Aha! Publishers respond to changing trends. But when will we see files borrowed from libraries?

The UK branch of Dorling Kindersley presented this at a sales conference, but decided to release it publicly after the response they received internally. They commissioned Khaki films to produce it and you can read about the process on the Penguin Blog (USA).

I see young people at my school continuing to read voraciously. Not all of them obviously, but we do have readers who go through five or more novels a week. One of our challenges is to keep the new fiction up to their requirements! We have three Kindles, and will begin lending them out for a week at a time next term. We’ve decided to not invest in more of them and are awaiting the release of the iPad to see how that looks. But really, the reader device is not our big issue. I don’t see us purchasing these devices in bulk and borrowing them out. I see our clientele having a device (their own computers can fulfill this purpose!) and we as a library lending out a file.

Our big issue is, how is the publishing industry going to respond to the rollout of a device like the iPad, and how will we as Libraries be involved? My personal opinion is that I think the iPad is going to be the start of the revolution that will see an ereader device have a major impact on the way people read. But the tricky question for libraries will be, how do we become a part of that revolution??

Unless I’ve missed something somewhere, I’m not seeing this essential question being answered in the networks I inhabit or by the publishing industry. I did discuss it with the developer of the library system we have just moved to, and he was talking about having the ability to encrypt files so that they could be transferred to a device, but they would only remain on the device for a two week period. When that time was up, they would once again appear as a file available for borrowing. Now that made sense to me; in fact, it was the first time someone had presented an idea that I thought was even feasible.

The same issue relates to audiobooks. One of our students had a wonderful conversation with me last week about the great things she can access on iTunes. She’s not an able reader, and her mother had suggested she download the audio version of the text they are studying at Year 10 to her iPhone. She has been listening to it on the bus on the way to school and was telling me how she was now able to understand and contribute to class discussion. This was just wonderful; I was so thrilled for her because I know she struggles with English classes. She suggested that we download the book and share it with students. I had to explain to her that we would have to ensure that we loaned it out as a file, but only one student at a time could access it because of copyright considerations. Now, how do we go about doing just that? How do we ensure that the file we loan isn’t copied and transferred to someone else? How do we enable producers of content to receive their rightful royalties for the work they have produced?

Are there answers out there to these questions? If there are, point me in the right direction, because I want to make my library relevant to the kids we teach. I want to see them able to borrow files like these and not have to fork out money to pay for everything they want to read on an ereader or listen to on an iPod or other MP3 device. I want my library to fulfill the function libraries have been performing for the last century or so; ensuring access to information.

The way information is accessible is changing; the way Libraries lend content will change with these new ways of receiving information. Let’s work out how we’re going to go about doing it.

5 Replies to “Aha! Publishers respond to changing trends. But when will we see files borrowed from libraries?”

  1. Exactly my thoughts Jenny. In a post on Bright Ideas in January (iSlate or something like it) I mentioned that there will indeed be big impacts for all libraries in terms of lending eBooks. At Yarra Plenty Regional Library, they subscribe to Overdrive, a service where users can check out audio books virtually and after a period of time, they are automatically ‘returned’. I can see this happening in the future, but only if other people join in the conversation.

    Another brilliant post, as usual!

    1. Thanks for the info about Overdrive – I’ll have to look into that. Thanks also for leaving a comment. : ) I think this is an important post about where we are potentially heading; I’d love to see others bring their thoughts into the mix.

  2. Hi Jenny, I know our Diocesan Resource Center has the ability to lend files for a limited amount of time & then they are deleted automatically from the computer after the set amount of time. There are also restrictions set in regards to copying text etc from the file. This though, is only accessed by staff so far. But at least we know these structures are available & I’m sure will be available to students in the future.

    I am really re thinking how our library at school will change over the next year. I read about a wonderful school library space up north in Qld that was called ‘The Innovation Center’.

    I think it is up to us to lead the way not only in terms of how we enable students to receive information but also how they access & use it. Lending files in the way mentioned above, puts restrictions on time (they will only have a short time to have it on their computers) and there will be restrictions on access to the text – my opinion is that students will want access to the complete files without restriction….so they will come into the library to do so.

    I remember doing assignments & going into the library to access the resources there & doing my work there because the library had everything I needed (including a conducive environment for work)…..I think the same principles will apply in the future…. we’ve just got to adapt these ideas to make them relevant to today’s learners…& resources….allowing ‘innovation’ to be fostered & enabled in our students as they work /study for today’s world.

    1. Thanks for providing such a detailed and informative comment Frances. Rethinking what and how we do things is essential in the library game now. Reading about cuts to library staff in US schools makes me think we need to get it right – we don’t want the powers that be to not recognise the importance of a supportive library environment that is responding to a changing world.

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