Friday, February 11, 2011

The Impact of Ebooks on Libraries

The Hype Cycle
(Remember when the Internet went mainstream?)

On Wisconsin Library Association/Wisconsin Educational Media and Technology Association Library Legislative Day, it's probably a good idea to have a ready response for your legislators if a 'peak of inflated expectations' comment on ebooks and libraries and/or the Internet and libraries is offered.

Letter: Electronic books could impact library.   (Marshfield News Herald, 2/10/2011)

Excerpt: It is interesting to read how our Marshfield Library is in need of more room.

This concerns me.

The book industry is changing, and we as a community need to look at that trend before a decision is made to expand.

Let's look at some facts.

Amazon, only one of the companies that sell a digital device and e-Books, announced that the company is outselling e-Books to print best sellers by a two-to-one margin.

The Association of American Publishers stated e-Book sales have increased by 193 percent over the previous year and continue to surge.

The Library Overdrive e-Book provides owners of computers and e-Readers the ability to borrow books in the same way they can with physical books

Yes, let's look at some of the facts.  First of all, there's more than one way to read a book.

The Help in a regular print edition:  Still 158 holds on 279 LINKcat copies two years after its publication.

The Help in a large-print edition:  176 holds on 22 LINKcat copies.

The Help in a audio version:  120 holds on 37 LINKcat copies.

The Help as a digital download:  109 holds on 10 'copies' available through the Wisconsin Public Library Consortium.

Safe to say.....

Secondly, as with every public library, it's clear that Marshfield is much more than the sum of its materials collection.

Thirdly, libraries have become centers of community life.
Excerpt:    Is there a place in your community
  • where residents of all ages and incomes visit and enjoy spending their time?
  • where people go to hear interesting speakers discuss new ideas, books, travel, and a broad range of topics?
  • where comprehensive databases are available free of charge? ·
  • where you can get help when applying for a job?
  • where you can stop by and take home a book, CD, or DVD at virtually no cost?
That's also a place
  • that's "owned" by everyone in the community?
  • and can be counted on, day after day, to draw people downtown or to main street?
In a growing number of cities and towns, there's one place that answers all these questions: the public library.

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