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.



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