Welcome to one of our periodic looks at how the Library chooses and acquires the materials that end up on our shelves. In this case, we’re talking about the virtual shelves that hold our eBook collection.
Here’s the latest from the acting chief of the Library’s Materials Management Division, Rachel Wood.
Disappointed with the gaps in the Library eBook collection? So are we.
Having offered eBooks for five years now and with 10,000 titles to choose from — including best-sellers, kids’ books and favorite series — you can surely find something great to read. But if you’re looking for a particular title, you should know that only a third of the top publishers are willing to sell eBooks to public libraries.
National Public Radio recently aired a valuable explanation of the issues involved.
The Library strives to obtain books that people want to read, especially best sellers, and ordering the eBook format is now a regular part of the process. But often public libraries just can’t get an eBook edition for you.
Here’s what that means using this week’s list of New York Times combined print and eBook best sellers. You’ll only be able to click on those titles that we were able to obtain for the Library eBook collection:
Another issue: the Library eBook collection is hard to search.
Overdrive, the only eBook vendor to offer titles for Kindle, has its own database and it can be hard to browse. We’re happy to help you learn the tricks to finding things faster, but we want better. We’re working to pull all the titles available online into our in-house catalog, so you can find both print and eBooks in one place.
Sometimes it’s quite hard to get library eBooks onto your reader.
It can take more clicks, and sometimes even a cable, to get library books onto your eReader. Publishers call that “friction” and hope the extra effort will steer you toward buying the book instead of borrowing it. We want you to be able to download library books as easily as checking out hard copies. In the meantime, we’ll do all we can to help you with the downloading process.
Please don’t give up yet.
We’re determined to make things better. Through the American Library Association and Urban Libraries Council, Arlington Public Library is working to get more publishers on board and make our eBooks easier to use. We encourage you to let publishers know what you think, too.
We’re also watching for new and better ways to get you the content you want. We can’t reveal the details right now but later this month the Library will have something special–and digital–to offer readers of popular magazines.
And just a reminder: If you’re a fan of classic literature, you can fill your eReader for free with some of the greatest writers who ever lived, with no waiting lists and no expirations. Thanks to Project Gutenberg, you can get to know Lincoln and “Les Misérables” well beyond the multiplex. For keeps.
Let us know.
How is the collection working for you? What changes would you like to see?
Feel free to leave a question or comment in the space below. And thanks for all your support of our efforts.
Behind the Scenes is our periodic look at how the Library works, brought to you by acting chief of the Library’s Materials Management Division, Rachel Wood.