Deb Czarnik, Library Manager for Technical Services and Collection Development for Lee County Library System, discusses the rising popularity of eBooks and the importance of promoting the format alongside its physical counterparts.
Most libraries using the OverDrive service have undoubtedly heard about Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos’ press release about sales of Kindle eBooks reaching a “tipping point” by surpassing hardcover sales during the first half of 2010. Knowing that Amazon.com is very guarded about the release of sales information and statistics, I imagine there is more to the story, and this announcement seems strategically timed to drive Kindle sales despite recent price wars with competing eReader vendors.
Nonetheless, there is no doubt that eBook usage is climbing exponentially, no matter what device is used, and libraries must aggressively build their eBook collections and promote them to capture users in the growing eBook market.
At my library, our collection development practice now incorporates the selection of forthcoming titles in eBook and audiobook formats in advance, in addition to print and CD, to ensure that our users can find the newest titles in these formats on their street dates too.
To get the word out, when our library staff members or administrators talk with the press, they make sure to mention that our titles are available in downloadable formats in addition to traditional print and audiobook formats. Lee County Library System Director Sheldon Kaye made this point during a morning show interview on our local Fox affiliate recently.
eBooks are well on their way to reaching the “tipping point” over print books, so it is time for libraries to make serious decisions about committing long-term resources for eBooks in their collections. In our library system, the downloadable format collections are no longer considered special separate collections or added as an afterthought. They are an integral part of our collection.
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