Ebooks popularity on the rise, but don’t throw out your bookmark just yet
Originally published March 2, 2012 at 11:31 a.m., updated March 2, 2012 at 11:55 a.m.
How to check out an ebook
•Get a library card, either in person at a local library or online
•Go online to ncrl.org; look for ebooks, then choose OverDrive
WENATCHEE — Want to check out a bestseller as an ebook from the Wenatchee library?
You’re in luck if you want:
J.A. Jance’s “Until Proven Guilty”
Lee Child’s “Tripwire”
Kathryn Stockett’s “The Help”
But it’s a no-go if you want:
P.D. James’s “Death Comes to Pemberly”
Stephen King’s “11/22/63”
James Patterson’s “Private #1 Suspect”
Why, you ask?
It’s all up to the publishers, says Dan Howard, director of public services for the North Central Regional Library.
“Of the six major publishers, only two will sell their popular ebooks to public libraries,” Howard said.
Those two are Random House and HarperCollins, he said. Those publishers will allow use of their best-seller listed books and their back lists of older books.
Two publishers will license only their back list of books, and two publishers won’t allow libraries to use any of their ebooks.
“Most books on the current best-seller lists, both fiction and non-fiction, are not available to libraries,” Howard said. “They will sell to individuals but not to us.”
He said he thinks that’s because publishers are worried that their ebooks will get pirated.
“They’re afraid that what happened to the music industry will happen to them,” he said.
Still, the local library system is adding ebooks to its lending system. Currently, it has 2,000 ebooks available. That has shot up significantly, Howard said, from the 200 to 300 ebooks it had in September.
“It was very sleepy and quiet until late September, when Amazon announced it would allow ebooks to be downloaded from libraries into Kindle,” Howard said of the popular ebook reader.
Ebooks through the North Central Regional Library are available on the three most popular electronic readers: Kindle, iPad and Nook.
“This has been a watershed year for ebooks,” Howard said. “In February of 2011, Amazon.com announced that they had sold more ebooks than paperback editions; by May, they announced they had sold more ebooks than any other books; by December, they announced they were selling 1 million Kindles a week.”
The library’s collection is not owned in the traditional sense, Howard said. Rather, the books are licensed for a fee. The library uses a serviced called OverDrive, which provides ebooks to public libraries throughout the United States.
Howard said the local library system spends $12,000 per year for the ebook service, then buys or licenses individual books for a separate fee.
Ebooks are lent for two weeks. After that, the file is no longer accessible. A reader who has not yet finished the ebook, must check it out again. There are no renewals with ebooks.
Thinking of buying an electronic reader but aren’t sure if this is a fad? Howard doesn’t see it that way. “I’m guessing that all the big publishers are betting billions of dollars that ebook publication is not going away,” he said.
Dee Riggs: 664-7147
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