Blog Post #3
Obstacles to E-book Integration in School Libraries
The enthusiasm from the world of school libraries has become contagious as publishers continue to develop and promote electronic books. Adding these formats to a school’s collection opens the door to student patrons who find the electronic format to be more appealing than their traditional bound counterpart. Whereas readers once browsed content and made selections by thumbing through the pages of a paperback, today’s teen readers are finding the accessibility, portability, and discretion of e-books to be ideal. Despite enthusiasm from the general librarian population significant obstacles limit the potential e-books hold for library patrons and the collection.
|NOOKcolor/ NOOK side-by-side|
In addition to devices, librarians also reported digital rights management and competing platforms to be a concern (“Things are Changing. Fast,” 2011, p. 28). With their e-book collections scattered among multiple platforms and questions of digital rights causing publishers to limit accessibility, librarians feel overwhelmed with the amount of hoops they have to jump through to put e-books in students’ hands. Sixty-nine percent of respondents, according to Ashcroft (2011), report that the limitations for content usage is a significant or very significant hindrance (p. 401). Digital rights management issues muddy the waters for many school librarians to the extent that the time and energy trying to understand the varying issues and perspectives outweights the possible benefits of integrating electronic books into their collections.
Librarians are also faced with choices for their circulation. E-books may be circulated “one person one book” or “unlimited access/ simultaneous use;” 58.5 % prefer unlimited access but 39% prefer a combination of both models (Ashcroft, 2011, p. 405). Publishers continue to search for a sustainable and appropriate business model for e-books. Maintaining flexibility and the option to customize services will be key to reaching the wide and diverse school library market. Suppliers should support librarians efforts by providing simple platforms, bundling options, and circulation options as well as customizing products to meet the needs of a school and its collection.
|E-books accessed through personal devices such as smart phones|
Ashcroft, L. (2011). Ebooks in libraries: An overview of the current situation. Library Management, 32(6), 399-407. doi: 10.1108/01435121111158547
Things are changing. fast. (2011). School Library Journal, 57(5), 28-33. Retrieved from http://libproxy.library.unt.edu:2103/login.aspx?direct=true&db=llf&AN=503013798&site=ehost-live&scope=site