Never doubt their clout. AADL's director Josie Parker and the library's associate director for IT & Production have a virtual tete-a-tete about the future of books, digital media, readership and libraries.
As a consumer, given the mix of affordances and restrictions that e-bookspresent, do you see a place in the market for both e-book rentals and purchases?
JP: No, rental is not a practical model for our library system and our users. Library budgets work when they can plan spending annually, and the per-use cost to the library drops with use. Libraries don’t work as a subsidized pass-through.
EN: It seems that the library market is about the only place that publishers feel they have some power to set terms right now, so we’re bearing the brunt of boardroom anxiety. But we know in libraries that our superusers are also publishing’s best customers, and that borrowing does not supplant buying, no matter the relative friction. It’s up to libraries to make deals that make sense for their communities and move the relationships with rightsholders forward, towards greater value and sustainability, not to chase the shiny thing and assume it leads to the future.
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