What role should e-books have in public libraries?
There is increasing focus on the role of e-books in libraries. E-books are growing in importance and the sale of e-books has overtaken printed books on Amazon.
Haringey Libraries has an e-book lending facility – see http://haringey.lib.overdrive.com/F51DE40A-F73A-4527-9710-756643685F16/10/50/en/Default.htm.
This facility allows borrowers access to a range of e-books and audio books.
This subject was the focus of a recent session of the Westminster Media Forum.
Taking part were Tim Coates the CEO of e-book seller Bilbary and a former Managing Director of Waterstones, Phil Bradley, Chief Executive at The Publishers Association, and Richard Mollet the president of the Chartered Institute for Libraries and Information Professionals (CILIP).
The forum looked at how technology and innovation can drive the future of publishing and sales of e-books. Fears were raised about how e-lending could disrupt the sales of both physical and e-books.
Library advocates pointed out that people want to be able to access books in different ways. Phil Bradley said “E-books should provide people with 24 hour access to information, online and remotely”.
Tim Coates said libraries needed to adopt a model that focused solely on reading, eschewing other services that libraries had developed. He advocates a system of micropayments at the point of use, rather than spending library budgets on acquiring titles.