<insert very slow and deliberate description of all of the headaches of DRM in the library world>
Speaker: Zac Rolnik, Now Publishers
His company does not use DRM on their content, but they are not open access, either.
They want to control the distribution of their content but also maximize the access to it. Not putting DRM on the content is their solution to that push/pull. They also want the user to have a good experience getting to the content.
Implementing and managing DRM does not come without its own costs, and the benefits in his estimation are not great enough to justify those costs. Some seepage of the content is okay, and occasionally good. It can raise awareness of the content itself.
The major STEM publishers don’t have DRM on their ebooks (if purchased directly). Most large institutions and consortia have big deal packages with all of the content, so who would be excluded by DRM? DRM does not benefit the goals of Open Access or Fair Use. So, why have it at all?
Speaker: Adam Chessler, Business Experts Press / Momentum Press
A publisher might want to implement DRM to have control over the distribution of their content, as well as protecting their assets.
If you decide to go the route of DRM, it’s not simply pushing a button. If you have a strict DRM regime, you couldn’t use something like SERU, so you’ll spend a lot of time on licensing and legal discussions. Developing and administering platforms is time-consuming, as well as resource-consuming. Monitoring the use and making sure that there are no violations of the DRM is also time-consuming and resource-consuming. More time on the sales team will be spent explaining to the customers what they can and cannot do with the content.
Speaker: David Parker, Alexander Street Press
DRM reader platforms restrict knowledge sharing. It perpetuates a pricing model driven by print, and eliminates the conversation and creativity that could come. Piracy of scholarly and learning-oriented ebooks is not pervasive, and is quite overstated. These are the downsides of DRM for authors.
SERU was heavily involved in putting this session together. SERU hopes to put away with the madness of licensing and come up with mutually agreeable terms.
Most libraries purchase ebooks in order to make them available 24/7 to their users. While they haven’t grown to proportion sizes larger than print in library collections, they are heading there.
Researchers like ebooks because they don’t have to return them, and are more accessible than print books in the developing world. Students appreciate the ease of accessibility, particularly distance learnings, but given the choice they would take print over e every time. Libraries like them because there are easier/better ways of assessing usage and value to their users, but there are licensing and DRM headaches.
Speaker: Adam Chesler, Business Expert Press / Momentum Press
He has worked for large publishers, but now works for a small, new publisher.
What’s hard for a new publisher to break into the library market? Creating awareness, providing value — acquisition librarians are already overwhelmed with sales pitches via email. Authors may be wary of working with an unknown outlet when there are so many other options. They have to figure out ways to do this creatively.
Gaining budget shares in library materials budgets is challenging, where established publishers have long-standing space. Setting up trials for libraries and following up on them is challenging when one person is responsible for every business/science library in North America. “If you set up a trial, it would be much better to tell me to go to hell than ignore me.”
What’s easy? Nothing.
Well, being an e-only publisher means they don’t have responsibility for a print legacy that needs to be converted to online. That’s easy. They also have more freedom to experiment, particularly with pricing models. And SERU. That’s easy. They also don’t have their own platform, so they make the books available on established providers libraries are already comfortable using.
Speaker: Kimberly Steinle, Duke University Press
When they created the ebook side of the press, they modeled it after the ejournal side, with similar tiered pricing. They also work with the other ebook platforms and their pricing and licensing models.
While the ejournal collection sales are significant, they were surprised to find that ebook collections were not as popular as individual title sales.
They thought selling ebooks would be easy, since they already had existing relationships. MARC records, pricing, technology — not as easy as they thought. Squeezing the ebook model into the ejournal model doesn’t quite fit.
It’s easy to set up multiple sales models, but harder to get information about who the customers are and using that to make business decisions.
They’re a little worried that if they give up DRM it will impact print sales, but it’s obviously pretty unpopular and they do want the books to be used. They’re thinking about future formats — EPUB3, HTML5 — they need to keep up. They’re thinking about new ways to sell the content, and increasing the number of platforms and partners they work with.
Speaker: Bob Boissey, Springer
Serials come first at Springer (because they’re 80% of your materials budget). But, he’ll talk about ebooks today.
The STM publisher’s preference is to sell ebooks in packages directly to libraries, but there are other models based on library or patron selection that have some appeal. Eventually, market forces will probably mean they’ll have to do something with PDA.
In the post-PDA world, maybe we stop selecting and make sure that our systems are solid for allowing our users to find the best, most relevant content in an un-scoped collection. Might also mean giving up some of our concepts about what librarianship is.
The easy stuff: Libraries are the traditional purchasers of scholarly books, and publishers know how many print books we’ve purchased from them in the past. Many eresource issues were resolved with ejournals. SERU. The volume discount approach to selling ebook packages can work if the per unit cost is low, the percentage of portfolio used is high, and the spend is commensurate with print spend, but with more titles. Include textbooks and reference books in the package. Remove DRM, pair with liberal use and ILL permissions.
The not so easy, but not so hard stuff: Editors and authors have not had an easy time coming to terms with ebooks, much like print on demand. Discovery layer for ebooks is still the catalog, and it’s not down to the full text quite yet. Tablets are great for ebooks, and as they get more popular on campuses, ebooks get used more. Might have to give up the concept of book as a full thing and be okay with chapter-level reading. Most scholarly books outside of the humanities and social sciences are not read as a whole.
Old model of publishing was based on scarcity, with publishers as mediators for everything. Publishers aren’t in the business of publishing books, they are in the business of selling books, so they really focus more on what books they think readers want to read. Ebook self publishing overcomes many of the limitations of traditional publishing.
Users want flexibility. Authors want readers. Libraries want books accessible to anyone, and they deliver readership.
The tools for self publishing are now free and available to anyone around the world. The printing press is now in the cloud. Smashwords will release about 100,000 new books in 2012, and they are hitting best seller lists at major retailers and the New York Times.
How do you curate this flood? Get involved at the beginning. Libraries need to also promote a culture of authorship. Connect local writers with local readers. Give users the option to publish to the library. Emulate the best practices of the major retailers. Readers are the new curators, not publishers.
Smashwords Library Direct is a new service they are offering.
[Missed the first part as I sought a more comfortable seat.]
They look for zero margin distribution solutions by connecting publishers and libraries. They do it by running crowd-funded pledge drive for every book offer, much like Kickstarter. They’ve been around since May 2012.
For example, Oral Literature in Africa was published by Oxford UP in 1970, and it’s now out of print with the rights reverted to the author. The rights holder set a target amount needed to make the ebook available free to anyone. The successful book is published with a Creative Commons license and made available to anyone via archive.org.
Unglue.it verifies that the rights holder really has the rights and that they can create an ebook. The rights holder retains copyright, and the ebook format is neutral. Books are distributed globally, and distribution rights are not restricted to anyone. No DRM is allowed, so the library ebook vendors are having trouble adopting these books.
This is going to take a lot of work to make it happen, if we just sit and watch it won’t. Get involved.
Why would a library want to become a publisher? It incentivizes the open access model. It provides services that scholars need and value. It builds collaborations with partners around the world. It improves efficiencies and encourages innovation in scholarly communications.
Began by collaborating with the university press, but it focuses more on books and monographs than journals. The library manages several self-archiving repositories, and they got into journal publishing because the OJS platform looked like something they could handle.
They targeted diminishing circulation journals that the university was already invested in (authors, researchers, etc.) and helped them get online to increase their circulation. They did not charge the editors/publishers of the journals to do it, and encouraged them to move to open access.
Background: Canadian Urban Libraries Council (CULC) member libraries serve 70% of the Canadian population, and 98% of the circulation of materials. eBound is the Canadian eContent distribution arm for more than 100 Canadian publishers.
Publishers really needed a purchase model, not a licensing model, because their contracts with authors talked about sales. Libraries, on the other hand, preferred a license model. There was also some concern from the publishers that rights would be implemented in the way they were intended. And, they needed a third party partner to find a vendor who could handle the responsibility of housing and mediating the circulation of the ebooks, which is where eBound came in.
The purchase model seems a bit complex, and focuses primarily on the publisher’s back catalog at a very low rate per title ($10) sold in large blocks to the entire system. This addresses the publisher’s concern that the midlist authors aren’t getting exposure in libraries. And, if the circulation is low, the price drops after a period of time. The titles have a “worn out” rate of approximately 40 circulations. Some titles can be purchased at a higher rate for preservation purposes and would be DRM-free.
They expect to roll out the vendor side systems next spring, and once that is settled, then it would be rolled out to CULC members.
In 1997, ebooks were on CD-ROM and came with large paper books to explain how to use them, along with the same concerns about platforms we have today.
Current sales models involve purchase by individual libraries or consortia, patron-driven acquisition models, and subscriptions. Most of this presentation is a sales pitch for EBSCO and nothing you don’t already know.
Speaker: Leslie Lees (ebrary)
Ebrary was founded a year after NetLibrary and was acquired by ProQuest last year. They have similar models, with one slight difference: short term loans, which will be available later this spring.
With no longer a need to acquire books because they may be hard to get later, do we need to be building collections, or can we move to an on-demand model?
He thinks that platforms will move towards focusing more on access needs than on reselling content.
Speaker: Bob Nardini (Coutts)
They are working with a variety of incoming files and outputting them in any format needed by the distributors they work with, both ebook and print on demand.
A recent study found that academic libraries have significant number of overlap with their ebook and print collections.
They are working on approval plans for print and ebooks. The timing of the releases of each format can complicate things, and he thinks their model mediates that better. They are also working on interlibrary loan of ebooks and local POD.
Because they work primarily with academic libraries, they are interested in models for archiving ebooks. They are also looking into download models.
Speaker: Mike (OverDrive)
He sees the company as an advocate for libraries. Promises that there will be more DRM-free books and options for self-published authors. He recommends their resource for sharing best practices among librarians.
What is going on with DRM and ebooks? What mechanism does your products use?
Adobe Digital Editions is the main mechanism for OverDrive. Policies are set by the publishers, so all they can do is advocate for libraries. Ebrary and NetLibrary have proprietary software to manage DRM. Publishers are willing to give DRM-free access, but not consistently, and not for their “best” content.
It is hard to get content onto devices. Can you agree on a single standard content format?
No response, except to ask if they can set prices, too.
Adobe became the de facto solutions, but it doesn’t work with all devices. Should we be looking for a better solution?
That’s why some of them are working on their own platforms and formats. ePub has helped the growth of ebook publishing, and may be the direction.
Public libraries need full support for these platforms – can you do that?
They try the best they can. OverDrive offers secondary support. They are working on front-line tech support and hope to offer it soon.
Do publishers work with all platforms or are there exclusive arrangements?
Do you offer more than 10 pages at a time for downloads of purchased titles?
Ebrary tries to do it at the chapter level, and the same is probably true of the rest. EBSCO is asking for the right to print up to 60 pages at a time.
Scientific publisher Springer has been doing several things lately that make me sit up and pay attention. Providing DRM-free PDF files of their ebooks is one, and now I see they are providing rather useful bits of scholarly information in a rather social media format.
Presenters: Jonathan Nabe, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale and Andrea Imre, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
As resources have dwindled over the years, libraries want to make sure every dollar spent is going to things patrons will use. Patron-driven acquisition (PDA) means you’re only buying things that your users want.
With the Coutts MyiLibrary, they have access to over 230,000 titles from more than 100 publishers, but they’ve set up some limitations and parameters (LC class, publication year, price, readership level) to determine which titles will be made available to users for the PDA program. You can select additional title after the initial setup, so the list is constantly being revised and enhanced. And, they were able to upload their holdings to eliminate duplications.
[There are, of course, license issues that you should consider for your local use, as with any electronic resource. eBooks come with different sorts of use concerns than journals, but by now most of us are familiar with them. However, those of us in the session are blessed with a brief overview of these concerns. I recommend doing a literature study if this interests you.]
They opted for a deposit account to cover the purchases, and when a title is purchased, they add a purchase order to the bibliographic record already in the catalog. (Records for available titles in the program are added to the catalog to begin with, and titles are purchased after they have been accessed three times.)
[At this point, my attention waned even further. More interested in hearing about how it’s working for them than about the processes they use to set up and manage it, as I’m familiar with how that’s supposed to work.]
They’ve spent over $54,000 since November 2008 and purchased 470 titles (approx $115/title on average). On average, 95 pages are viewed per purchased title, which is a stat you can’t get from print. Half of the titles have been used after the initial purchase, and over 1,000 titles were accessed once or twice (prior to purchase and not enough to initiate purchase).
Social sciences and engineering/technology are the high users, with music and geography at the low end. Statistically, other librarians have pushed back against PDA more than users, and in their case, the humanities librarian decided this wasn’t a good process and withdrew those titles from the program.
During the same time period, they purchased almost 17,000 print titles, and due to outside factors that delayed purchases 77% of those titles have never circulated. Only 1% circulated more than four times. [Hard to compare the two, since ebooks may be viewed several times by one person as they refer back to it, when a print book only has the checkout stat and no way to count the number of times it is “viewed” in the same way.]
Some issues to consider:
DRM (digital rights management) can cause problems with using the books for classroom/course reserves. DRM also often prevents users from downloading the books to preferred portable, desktop, or other ebook readers. There are also problems with incompatible browsers or operating systems.
Discovery options also provide challenges. Some publishers are better than other at making their content discoverable through search tools.
ILL is non-existent for ebooks. We’ve solved this for ejournals, but ebooks are still a stumbling block for traditional borrowing and lending.
There are other ebook purchasing options, and the “big deal” may actually be more cost-effective. They provide the wide access options, but at a lower per-book cost.
Archival copies may not be provided, and if it is, there are issues with preservation and access that shift long-term storage from free to an undetermined cost.