|Weekly News Digest
February 13, 2012 — In addition to this week's NewsBreak(s), the editors have compiled the Weekly News Digest, featuring stories from the week just past that you should know about. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today.
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ALA Reaches Out to Ebook Publishers; Penguin Terminates OverDrive Contract
American Library Association (ALA) president Molly Raphael led an ALA delegation to New York recently to meet separately with representatives from publishers Penguin, Macmillan, Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Perseus. The representatives at these meetings included CEOs, division presidents, and other executives.
She said the discussions with publishers who already sell ebooks to libraries focused on how to maintain and strengthen those relationships. Meeting with publishers who do not sell ebooks revealed some misconceptions about how libraries operate. Once those issues were clarified, she said, some of the publishers’ concerns were mitigated.
She said ALA agreed to provide feedback on any ideas they may have. Raphael said that the biggest lesson to be drawn from the meetings was the importance of direct communication.
“We didn’t leave New York with complete and perfect solutions; that wouldn’t have been a realistic expectation. But I am happy with the progress that we made on multiple fronts—establishing ongoing direct lines of communication and correcting misconceptions about libraries, to mention only two. Much work remains to fully grasp the rapidly changing context of digital content and libraries and to converge on solutions that all key stakeholders can live with. We must find these solutions so that libraries can continue to provide the best possible service to their communities.”
She also said that publishers agreed to consider proposals from ALA. She said there will be further communication with these five publishers, as well as contact with other publishers and intermediaries and additional activities within the framework of ALA’s Digital Content and Libraries Working Group.
However, this encouraging press release from ALA was followed within a day by a disappointing OverDrive email to its partners. According to the email posted at INFOdocket, “Penguin will no longer offer additional copies of eBooks and download audiobooks for library purchase. Additionally, Penguin eBooks loaned for reading on Kindle devices will need to be downloaded to a computer then transferred to the device over USB. For library patrons, this means Penguin eBooks will no longer be available for over-the-air delivery to Kindle devices or to Kindle apps.”
PaidContent then posted this statement from Penguin:
In these ever changing times, it is vital that we forge relationships with libraries and build a future together. We care about preserving the value of our authors’ work as well as helping libraries continue to serve their communities. Our ongoing partnership with the [American Library Association] is more important than ever, and our recent talks with ALA leadership helped bring everything into focus.
Looking ahead, we are continuing to talk about our future plans for eBook and digital audiobook availability for library lending with a number of partners providing these services.
Sources: ALA, INFOdocket, PaidContent
Paula J. Hane
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