News

Discussions "ongoing" over e-book lending

UK publishers are locked in discussions with librarians over ground rules for e-book lending, with librarians continuing to press publishers to allow institutions to loan e-books under the one e-book, one loan, model pioneered by the US digital content provider Overdrive.

Hachette, Simon & Schuster, Faber and Quercus are among those declining to allow single e-books to be lent in libraries. Discussions have taken place between the Publishers Association, aggregators and the Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) over how to manage e-lending in a way that suits the interests of both parties after both sides clashed over the PA's baseline position. Earlier this year, the SCL said the baseline had been "set at a level that may have very limited practical use for library customers".

Richard Mollet, chief executive at the PA, declined to comment on a likely timescale for agreement between publishers and librarians, but said: "We are having almost constant interaction with the librarian community and it is ongoing. The meetings are being held in a very constructive atmosphere—all parties fully appreciate the other parties' constraints and desires. We are exchanging perspectives on what's possible."

Penguin and Lonely Planet are among those permitting it; HarperCollins is permitting e-lending but has said it is "not ruling out" imposing a 26-loan limit per purchase on its e-books, as HarperCollins US has done. A Random House spokesperson said the publisher "does participate in e-book library lending for the majority of our catalogue".

Amazon and Overdrive last week announced the launch of a scheme that will enable readers in the US to check out a Kindle book from their local library, to read on their own Kindles or via a Kindle app. An Overdrive spokesperson declined to comment on any future roll-out to the UK, but Stephen Edwards, stock manager for Hampshire libraries, said it was "absolutely essential" for the development to come to Britain. "The Kindle is taking over the market and because it's a proprietary device that means that at least 60% to 70% of e-book readers can't use libraries," he said. Martin Palmer, strategic manager for Essex libraries, said a lot of people had already been asking about Kindle lending, and the media coverage sparked by the US announcement would boost that demand.

Edwards said that getting more UK content was the key issue for Hampshire's e-lending programme. "There are more UK publishers that don't sell e-books to libraries than do at present. The key thing is to get a partnership going. We are keen to behave responsibly and grow the market for everyone," he said.

A Random House Group spokesperson said the publisher was "in active discussions with interested parties—such as the Society of Chief Librarians—to find mutually acceptable systems which take into account market factors as well as reflecting appropriate copyright and rights restrictions."

Issues such as the appropriate number of loans-per-purchase are understood to be among those being thrashed out in the UK, with librarians arguing that a print hardback can be lent at least 100 times.

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I don't get it... In this day and age, why should people be able to read a book for free?
Maybe it's about time all lending was stopped and people who want to read are encouraged to pay for the book, it's not as if books are now out of reach (in money terms) of most.
Just a thought.

Again, no mention of PLR for e-book lending.

Thank God I live in the US. We value our libraries over here!

It seems very odd that authors do not seem to be a part of this equation. Did not the Library Modernisation Review recommended PLR for e-books ? That seems to have been wholly ignored by those developing policy for e-book lending. I should have thought they'd be the first to be in "active discussions" with those involved. Are they ?

> (ER!) "In this day and age, why should people be able to read a book for free?"

es: Once the price of e-books will be substatially less than the printed/hard copy, which it is not at the moment, maybe, just maybe - I may agree with the contributor above ...

So, if the price of e-books is substantially less than printed books, this would make it more economical for poorer people to get access to literature?

Is this before or after they purchase an eReader?

Why shouldnt books be free? Going to my library as a child was always a highlight for me, my mum would never have been able to afford that many books.
I have shelves and shelves of books now, but i still cant afford every book i would like, so for that i love my library.

My oh my...... Who are we to judge?
If you can not afford a car you do not drive (to see nice things).
If you can not afford roast beef, you do not buy it.
If you can not afford to go to the moon, you do not go.
So..... As I said. In this day and age, books should NOT be free.
Kind of flies in the face of World Book Night, but that's all what is wrong with this industry. It's not run as a commercial business (by most)!

What about Writers? Will we get to the point where only the affluent can afford to produce written work?

No....
If it's good work the people want to read, they will pay and in turn the writer will get paid.
There's too many books being published, especially 'self published' where the writer gets a big bill and a spare room full of books that don't sell. Get real publishing is now a business and not a charity.

I must admit that I have never heard of Get Real publishing but I am sure the decision to generate a profit margin is the right one.

Er!

What is it about this "day and age" that makes reading books for free unreasonable?

Chris Rippel

Many people, and not just poor people, want to read more books than they can afford to buy, even with less expensive paperbacks, used books and eBooks. There are people who read 3, 4 and 5 books a week. I feel they should be able to do that because books are not like roast beef, cars, etc.

That would be after they get their free Kindle from Carphone Warehouse.

Or possibly download their free Kindle software to their 10-y-o crappy computer.

Why do you ask? Have you paid thousands?

I'm sure if they can afford to buy an e-reader they can afford to pay for a book? Just a thought.

question? how to do the publishers, autors make money out of the lending scheme ??

As a child, going to the library with my sister and mother was a weekly activity. While I don't have any children myself, my sister carries on that tradition by taking my niece and nephew to their local library as often as possible. I am a life long reader, and would imagine that these trips to the library helped foster my love for the written word.

Now that e-books make up a significant segment of reader's preferred method of consumption, it is not surprising that libraries are contacting publishers about receiving there books. For those asking about the effects on authors, I have some questions. How is an author's revenue effected differently by lending an e-book compared to print? Don't authors and publishers sign contracts regarding rights distribution of material? If a library, or publisher themselves, violate these usage rights, wouldn't they open themselves up to the possibility of copyright litigation from the author? As a book lover, but not a publish industry insider, this is the part that is confusing about the lending process.

With these, our known library will end... because the digital ebooks reader are invading.

ipad 2 case

I don't get it... In this day and age, why should people be able to read a book for free?
Maybe it's about time all lending was stopped and people who want to read are encouraged to pay for the book, it's not as if books are now out of reach (in money terms) of most.
Just a thought.

Why shouldnt books be free? Going to my library as a child was always a highlight for me, my mum would never have been able to afford that many books.
I have shelves and shelves of books now, but i still cant afford every book i would like, so for that i love my library.

As a child, going to the library with my sister and mother was a weekly activity. While I don't have any children myself, my sister carries on that tradition by taking my niece and nephew to their local library as often as possible. I am a life long reader, and would imagine that these trips to the library helped foster my love for the written word.

Now that e-books make up a significant segment of reader's preferred method of consumption, it is not surprising that libraries are contacting publishers about receiving there books. For those asking about the effects on authors, I have some questions. How is an author's revenue effected differently by lending an e-book compared to print? Don't authors and publishers sign contracts regarding rights distribution of material? If a library, or publisher themselves, violate these usage rights, wouldn't they open themselves up to the possibility of copyright litigation from the author? As a book lover, but not a publish industry insider, this is the part that is confusing about the lending process.

Er!

What is it about this "day and age" that makes reading books for free unreasonable?

Chris Rippel

Many people, and not just poor people, want to read more books than they can afford to buy, even with less expensive paperbacks, used books and eBooks. There are people who read 3, 4 and 5 books a week. I feel they should be able to do that because books are not like roast beef, cars, etc.

I'm sure if they can afford to buy an e-reader they can afford to pay for a book? Just a thought.

Again, no mention of PLR for e-book lending.

Thank God I live in the US. We value our libraries over here!

It seems very odd that authors do not seem to be a part of this equation. Did not the Library Modernisation Review recommended PLR for e-books ? That seems to have been wholly ignored by those developing policy for e-book lending. I should have thought they'd be the first to be in "active discussions" with those involved. Are they ?

> (ER!) "In this day and age, why should people be able to read a book for free?"

es: Once the price of e-books will be substatially less than the printed/hard copy, which it is not at the moment, maybe, just maybe - I may agree with the contributor above ...

So, if the price of e-books is substantially less than printed books, this would make it more economical for poorer people to get access to literature?

Is this before or after they purchase an eReader?

That would be after they get their free Kindle from Carphone Warehouse.

Or possibly download their free Kindle software to their 10-y-o crappy computer.

Why do you ask? Have you paid thousands?

My oh my...... Who are we to judge?
If you can not afford a car you do not drive (to see nice things).
If you can not afford roast beef, you do not buy it.
If you can not afford to go to the moon, you do not go.
So..... As I said. In this day and age, books should NOT be free.
Kind of flies in the face of World Book Night, but that's all what is wrong with this industry. It's not run as a commercial business (by most)!

What about Writers? Will we get to the point where only the affluent can afford to produce written work?

No....
If it's good work the people want to read, they will pay and in turn the writer will get paid.
There's too many books being published, especially 'self published' where the writer gets a big bill and a spare room full of books that don't sell. Get real publishing is now a business and not a charity.

I must admit that I have never heard of Get Real publishing but I am sure the decision to generate a profit margin is the right one.

question? how to do the publishers, autors make money out of the lending scheme ??

With these, our known library will end... because the digital ebooks reader are invading.

ipad 2 case