This paper was originally written for a Media Strategy course at Fordham University. It seeks to provide an overview of complications in the publishing industry around e-book lending at public libraries and in turn looks at five major players involved in the struggle: libraries, publishers, distributors, start-ups, and government agencies. Following a general analysis, the paper provides several plans for each of the current players to avoid ‘extinction’ and postulates ways in which they might work together moving forward.
Introduction: E-book Lending and the Future of Libraries
Since the creation of e-books libraries have struggled with the practice of lending digital copies of books to their increasingly digitally inclined patrons. Complications have ranged from technological implementations (software and delivery issues), to outright refusal from publishers to sell copies of e-books to libraries, and outdated copyright laws that no longer protect a library’s basic ability to lend media if it is in
To fully gain an understanding of the struggle between libraries and publishers in regard to e-book lending, it’s important to know the major players and laws involved, as well as some history leading up to today’s still-unresolved situation. First, we will examine each of the five major players and their wants, needs, challenges, and fears around e-book lending individually. Those five players are: 1.) Libraries 2.) Publishers 3.) Distributors 4.) Start-Ups and 5.) Government. Concurrently we will touch on those players’ histories within the ongoing e-book lending saga. Following this analysis, we will postulate several plans for each of the current players to avoid ‘extinction’ and ways in which they might work together moving forward…