While ebook lending issues still cast a long shadow over digital publishing, more and more companies are developing their own tools to help academic and public libraries meet customer demand for ebooks. Along with well-known lending giants like OverDrive and 3M Library Systems, Ingram is now working to provide much-needed lendable content to a growing number of outlets.
The MyiLibrary platform addresses two needs for libraries: first, it maintains a catalog of titles that rivals those of some bookstores, adding nearly 5,000 new books each month; second, it helps librarians shed the archaic search systems they’ve used for decades in favor of selected content from publishers.
And the publishers have been the culprit, at least in the eyes of the industry, for so long that it’s a great benefit to see them working so closely with an ebook lending service. Publishers are given different pricing options, including the ire-raising single-user versus multi-user models, or the innovative credit system in which libraries can purchase as many or as few actual checkouts of the book, without time constraints.
“We go to publishers and ask for the right to distribute digitally, so that decision is going to be driven by what the publisher wants,” explains Pamela Smith, MyiLibrary’s Vice President of Library Sales, in an article by Rachel Aydt for Publishing Perspectives. “I think that MyiLibrary is a platform that both protects the rights publishers while benefitting the end user — the library patron, and the student — to access materials.”
While total access to any publishers’ books at the touch of a device screen may be farther off than some patrons hope, these relationships that are slowly developing between providers and publishers are opening doors to greater availability. With each successful partnership among libraries, the current barriers can fall away for broader ebook lending.