Tuesday, November 16, 2010

eBooks Coming Soon?

Like many of you, the Cumberland County Library System is closely watching the eBook market to see how quickly our community adopts Kindles, Nooks, Kobos and Sony eReaders. Right now, eBook sales make up about 5% of the total market. And, we expect that number to grow after this year's holiday gift-giving season is over.

So, what are we doing about eBooks? Well, right now, the library system has no immediate plans to begin purchasing them. This is caused by two reasons.

First, the commercial e-book market for libraries is evolving — almost daily — and right now vendors can't sell us eBooks that could be used by all types of eBook readers. For example, libraries can't buy eBooks that are compatible with the most popular reader on the market, Amazon's Kindle. So, if we were able to buy eBooks right now, we'd be frustrating a lot of people who are using Amazon's Kindle.

Second, continued state budget cuts have reduced our new materials budget significantly. This year alone we lost 20% ($142,000) from our new book budget. With the loss of 11% more of our state support in 2011, we expect even more cuts for new materials next year. And, investing in eBooks isn't cheap. It would require at least $20,000 to get started. This is money that we don't have on hand right now.

However, the news is not all bleak.

If you have an eReader that is compatible with library eBooks, you can still get eBooks from the Free Library of Philadelphia at no charge! They can provide this service because they receive state funding to be one of our Statewide Resource Centers.

To make this happen, just
register online for a free library card from the Free Library of Philadelphia.

In a week or so, you will receive your card in the mail, and then you can begin downloading Philadelphia's eBooks (and eAudios too!)

Let me know how you like them!


Karen Good said...

I walked myself through the process of getting a Philadelphia Library card and downloading an ebook to my computer at home. I had difficulty in finding the ebooks on their web site, but once I did I found the process methodical and not difficult to figure out. I would encourage all Library Staff to do the same, it will help us understand the process and be able to field questions better.