I’ve been doing lots of speaking lately about eBooks lately (at the California Library Association annual conference, the PLA eBook webinar that just wrapped up, a PLA Facebook chat on eBooks, and more to come…) as well as projecting the impacts of eMaterials on the built environment as part of current construction design projects!
Just as we saw the consumer market embrace eReaders last year around this time, eBooks have become *the* hot topic in library land. During the course of the four-week PLA webinar, I was struck by how similar the issues are for libraries — from small to large.
There is a clear shift to digital in the publishing market, and the transition has been difficult for many libraries. It’s a world of contrasts. Patrons and many library staff love eMaterials. Some library staff aren’t yet sold. Libraries have very few (less than a handful) of eBook options to offer patrons. There are many eReader devices on the market — seemingly a new one each week. Change is constant.
Despite the uncertainty — it’s clear that public libraries that haven not entered the eBook world should begin — first to understand, and then to help influence this shift in publishing for the benefit of the patrons we serve.
What stood out to me during the eBook webinar (which featured many guests weekly — including librarians, techs and vendors) is that all successful eBook projects had strong, visionary leadership at the core. This element is key when so many aspects of eMaterials are still in the emerging stage.