Finally, Some Good News for Libraries with E-Books
I’ve pretty much taken a vacation from blogging this summer for several reasons. First and foremost, nothing innovative or exciting has taken place as far as public libraries and e-book publishers over the past months. I returned from ALA rather discouraged with what I heard from both publishers and speakers, so rather than just gripe, I’ve been silent. I continue to read updates regarding surveys and follow ALA releases, but nothing revolutionary is forthcoming. Then, I read a blog post that has given me reason for hope.
At the 2011 Digipalooza conference in Cleveland, we heard guest author Joe Konrath talk about his experiences publishing on Amazon. In case you’ve missed his books, Joe writes the “Jack Daniels” mystery series and was published in print format for years. He now publishes his books directly in digital format. Mr. Konrath has his own blog, A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing, that I follow regularly. In his most recent post, Joe talks about an e-mail he received from two librarians in Houston Texas who asked if he’d allow them to purchase his e-books directly. As a result of their communication, Konrath has decided to sell his e-books to libraries WITHOUT DRM attached for a very low (and I do mean VERY) price and they will belong to the library forever. This is just unbelievably good news, because in the follow-up comments to this posting, there were other indie authors who also expressed a willingness to do something very similar. This tells me, first and foremost, that authors want libraries to be able to offer e-books to their patrons without jumping through hoops and paying outrageous fees. Joe included his e-mail address in his blog post and suggests that libraries who want to purchase his books simply e-mail him. I have visions of his in-box being overwhelmed with these requests in short order. There are so many librarians out there who are totally frustrated at the current state of affairs that they will be thrilled to work directly with a talented author who sees the value of libraries offering his work.
It has taken all summer for me to be this excited and hopeful. Our library is looking forward to making this process happen and get these titles into our collection. I can only pray that this first move by author Joe Konrath will be the beginning of many other opportunities for new models in providing digital materials to our patrons.