Many of you have already seen this article that I tweeted earlier in the week. I am curious as to what other folks in Library Land think about the “open letter.” The best bits are as follows:
The four principles demand that library users be able to:
- Search and browse a single comprehensive catalog with all of a library’s offerings at once, including all e-books, physical collections, programs, blogs, and donor opportunities. Currently, content providers often only allow searches within the products they sell, depriving users of the comprehensive library experience.
- Place holds, check-out items, view availability, manage fines and receive communications within individual library catalogs or in the venue the library believes will serve them best, without having to visit separate websites (libraries, not distributors, should be enabled to manage all interactions with users).
- Seamlessly enjoy a variety of e-content. To do this, libraries must be able to choose content, devices and apps from any provider or from multiple providers, without bundling that limits a library’s ability to serve content they purchase on platforms of their choice.
- Download e-books that are compatible with all readers, from the Kindle to the Nook to the iPad and so on.
“In order for libraries to continue to function as key providers of information to the public, these basic principles must be followed,” the statement said. “The libraries who signed this agreement are committed to holding content providers to this standard, and will prioritize these requirements when acquiring e-books and other e-content.”
The principles clearly reflect the growing dissatisfaction among librarians not only about their inability to get ebooks from publishers but also with the fractured nature of the lending experience.
In particular, even as some publishers demand more “friction” be added to borrowing, the librarians’ demand for a frictionless, seamless experience stems from the requirement that library patrons often have to jump interfaces when borrowing an ebook and librarians would prefer that the transaction remain within the confines of their OPAC or their discovery layer (such as Bibliocommons).
a) an admonishment of Overdrive and the way they have developed their product?
b) an example of libraries organizing to leverage their purchasing power?
c) a total waste of time since publishers really do not seem to care about libraries or understand the role libraries play in their bottom line?
I would love to know what others think–please share your comments.