Speakers: Britt Mueller
Often, there are more librarians who’s organizations loan ebook readers to their users than who own or use ebook readers themselves. Devices are driving all of the changes in the content, and we need to pay attention to that.
General Mills launched their ebook reader lending program in the fall of 2008 with six Kindles pre-loaded with content and attached to a purchasing card registered with each device. They’ve had over 120 loans over the past year with a wait list (two week loan periods).
Qualcomm launched a similar program at around the same time, but they went with four types of ereaders: Kindle, Sony 505, Bookeen Cybook, and Irex Iliad). They’ve had over 500 loans over the past year with a wait list, and they’ve updated the devices with the newer models as they were released.
One of the down sides to the devices is that there is no enterprise model. Users have to go through the vendor to get content, rather than getting the content directly from the library. Users liked the devices but wanted them to be as customized to their individual preferences and yet still shareable, much like borrowing other devices like laptops and netbooks from the library.
There is a uniform concern among publishers and vendors for how to track/control usage in order to pay royalties, which makes untethering the content problematic. There is a lack of standardization in format, which makes converting content to display on a wide range of devices problematic as well. And finally, the biggest stumbling block for libraries is a lack of an enterprise model for acquiring and sharing content on these devices.
Implications for the future: integration into the ILS, staff time to manage the program, cost, and eventually, moving away from lending devices and moving towards lending the content.