03/14/2013 – E-books cause friction between libraries and publishers

This is not just an academic
discussion.  New research from the Pew Research
Center shows that a third
of Americans now own e-book readers or tablet devices, and Amazon sells more
e-books than print books.  Yet a recent Forbes
magazine article pointed out that four of the six biggest publishers will not
sell e-books to libraries at any price. 
The other two either price them very high (up to eight times the price to
consumers on Amazon) or limit the number of lends per book to 26.

Libraries argue that they play a vital role
in advancing literacy in a society where bookstores disappear every day while
the number of books available to read has grown dramatically. The Forbes article
said: “Even more than in the past, we will depend on libraries of the future to
help discover and curate great books. For publishers, the library will be the
showroom of the future.  Ensuring that
libraries have continuing access to published titles gives them a chance to
meet this role….”

Yet libraries and the Big Six publishers are
fighting over how much e-books should cost, how they can be lent and who owns
them.  At the heart of the struggle is
whether libraries increase book sales or cannibalize them. These are complex
and contentious issues.

Publishers say that library e-books hurt
their sales because it is so easy and inexpensive (read: free) to borrow them
from libraries.  They say e-books don’t
wear out and patrons can even borrow them without visiting the physical

Libraries counter that sometimes they buy
duds and, unlike Amazon and bookstores, they pay up front and are not permitted
to pulp or return such mistakes.  They
say that while bestsellers probably are cannibalized, libraries help the sales
of new authors and older titles, thus benefiting publishers as well as library

Clearly, e-books present new and difficult
issues for both libraries and publishers. 
We hope the situation can be resolved to everyone’s benefit.  As Forbes said:  “… public libraries are an integral part of
the fragile ecosystem of reading in America.  Without libraries to encourage new readers,
foster book groups and promote communities of reading, publishers will find
fewer readers for their biggest titles, and readers will have more difficulty
discovering works not on the bestseller list.”


Free Academy Award film

            Mark your
calendars for movie night next Thursday, March 21 when we will show an Academy
Award-winning film from this year from 4
– 6 p.m.  Our movie license
does not allow us to publicize its title in this column, so it will be a fun
surprise for you.  Popcorn provided.


Art for youngsters

            Kids in the
first-third grades are invited to Art Attack, free hands-on art fun tomorrow
(Friday, March 15) from 2.3 p.m.


Teen crafts event

            Next Friday, March
22 from 1 – 2:30 p.m. Trina
will host a free “Make It” crafts event for teens in the seventh through 12th
grades where you will have the opportunity to make jewelry.  All supplies provided.



            “Cherish the First
6 Weeks” by Helen Moon is a step-by-step plan that promises to create calm,
confident parents and a happy, secure baby.  
“Let’s Pretend This Never Happened” by Jenny Lawson, described as a
mostly true memoir, is a poignant and slightly hysterical accounting by a woman
who felt she never fit in. 


Mysteries and thrillers

            “The Power Trip”
by Jackie Collins is a sexy, sun-drenched thriller set on a luxury yacht off
the coast of Cabo San Lucas.  “Hit Me” by Lawrence Block tells of a hit man
brought back into the business by the bad economy.  “Alex Cross, Run” by James Patterson is the
latest in the series featuring Detective Alex Cross.


Other new novels

            “A Week in Winter”
by Maeve Binchy chronicles a week in a holiday place on the coast of Ireland.  This is the 12th book to appear on
the New York Times hardcover bestselling list by this author, who died last
July.  “Firefly Island”
by Lisa Wingate is a love story following a woman who marries and moves from
Capitol Hill to a remote town in Texas.
“Insane City” by Pulitzer Prize winner Dave
Barry is an adventure at a destination wedding involving drugs, gangsters and
danger from myriad sources. 


Short stories

            “Tenth of
December” by George Saunders is a collection of short stories about class, sex,
love, loss, work, despair and war. 
“Vampires in the Lemon Grove” by Karen
Russell is a collection of stories about magical events. 


Books on CD

             “The Storyteller” by Jodi Picoult follows a
woman whose new friend confesses a long-buried secret that will dramatically
affect both their lives.  “Red Velvet
Cupcake Murder” by Joanne Fluke is the latest in the Hannah Swenson mystery
series with recipes.  “Blood of War” by
Larry Bond is the fourth and final book in the Red Dragon Rising adventure
series.  “Until the End of Time” by
Danielle Steel is about a young couple who leave the fast-paced life of New York City for a small
parish in Wyoming.  “Insane
City” by Pulitzer Prize
winner Dave Barry is an adventure at a destination wedding involving drugs, gangsters
and danger from myriad sources.  “See Now
and Then” by Jamaica Kincaid follows the lives of a New
England family over many years. 
“The Power Trip” by Jackie Collins is a thriller set on a luxurious
yacht off the coast of Cabo San Lucas. 


Thanks to our donors

            For books and
materials this week, we thank Lisa Peterson and several anonymous donors.


Quotable Quote

            “Never doubt that
a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
– Margaret Mead (1901-1978), American anthropologist.



For more information on library books, services and
programs – and to reserve books from the comfort of your home – please visit
our website at http://pagosa.colibraries.org/.

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