, and she'll re-read them multiple times.

    She is a voracious reader and as her reading interests expand when she gets older, it will be interesting to see how her book buying patterns change, and for her generation at large.  They have a lot of choices.

    But one thing for sure:  With her reliance on her Nook, she'll never have an issue with too little shelf space for her books!

    •  I agree with you about the OverDrive website, but (4+ / 0-)

      its not like we have much of a choice with the platform our libraries choose. That said, OverDrive does provide audiobooks for download through those libraries that purchase them (mine doesn't).

      It's great that your pre-teen has a book allowance for her Nook. I may have to set that up for my grandson. Wonderful idea.

      The number of ebooks available via local libraries will increase over time, but there are still a lot of issues to work out. Publishers are still reluctant to offer much of their catalogues to lending libraries.

      And BTW, I switched to kindle because I ran out of shelves, and I too, love to reread favorites or return to them to check on something.

      •  Thanks for your comments (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Susan from 29, EverGrateful

        ...and this excellent background on the industry.

        I wasn't aware until just a few months ago how expensive it is for libraries to acquire ebooks.  It's heartening that some publishers seem more willing to embrace change and figure out how the economics can work.

        BTW: To be sure, I do like Overdrive content. It's just a  hard site to search and browse.  My public library also provides audiobook downloads via Overdrive.  The library is part of the Pinellas County Library Co-operative which offers excellent services.   The system also allows subscriber access to innumerable online databases, and to Freegal, which provides download "access to millions of songs from over 10,000 labels including the Sony Music catalog of your country."  

  •  T&R -- Good explanation (4+ / 0-)

    I’ve loved libraries since my mother took us kids to the local public library (usually on Saturday morning). We’d return the old books and get new ones. Plus, in the summertime, the bookmobile would come once a week and park about a block from our house.

    When I was about twelve years old, I tried to check out a book at the library and the front desk person said, “You have a children’s card and this is an adult book so you’ll need your mom’s permission.” My mother spoke sharply to the librarian, “My son has my permission to check out anything he wants!” So I got an adult card at the age of 12.

    I currently have library cards for two public libraries and one college library. All three have good websites. I can search for and request books (or DVDs or whatever) and if I need a little more time, I can renew my books for a few weeks -- all from the comfort of my home. That’s way cool. They send me emails when things are due, which is good because sometimes I forget.

    I didn’t know how the different publishing/distribution companies handled digital books. Thanks for this lovely overview. As someone who has been a writer/editor/software developer, I understand and approve of copyrights as a way of protecting the creative work of writers and artists. But I also like borrowing stuff free from a library for a fixed time. So I have mixed feelings (and yes, sometimes I‘ll check out a music CD and copy it to my iPod, which I know is technically wrong). I’ve downloaded audio books and audio blogs to listen to on my iPod Touch. And I get movies from the library on DVD. I don’t have a Kindle/Nook/iPad, so I haven’t yet downloaded an e-book.

    Anyway, thanks for writing this.

    "Stupid just can't keep its mouth shut." -- SweetAuntFanny's grandmother.

    by Dbug on Thu May 30, 2013 at 12:25:08 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for this diary (3+ / 0-)

    I didn't know about library e-books and how the system is set up, or the players. I sometimes do miss the libraries in the US. We are not in a big city and the local library is really focused on news "magazines." They have some local history, too. A number of people just go everyday to read the newspapers and visit with their friends. I look forward to your continuing this series.

    If we see further, it is because we stand on the shoulders of giants - metaphor attributed to Bernard of Chartres

    by rl en france on Thu May 30, 2013 at 01:01:42 AM PDT

  •  The problem with eBooks (3+ / 0-)

    is that they can't be shared between libraries (except for branches of the same library) as paper books can be.  Which is of course a big win for the publishers and aggregators, who have wanted to kill interlibrary lending for some time now.

    Licensed streamed audio and video services present the same issues.

    Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

    by corvo on Thu May 30, 2013 at 07:15:37 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for the diary, Susan! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Susan from 29, EverGrateful

    One critical note, however: "librarians" do not spend much time shelving books if any at all; we are answering reference questions, researching, and working on programming and collection development (among other things.) "Pages" and other circulation staff do the necessary "grunt" work that keep libraries functional.

    "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

    by bryduck on Thu May 30, 2013 at 09:09:20 AM PDT

    •  And thanks for your comments! I used to work, as (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      a volunteer, at our branch library, working with the magazine back issues and on the desk before I shifted to fund raising for the Friends to keep the doors open six days a week. I haven't done any shelving since I was an aide in my HS library during the 60s.  So all of this was written as an outsider.

      Instead of shelving, perhaps the pages can serve coffee?;-)

      •  More likely, they will (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Susan from 29

        be working the counter--taking the place of more experienced and/or "dedicated" people instead, lowering the average pay of the circ department. I was dismayed to find that going on at the branches when I went to one temporarily. By making it clear to Admin and the governing agencies that we could make do with lower payroll, well, by golly, they went ahead and cut our budget. Shocker! And not only that, but the pages then resented doing, well, page work.
        Sorry to inject such a sour note . . .

        "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

        by bryduck on Thu May 30, 2013 at 03:56:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I borrow Kindle books (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Susan from 29, EverGrateful

    from our library and love it.  I've found there is an art to the timing of book requests -- because it generally takes awhile for books to become available.  So, only a few at a time so they don't all come through at once!  But other than that, it's great.

    And if you absolutely love a borrowed book, you always have the opportunity to purchase it on the spot from Amazon.

    I wish my late mother had had the opportunity to experience Kindle reading.  An insatiable reader, she would have loved it so much.

    You can order Pootie Pads here. Pooties love them!

    by Sara R on Thu May 30, 2013 at 10:32:06 AM PDT

  •  Thanks so much for all the info! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Susan from 29

    NYPL never got a physical copy of a book I spent 2 years waiting and watching for but as soon as they started offering ebooks, there it was. I still wait for ebooks to become available but I'm very, very impressed with their ebook selection.

    The first time I had to use 3M Cloud Reader, I Googled it hoping to find something, anything, offering tips for using it. All I ever found were pages and pages of overenthusiastic press releases about how they'd entered the 21st Century. They've really only just dipped their toes into this century.

    It's really not that I'm so in love with Kindle I won't accept another e-reader but seriously, what an awful, awful piece of software. I use it when it's the only option for a book I want--which, unfortunately happens more and more often these days--but it really needs work. I'd recommend avoiding it if you can. Although check-out is slightly easier than with Kindle, everything else about it is clunky and its inefficient UI can interfere with your enjoyment of a book.

    Divide And Conquer only works if we allow ourselves to be divided--let's not

    by EverGrateful on Thu May 30, 2013 at 06:02:14 PM PDT

  •  I love the State of Hawaii library system. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Susan from 29, EverGrateful

    You can borrow a book from any library in the system and return it to any library in the system. And the librarians are all so friendly.

    And it was a librarian who told me about audiobooks when she saw the iPod buds in my ear. I have been checking them out (audiobooks) and enjoying them ever since, mostly on walks with my dogs. She benefits from the longer walks and I've benefitted from some really interesting books.

    The only difficulty I have had is in browsing audiobooks.

    If you hate government, don't run for office in that government.

    by Bensdad on Fri May 31, 2013 at 12:58:36 AM PDT

  •   I have a question regarding audio mp3s and (3+ / 0-)

    libraries. I know this is OT, but I hope you may know. If I have titles (on discs packaged like dvds, not loaded on a player) that I listened to and don't plan to listen to again (some for content some for the narrator's voices), would libraries be able to use these as rentals? Or should I look at hospices and/or rest homes to recycle these?

    Your diaries are amazing sources of info which I really appreciate. Thanks for all your hard work.

    "In politics stupidity is not a handicap." Napoleon Bonaparte

    by citylights on Fri May 31, 2013 at 01:11:39 AM PDT

    •  You might give your local library a call and see (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest, EverGrateful

      if they would accept them into their collection. Around here, if the library doesn't or can't accept them, they are included in the semi-annual used book sale put on by the Friends of the Library. Any funds generated by the sale are put to use by the library.

      As for rest homes, I think that would be a great idea, but they would need to have a portable player that could read the mp3s.  Worth checking into, though.

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