Libraries across Canada are looking for an alternative to an ebook purchasing model that has constrained the development of ebook lending. I’m sure you are familiar with the current model, which has ebooks partitioned into a separate section from print books in the online catalogue. Library ebook wholesalers, such as Overdrive and Ebsco, have their own catalogue of book available to patrons. The lack of integration is unfortunate for both patrons and librarians alike; it’s so much better to have an integrated cataloguing system showing the greatest amount of data in one location.
As websites such as Canadian Bookshelf offer more information in one location, it’s frustrating that our libraries are forced to fall behind as an information source. Other problems emerge from the single-supplier model now in place, including lack of ebook ownership and obscured communication lines between publishers and libraries. An excellent blog post by Christina deCastell on Uncovering Ebooks blog provides greater insight into the current situation and the solutions being explored by librarians all across Canada.
I believe it’s important for libraries to have ebooks: We want our literature to be accessible to all and we want our authors to earn money from their works. One of the key ingredients to fulfill this situation is keeping libraries relevant with ebook lending programs.