Internet impacts book publishing

Publishers are struggling with the new reality that e-books are outselling their paper counterparts and even local libraries are seeing the strain from that change.

“It’s an international problem and it’s part of the market meltdown. Content management is more difficult than it used to be because you don’t have the physical object like you used to,” said Lesley Dieno, executive director of the Okanagan Regional Library, referencing the changes she’s seeing from her corner of the world.

“It will take some time to sort it out and it will be another fire years before it settles down.

“(It’s) one of the effects you get when you get a big powerful engine like the Internet (moving) content around.”

One of the biggest problems stemming from this time of tumult is that going virtual in the book world isn’t exactly cost effective.

“You’d think (ebooks) would be cheaper than a printed book, but they’re not,” she said.

“Digital rights management systems require we check books out and have them returned.

“Publishers are scared to death, because they see what’s been happening in the music industry, and a couple have told us they will sell us ebooks, but we can only use them 26 times before the file is gone.”

That would mean the library would have to purchase a book continually to keep it within its virtual shelves.

The change in book delivery methods has changed everything, said Dieno, pointing out that local libraries are now getting emails from authors who are wanting to shill their written wares, in hopes the library will pick them up.

“Libraries across North America are reacting to this, and the discussion is taking place at a continental and intercontinental level,” she said.

“It’s not your local library dealing with these issues.”



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