[Web4lib] Request for info: Libraries that are circulatinge-book readers

Campbell, James (jmc) jmc at virginia.edu
Thu Jun 24 12:55:09 EDT 2010

It's an excellent point, David. Our business school was one of the three schools that got Kindles to use with course materials.  They gave up on the program after one semester and what you describe is pretty much what the students said.

The perils of generalization: humanities faculty do still read whole books and at least some of them tell me they want to do it on an e-reader.  But they want to do it on their reader, not one they borrow from us. They want the library as an alternative to the Kindle store.

      - Jim Campbell

      Digital Access Librarian | Librarian for German
      University of Virginia Library | Charlottesville, VA 22904-4112

      513 Alderman | campbell at virginia.edu | 434-924-4985

-----Original Message-----
From: Walker, David [mailto:dwalker at calstate.edu] 
Sent: Thursday, June 24, 2010 12:38 PM
To: Tim Spalding; Campbell, James (jmc)
Cc: web4lib at webjunction.org
Subject: RE: [Web4lib] Request for info: Libraries that are circulatinge-book readers

> I think the situation is somewhat different for academics

I would also add that academic library users use books differently than public library users.

Students, in particular, are often just skimming books looking for relevant information on their research topic, rather than sitting down and reading each book cover-to-cover.

In that situation, a plain old PDF of the book viewed on your laptop is probably *better* than reading the book on some specialized e-book reader.  

With my laptop, I can also have Word, a browser, and maybe some citation management software open at the same time.  I can look at both books and articles, and cut-and-paste citations into my research paper.

I don't really see a compelling need for academic libraries to lend e-book readers. 


David Walker
Library Web Services Manager
California State University
From: web4lib-bounces at webjunction.org [web4lib-bounces at webjunction.org] On Behalf Of Tim Spalding [tim at librarything.com]
Sent: Tuesday, June 22, 2010 8:28 AM
To: Campbell, James (jmc)
Cc: web4lib at webjunction.org
Subject: Re: [Web4lib] Request for info: Libraries that are     circulatinge-book readers

FWIW--and to reverse myself somewhat-I think the situation is somewhat
different for academics:

1. Academic libraries are used to paying huge amounts for monographs.
A single Brill volume about Greek history can set you back $300 and
still not get read. So putting some cheap stuff on a $150 Kobo reader
as an experiment isn't such a terrible deal. You're trading money for
a little flash, and some learning.

2. Academic ebook licensing will be different. Trade publishers will
never allow public libraries to have a "real" lending right. They
don't want to sell the Lost Symbol once and have 10 or 20 people read
it--the sort of thing that physical books now allow. But so long as
the library can't lend an ebook outside of the institution, academic
publishers doesn't care if there's an unlimited right to read some
obscure academic monograph that probably won't be read by two people
in a year, let alone two people at the same time. They will-indeed
are-selling e-monograph access at fairly normal (pricey!) rates.


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