Monday, April 9, 2012

Tim Coates on e-books: 'e books are not for public libraries'

Hear the words of the world's greatest living library campaigner and promoter of his Bilbrary, which seeks to sell, er,  e-books.

November 14, 2008

Looking around to marshall the arguments that might persuade library buyers not to become obsessed with e books ( A chief executive of one large international publishing house said this week that, for general books, rather than academic ones, his company anticipates that e-editions will amount to just one percent of new book sales - in five years time. And new books represent about one quarter of his overall business- the other 75% is backlist. ) I come to persuasive line 'It's the content stupid' which means stop concentrating on technology and put your book collections in order.


May 21, 2009

I meant that public lending libraries exist out of the kindness of publishers. If you open any book you will see a statement that says that 'this book is not to be loaned, copied, 'etc. Yet publishers, over many years, have tolerated and allowed the public library service to ignore this condition of purchase.

Yet, in return in the past two decades, the public library service has allowed its purchasing of books and their central nature within the service to decline to a fraction of what it was. This has been done without discussion with publishers and without their consent. Librarians often talk as if publishers owe them free books and owe them a free right to lend them. Well, if libraries took books and publishing seriously, that might be a fair deal, but they

Publishers current predictions of the 'general' book market (as opposed to the technical and academic markets- which are huge) are that Ebooks will represent about 5% of the market in ten years. Maybe that figure will be higher and the time will be less, but it is not hard to understand that childrens books and illustrated books are not yet published in electronic form and that if the price of ebook editions of plain text is higher than of printed copies, then even unillustrated books have a fair future.

Even now I could read Dickens in ebook form, if I wanted, but I don't. Nor do my children.

September 22, 2010

How often do we see public librarians, councillors, state officials, politicians and even ministers spouting off about e-books in the future of public libraries.

None of them are stars in the arithmetic class.

It only takes a few simple calculations to realise that if we were to hold the same range of books in public libraries as we do now to support that council public library book funds would have to be ten times the size they are now

And that is without buying ebook readers for the very hard up people for whom public libraries are a life line.

Nor is anyone hearing the voice of Booksellers - who just plain don't want public libraries to offer for nothing that out of which they try to make their living.

e books are not for public libraries. ... just now anyhow.



Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sneering rattlesnakes

Oh dear. Our hero is back. He had gone, we thought, to seek his fortune in the United States of America. It was quiet, too damned quiet, Carruthers.

Then there was the announcement of his new e-book project. Was it Loganberry, Tayberry, Whortleberry?…no, it was Bilbrary with, we suspect, the accent on the bill. Conspicuous by his absence from such events as the recent lobby of parliament, the world's greatest living library campaigner suddenly returned to public debate with a curious proposition, that he would use some profits from his venture (that is, supposing there actually are any) to give money to library campaigns. This generosity was not received by a cruel cynical world in the spirit in which it was offered: American librarians wondered why profits made out of their e-book subscriptions were being sent abroad, when there are plenty of campaigns needing support at home, while British library campaigners, on reading the small print, saw that he intended the money, not to support campaigners in demanding that local councils and the DCMS fulfil their responsibility for the public library service, but to establish so-called community libraries, completely outside the public library system.

In a post that the ill-willed might describe as petulant, entitled the Library Campaign Police, he rails against his critics, saying, 'if you don't say what they want you to say, they sneer like rattlesnakes'. We're not sure how to sneer like a rattlesnake, but hope to acquire this useful skill, if our readers will enlighten us.

We had thought that the need for CoatesWatch had passed. It seems not. La lutte continue!