DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Feb 7 2011

To E(book) or not to E(book)

by Patricia D

Kindle.  Nook.  Literati.  Something produced by Apple.   Someone you know got an eBook reader for Christmas.  If that someone had the same sales person as my sister-in-law, they were told the public library has electronic books to download onto said eBook reader (with the exception of the Kindle, because we all know only Amazon purchased content can be viewed on a Kindle.)   Sad fact:  DCPL currently does not have electronic books to be loaded onto any eBook reader currently on the market.  We would love to have them, primarily because our mission is to provide the materials and information our patrons want.  Also, some of us got eBook readers for Christmas too and for me, paying for a book is a verrrrrry hard idea to get my head around.  However, Economic Reality is most certainly Coyote Ugly these days and adding another dimension to DCPL’s collections is something we can plan but not implement.

We can offer, thanks in large part to the generous support of the Friends of the Dunwoody Library, a very nice downloadable audiobook collection, which can be played on computers, MP3 players and in some instances, iPods, though at the moment I have yet to figure out how to manage that technological feat (for more technical help with downloadable audiobooks, please see this post).  These downloadable audiobooks can be accessed from either our OverDrive page or from the catalog, where they are being added as quickly as we can catalog them.  I find it amusing that we’re cataloging something we can’t actually hold—it’s a little like trying to catalog Daniel Tiger’s (Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood  character) imaginary best friend, which was part of the cataloging final in graduate school.  Keep an eye out for the “downloadable audiobook” format as you search the catalog and please know, as soon as we are able, that there will be listings for “electronic books” as well.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

SHARON J. February 8, 2011 at 11:41 AM

Enjoyed the article. Thanks for jogging my memory on this E-book thing.

Tamika S February 8, 2011 at 12:54 PM

Great post, PD. Very informative.

Avid reader February 9, 2011 at 5:45 PM

Why is it that some of the other counties do have Ebooks available but not any of the Dekalb libaries? I would think that given the number of residents that reside in the county that Dekalb would also be able to justify the additional expense.

Angie February 11, 2011 at 1:56 PM

I’m sad that DCPL doesn’t have ebooks available. Is there any way to re-examine whether or not this feature could be added? Could you survey consumers and ask how often they would be used? I know I am an avid reader who would check out a new release in e-format over physical book format if I thought I would get it faster. If other patrons would do the same thing, could the book purchasing budget be re-allocated to allow for the purchase of e-licenses?

Jimmy L February 11, 2011 at 4:06 PM

We currently have a staff work group looking at the possibility of adding new formats (like eBooks) to our collections in 2011. The eBooks have been on our “wish list” for awhile now. However, as the original blogger noted, money for new materials is extremely tight this year. We’ll know more for sure after DeKalb County’s final budget is set by the Board of Commissioners in late February, but we’ve been told that cuts are likely. (Ask at the reference desk of your local branch if you’d like to see a copy of the current proposed county budget).

Providing systemwide access to current, high demand titles in the e-book format would require us to buy multiple licenses for each title. Without those multiple-user licenses, you’d probably wait much longer for the eBook than you might for the physical book. All the same, we do know that it’s a format many users are eager to try, and we’re doing our best to get on the bandwagon as quickly as our circumstances allow.

Sandra August 1, 2011 at 9:37 PM

“Providing systemwide access to current, high demand titles in the e-book format would require us to buy multiple licenses for each title. Without those multiple-user licenses, you’d probably wait much longer for the eBook than you might for the physical book.”

This sounds like a cop-out to me. If libraries want to stay relevant moving forward, they need to provide reading material for the technologies that their patrons want and use. E-readers are becoming more and more popular. Several other library systems across the country provide E-books, this needs to be a top priority for the DeKalb County library. As it is already, the online searching mechanism is subpar.

Kimberly October 30, 2011 at 10:26 AM

I’m a little late to the party on this, but I just wanted to say that I don’t think Jimmy’s answer is a cop-out. My parents are in Cobb County, which offers eBooks, and they haven’t been able to find a single eBook in their catalog with a copy available. Not only that, but there are entries that read “Available Copies: 0 (22 patrons on waiting list)”…that’s a pretty lengthy wait! Go to http://cobbcounty.lib.overdrive.com and check the complete list of eBooks if you want to see what the availabilities are today.

I think the bottom line is that it’s new technology that has taken off much faster than anyone (except maybe Jeff Bezos) expected it to; it will take time for libraries to allocate funds to get on board, then to build up an eBook collection comparable to their vast decades-old physical collections. The waiting is the hardest part… :) That said, I hope DCPL will let us know if there’s anything we can do to help out – maybe some way to make donations directed specifically at an eBook fund? Thanks and keep up the good work, guys!

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