Monday, October 19, 2009

First thoughts on: Morris, Issues in Vendor/Library Relations – Buying Ebooks: Does Workflow Work? Part I & II

Against the Grain 20.4 & 20.6 (2008): p30-34 & p. 76-77. doi: (N/A, try the publisher web site part I , publisher web site part II) (University of Illinois Access, part I, University of Illinois Access, part II)

Why should you read this:

They're both very brief and contain some useful tidbits.

In brief:

Part I largely catalogues the various people with a stake in selecting eBook vendors, and perceived (or actual) pitfalls associated with acquiring e-books.

Interesting quotes and my thoughts:

Part I

"A good relationship with a distributor who is facilitating but not hosting eBooks will not protect the library from issues arising at the eBook source. Furthermore, since distribution arrangements can fall apart over time, basing the decision to limit the playing field to eBook aggregators available within the library's print vendor database may also prove to be misguided and result in regrets down the line." Part I, p. 87

"Fortunately, technology has progressed to a point that with a little bit of effort, print and eBook purchasing can be coordinate even when there are multiple suppliers involved" Part 1, p. 87

Part II

"Smart libraries will choose to work with companies that are making smart business decisions now." part II, p. 77.

"The more platforms, the more likely a researcher will miss useful Ebooks." Part II, p. 77.

"Piracy does happen, and anyone hosting eBooks that does not take that seriously will have trouble attracting and keeping publishers." Part II, p.77

Let's hope this is slowly becoming less true. Certainly work by Springer and Morgan & Claypool (who use no software at all to restrict use) seems to indicate that you can host a vibrant collections of e-books with DMR based "controls" for piracy, etc. and still attract quality content, and make a profit (in Springer's case, more profit, not less, when they made the move to DRM free content)." Part II, p.77

"Libraries will also want to choose an eBook vendor that regularly improves the functionality of its platform to keep up with patron expectations." Part II, p.77

"Ease of selection and acquisition is an important factor for anything a library buys, or course- but only once the library has first made the right decisions about what it is that's being selected and acquired." Part II, p.7