In a slight break with tradition, this week we have two articles of the week! Admittedly, they both appear in the same issue of the Maine Policy Review that focuses on libraries and information, however, they represent far different viewpoints on an issue that is important to all of us. The articles are by Tom Allen, President and CEO of the Association of American Publishers and Maureen Sullivan, Past President of ALA and both focus on the purchase and lending of eBooks by libraries.
As you can imagine, Maureen Sullivan does not share these views. She points out in Libraries and Book Publishers that by using varying business models publishers add confusion, “complicating the library purchase of e-books” noting that “each of the big six publishers uses a different model, and Simon & Schuster’s model is to not sell to libraries at all.” And then she goes on to complain about lending and content restrictions as well as the inflated pricing in these various models. However, she does mentions some hopeful signs as publishers and librarians have held meetings that “have been frank, cordial, and productive discussions that have fostered greater understanding of the challenges.”
We suspect that you will find yourself nodding in agreement with some of the arguments being made in both articles. However, despite the publisher/librarian meetings alluded to in Ms. Sullivan’s article, we are left wondering if there are compromise solutions that will accommodate the needs of both publishers and librarians. We’d love to know what you think? So after you’ve had a chance to read both articles, feel free to comment.
Tom is originally from Brooklyn N.Y but has spent his entire professional career in South Carolina, most recently as Head of Reference Services at the College of Charleston. As part of the Against the Grain and Charleston Conference team, he serves as the associate editor of the print ATG as well as the co-editor of the webpage. Tom’s conference duties include coordinating the Penthouse Suite interviews as well as the conference poster sessions.
He received his MLS from the University of Buffalo, SUNY and a second master’s in public administration from the College of Charleston and the Univ. of South Carolina. His wife Carol and he live in downtown Charleston and she is an artist and a tour guide offering historic walking tours of the city.