ALA Representatives Meet with Publishers

American Libraries has published an article about a recent meeting between members of the American Library Association with "Penguin Random House, Hachette Book Group, the Book Industry Study Group, Metropolitan New York Library Council, and Brooklyn (N.Y.) Public Library."

Entitled "Finding Common Ground in New York," the article discusses ALA's advocacy for new e-book models: As with previous visits, ALA pressed the case for more options on e-book licensing models. Pricing remains high for many titles, especially bestsellers . . . . In addition, many publishers, and the Big Five in particular, offer only one licensing option. While a perpetual license, 26-loan license, or two-year license may be a reasonable business model for some titles for some libraries, the model is hardly optimal for all. For example, a perpetual license (and its corresponding high price) is far from desirable to support a public program, book club, or initial high demand of a new release."

No immediate breakthrough looks likely: "Publishers listened and talked about the market’s evolution. They indicated that they are open to proposals. If the library community is to make any headway, it will need to put its collective head down and do some hard research, make proposals, and come up with a new advocacy strategy, perhaps involving grassroots engagement."

This response is certainly better than a flat "no," but puts the onus on libraries to drive change. 

Matters outside of e-content were discussed: "The current divisive political environment was prominent on the agenda during the meetings. The publishing industry and library community have a longstanding common purpose to promote reading and literacy, free speech, and equitable access to materials. Both sectors have professional norms for clear, substantiated, and logical writing. One idea that received interest is the development of and consensus on common principles for the digital age. This principles project will be an initiative of ALA going forward."

ReadersFirst has long advocated the development of flexible and varied licensing models. We pledge support to efforts to create proposals and will ask our members for ideas. We also support the development of common principles for the digital age. Creating a partnership--but partnership it must be--is essential for ensuring the continued support for traditional library values of intellectual freedom, equitable access to quality information, and support for democracy in our republic.

Let's get started! 


RF at ALA Midwinter Reports: Tony Marx on the Digital Future

ReadersFirst will be sharing some e-book related news from ALA Midwinter. The first of our posts will be a summary of remarks made by Tony Marx, CEO of NYPL.  We apologize to Mr. Marx in advance for our failure to capture his eloquence here, but we think we have the gist right. For those of us who are often down in the library e-book weeds, it is inspiring to think at a high level on why our work matters. Mr. Marx is inspiring indeed.

 "What libraries stand for, and our traditional mission, is more important than ever.

We are dedicated to the proposition that all should have an equal chance:  be able to learn, to use knowledge to move forward, to learn about others, to learn to work together.

We take all comers, for whatever reason brings them in our doors: the kid, the students,the parent, the teacher, the homeless person, the business owner, the Nobel laureate. Every one of them needs to be able to find what they need to move to the next level

Libraries are the foundation of an effective civil society, economy, and democracy.

But all is not well.

We have kids who sit outside our libraries on the stoop to get the crumbs of broadband.

We need to ensure people are connected and have the content they need.

How will people get the technology they need?  This question, and issue, is larger than the digital divide. I use the term "Digital equity."

Libraries alone are focused on it, and Silicon Valley will not solve it.

Let's compare where we are in the digital economy to the Gutenberg Revolution. The printing press was first use to help sell indulgences. We are in the era of printing indulgences--content that is frankly crap.

We are losing a battle for people's lives. Adults spend on average 9 hours a day on tv and digital while spending less than an hour reading. For teens and children, the amount spent reading is often less than 10 minutes.

We are losing the competition for what people use their brains for.

Libraries are the only group that is trying to compete against this loss.

Technology says it should be equalizing. In some ways it is, but often it is reproducing and exacerbating inequalities.

We see not only an inability for people to afford broadband, much less the subscriptions they need to get access to quality information to compete with the garbage they are presented with.

Our obligation is to provide the alternative, We must be there with a triad of broadband digital access, education on how to use it, and materials.

2.5 million people in NYC and some 55 million Americans are without broadband. We started a program, as many of you have, to loan 10,000 hotspots. People line up. We looked at some aggregate data and we learned people were spending time on education and reading, and also cat videos. Why not--everyone else does. Why aren't the federal government and tech industries interested in getting everyone on broadband, if only as customers? But they have moved on.

Techology is of no use if one can't understand it . So we offer computer labs, with 10,000 attendees in basic computers education. We are offering free coding classes in poor neighborhoods. We had a waiting list of 5,000 on the first day. The demand is there, and nobody else is meeting it.

But even if people have a connection and skills, what is it that they look at? We must make sure quality content Is available for schoolwork and education and enrichment.

Many actor are helping: the ALA, the Library of Congress, DPLA, Internet Archive, libraries, We need to figure out what role we can play, we must play. It is not a competition. We must allow for collaboration and build on it. We must work together to provide access, educate, and enhance content. Let's consider an example from NYPL. We have 50 people in our digital shop: we have deveoped SimplyE, an e-book app that gets ontents in less than 3 clicks. It's easy to use, open source, and we want to work with everyone to make it possible for all. Now, over 300,000 titles from 3 clicks is a good start, but why isn't it millions? Why isn't it the brad renae of human knowledge. We ned to provide good exampels from the public domain, and also work with publishers and authors to expand access, finding the balance of licensing that will work for all. We will continue to play our traditional role of curator. But we all need to need to work together. No one group can solve the problem. No one solution will stand forever.

Let us look back at the Gutenberg revolution: it began in indulgences, but then came bibles and then books and the result was the Enlightenment, the greatest flowering of knowledge in Western History. We now live in a world that  83% literate and more and more books are produced each year. This change is a great innovation, for all the bumps and disruptions it caused. Let us take the technology revolution we have to today and make it the Gutenberg revolution on steroids. And don't worry about foot traffic. Coming to the library is complementary with and not competition with technology. If we don't embrace technology, make it available, help people use it, and provide quality content, nobody else will. The opportunity to learn is fed by technology, not constrained.  This is noble work.  And it is  more important than ever.

Some questions and answers:

Where should our biggest focus be?

If we don't do all three legs of stool, our response won't work. If people don't know how to use technology, then connection is worthless, and if content is not there than people are stuck in the superficial. We can't get away from any of these three.  I'd love to see private industry try to help and government get on board with broadband, if only at a utility level, the way basic water is provided. We have recently see a political change of because tens of millions of Americans feel left out, and there is likely a substantial overlap with those who feel left out with those in the digital dark.

There are changing trends in how people use libraries. We see only a modest increase or even flat circulation, flat computer use (the first time years we haven't seen growth), but we see much more  demand on coding and other sort of higher learning experiences.  Where then do we focus? If access is important but demand is going down, where do we focus?

It's easy to lose sight of how much we do. 40 million to New Yorkers use libraries, more than go to museums and sporting events combined. That's great. We can' be boiled down to one thing. We need great collections, We need great staff.  If collection circ is flat, it is still high, and in any case we are also the civic space, the welcoming place, the place that helps society to hold together in a time of national fragmentation.

We must strive to be the education center in our community. Do what libraries done but add the educational aspect: Homework help, ESOL, citizenship classes, basic computer and advanced programming, whatever people need to advance their lives.  We are physical space, civic space, education, and materials. Civic space, education, and collections will be our triad.

What is content, what is collection? For example--gaming. Is that a part?

I came from academics, and I confess to starting off a slightly snobbish, but I've learned we must take people where they are when they come.  Can playing games get one interested in designing games? Can Manga get one started in reading or art?  Good.  Libraries are not intimidating. We trust you to get the content you want. Nobody else does that, certainly not schools.  We  must keep that going.

I started educational career in South Africa in the middle of a civil war, and that experience has colored my life since. We gave disadvantaged kids one year of quality education who then watched them go off to prestigious universities. Never underestimate the ability of the human mind, no matter how crushed, to strive and learn.

Libraries do so much good.  I'll give an example I had recently.  NYPL used to provide custodial apartments in our libraries in part so that custodians could shovel coal at night to keep the place warm.  Recently, we turned one from an apartment into a beautiful center for kids and teens. At the opening, a distinguished older man told me the following:  'I was the son of the last custodian. At night when he would shovel coal, I would sneak into the library.  I felt like a millionaire with all those book, just for me. I would read about boat building and navigating by the stars. I was the first person from my family to graduate from high school.  I was the first to graduate from college. I eventually came to be the head of a social agency. Before I retired, I got a book built a boat, and learned to navigate" it by the stars. I owe where I am to that time in the library.'  You make a difference everyday, even if you don't always get to see it. Keep making that difference!"

E-books on the Decline? We Beg to Differ!

ReadersFirst tends not to share news from for-profit vendors, but OverDrkive's recent press release is noteworthy, not so much because of OverDrive's success (though we at RF continue to wish them well) as for showing that, at least in public libraries, the e-book is far from being on the decline.

 "OverDrive announced today that 30 standalone public library systems and 19 library consortia in the U.S. and two other countries have set a new record for lending more than one million digital books in 2016. These 49 systems each achieved significant year over year circulation growth, and together surpassed the 32 systems that accomplished the feat in 2015."

Five libraries (or consortiums) circulated over 3 million e-books in one year. Seven circulated over 2 million. Here's the list, with percentages of growth. Note how the move to e-books is international. ReadersFirst is proud to note that many of our members, individually or as part of a consortia, are on the list.

Just think what might be accomplished if more content were to become available through more varied business models.

3 million or more digital books circulated
• Toronto Public Library (ON) +20% (standalone library)
• King County Library System (WA) +21% (standalone library)
• Wisconsin’s Digital Library (WI) +11% (consortia)
• Greater Phoenix Digital Library (AZ) +12% (consortia)
• The Ohio Digital Library (OH) +15% (consortia)

2 million or more digital books circulated
• New York Public Library (NY) +28% (standalone library)
• Los Angeles Public Library (CA) +44% (standalone library)
• Seattle Public Library (WA) +12% (standalone library)
• Tennessee READS (TN) +21% (consortia)
• Digital Downloads Collaboration (OH) +17% (consortia)
• Maryland’s Digital Library (MD) +14% (consortia)
• Ontario Library Service Consortium (ON) +12% (consortia)

1 million or more digital books circulated
• Hennepin County Library (MN) +20% (standalone library)
• Cuyahoga County Public Library (OH) +8% (standalone library)
• Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County (OH) +22% (standalone library)
• Calgary Public Library (AB) +8% (standalone library)
• Fairfax County Public Library (VA) +20% (standalone library)
• San Francisco Public Library (CA) +23% (standalone library)
• Multnomah County Library (OR) +38% (standalone library)
• Broward County Library (FL) +13% (standalone library)
• Boston Public Library (MA) +24% (standalone library)
• Pikes Peak Library District (CO) +21% (standalone library)
• Mid-Continent Public Library (MO) +25% (standalone library)
• Indianapolis Public Library (IN) +19% (standalone library)
• Sno-Isle Libraries (WA) +34% (standalone library)
• County of Los Angeles Public Library (CA) +25% (standalone library)
• Denver Public Library (CO) +26% (standalone library)
• Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (PA) +25% (standalone library)
• Harris County Public Library (TX) +34% (standalone library)
• Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative (FL) +16% (standalone library)
• St. Louis County Library (MO) +17% (standalone library)
• The Free Library of Philadelphia (PA) +12% (standalone library)
• Brooklyn Public Library (NY) +21% (standalone library)
• Orange County Library System (FL) +12% (standalone library)
• Metropolitan Library System (OK) +8% (standalone library)
• San Antonio Public Library (TX) +25% (standalone library)
• Ottawa Public Library (ON) +9% (standalone library)
• CLEVNET (OH) +16% (consortia)
• Oregon Digital Library Consortium (OR) +9% (consortia)
• North Carolina Digital Library (NC) +18% (consortia)
• Kentucky Libraries Unbound (KY) +17% (consortia)
• Lî (NY) +15% (consortia)
• My Media Mall (IL) +1% (consortia)
• Utah’s Online Library (UT) +39% (consortia)
• Midwest Collaborative for Library Services (MI) +12% (consortia)
• Houston Area Digital Media Catalog (TX) +17% (consortia)
• Bridges (IA) +124% (started collection in July of 2015) (consortia)
• Las Vegas-Clark County Library District (NV) +31% (consortia)
• Auckland Libraries (NZ) +24% (consortia)

Michael Blackwell, St Mary's County Library (member of Maryland's e-book group)

More E-Books to Become Available to Library Users for Free!

Thanks to a most generous grant from the Alfred P Sloan Foundation, the Digital Public Library of America is making a collection of e-books available in EPUB format to public libraries.  These e-books, ReadersFirst has learned, will supplement the work that DPLA is doing with the SimplyE app. No word yet exactly how the titles will be made available--perhaps simultaneous access model isn't out of the question?-- but it seems likely that they will be open to libraries that deploy SimplyE as an app and perhaps also through the Open eBooks app. Increased access to free and readily available content will make the SimplyE app an even more attractive option for public libraries, especially once the 2.0 version of the app lowers costs and deployment complexities.

Here's the press release from DPLA:

The Digital Public Library of America is thrilled to announce that the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has awarded DPLA $1.5 million to greatly expand its efforts to provide broad access to widely read ebooks. The grant will support improved channels for public libraries to bolster their ebook collections, and for millions of readers nationwide to access those works easily.

DPLA will leverage its extensive connections to America’s libraries through its national network to pilot new ways of acquiring ebook collections. In the same way that DPLA has worked with its hubs in states from coast to coast to improve access to digitized materials from America’s archives, museums, and libraries, DPLA will collaborate with other institutions to improve access to ebooks through market-based methods.

As part of the grant, DPLA will also develop an expansive, open collection of popular ebooks, formatted in the EPUB format for smartphones and tablets, and curated so that readers can find works of interest. Together, these programs will increase substantially the number of ebooks that are readable by all Americans, on the devices that are now broadly held throughout society.

“From its inception, DPLA has sought to maximize access to our shared culture,” Dan Cohen, DPLA’s Executive Director, said at the announcement of the new Sloan grant. “Books are central to that culture, and the means through which everyone can find knowledge and understanding, multiple viewpoints, history, literature,  science, and enthralling entertainment. We deeply appreciate the Sloan Foundation’s support to help us connect the most people with the most books, which are now largely in digital formats.”

“The Sloan Foundation is delighted to support the Digital Public Library of America’s efforts to create new channels for better ebook access,” said Doron Weber, Vice President and Program Director at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. “Sloan was the founding funder of DPLA and its mission, enabling a nationwide, grassroots and non-profit collaboration that to date has provided access to over 15 million digitized items from over 2,000 cultural heritage institutions across the U.S. With its timely new focus on ebooks, DPLA will leverage its national network to expand reading opportunities for thousands of schools and libraries and millions of students, scholars, and members of the public.”

The Sloan grant will help DPLA build upon its existing successful ebook work, such as in the Open eBooks Initiative, which has provided thousands of popular and award-winning books to children in need. Recently, DPLA announced with its Open eBooks partners the New York Public Library, First Book, Baker & Taylor, and Clever that well over one million books were read through the Sloan-supported program in 2016.


SimplyE a Top 10 for 2016

Mr. Andrew Albanese of Publishers Weekly, who has often earned ReasersFirst's admiration for trenchant commentary on library e-books, has named the SimplyE app on of the Top Ten Library Stories of 2016.

Notes Albanese:

"In July, the New York Public Library rolled out its much-anticipated e-book app, SimplyE. The app seeks to solve a problem that has long plagued library e-book users, by simplifying the cumbersome process of checking out library e-books. Make no mistake—the app, by focusing on the user experience, represents a big step forward for those who borrow library e-books. But it also serves to highlight just how far the library e-book market has to go.

But let’s start with the good news. After years of complaints from library e-book users forced to wrestle with clunky interfaces and processes powered by a growing and diverse array of vendors, the SimplyE app offers users one simple interface for all ePub-based library e-books, regardless of vendor. And SimplyE looks and acts like any commercial e-book platform. It features highlighted titles with thumbnails of book jackets. And when you find a book that you want to read, it takes just a few clicks, three or less, and you’re reading. Well, sort of (more on that below).

Developed by a group called Library Simplified, a coalition of libraries and tech partners (with NYPL serving as lead partner), the app is based on open-source code and is available for virtually any public library or library system to use. And because it is open source, partner libraries are free to improve, tinker with, customize, and brand the app for their own library systems."

His final sentence is less favorable: "After all, as I observed in a column this summer, it would be a shame if SimplyE served mostly to highlight for users how frustrating it is to get an e-book from the library."

ReadersFirst appreciates the good review of the SimplyE app. Expect to see a 2.0 version of the app soon that will, through the efforts of the Library E-content Access Project (LEAP--the grant partners behind SimplyE, who thank the IMLS for generous funding), be easier and cheaper for libraries without in-house developers to deploy. It will add more features, and compatibility with formats other than EPUB (PDF and Audiobook) is in the offing. We agree that overall "the library e-book market has [far] to go" but think it unfortuante to connect SimplyE with this sad state of affairs. Limited library budgets certainly have something to do with long waiting lists, but ALA's Digital Content Working Group and other ALA leaders have been working with (on?) publishers for some time to implement a business model (pay-per-use or subscription) that would allow libraries to take fuller advantage of e-books' ability to reach many users simultaneously. We have not been encouraged by the discussion, though there has been some limited progress with some o them. Hey, publishers, could we at least start with your backlists and see if we can work out something mutually beneficial for the good of reading and "to reduce the kind of friction that could drive readers away from books and the library"? We in libraries would love to work with you! Speaking of working, the app mostly works without a hitch. I have never had it fail, and I've demo’d it in many forums. Some of the poor user ratings of the app mentioned by Mr. Albanese say frankly unintelligent things like "books are boring" or "it sucks because you have to have a library card." That said, we in libraries do have more technical work to do to enhance the reader experience. Still, the LEAP partners are moving forward aggressively to create a great e-book experience. At current prices and with current business models, however, LEAPing up from the "plateau" Albanese mentions may be impossible however enthusiastically those at Library Simplified work to make the technical side of the experience streamlined and enjoyable.

NYPL and European Digital Reading Lab Take a Better E-Book Experience International

On Infodocket, Gary Price reports "New York Public Library and European Digital Reading Lab Team Up For a Better E-Reading Experience." Two two entities are collaborating "on the development of open-sourced mobile applications based on the Readium EPUB 3 reading engine.  This collaboration has three aspects: ebook lending management, accessibility and enhancements of the user experience on mobile devices."

"Both organizations will join their forces to ensure that the Library Simplified mobile app offers a great experience to visually impaired people on both iOS and Android devices. In order to respond to the rapid increase in use of mobile devices for ebook access, the Readium Foundation, EDRLab and NYPL are launching a major evolution of the Readium SDK codebase, . . . The architectural phase has already begun, and the year 2017 will see the birth [of] Readium 2."

ReadersFirst applauds the effort to enhance the library e-book experience, especially to improve accessibility on mobile devices. To make library e-content available and readily usable by all is to live the most basic of library values. That this effort is international is all the more impressive, fulfilling RF's hopes for cooperation across borders.   

Of Interest to Academic Librarians and Library Users: Buy or Wait?

Academic librarian and e-book users face a dilemma that public librarians seldom do. Academic e-book titles titles seldom appear at the same time as the print version. Typically, there is a waiting period. With budgets under stress due to many reasons--perhaps not least the escalating costs of journals--few titles are likely to be acquired in both print and digital versions. So, is it best to buy right away and get timely access to content or wait for a digital version that may offer advantages in access and storage? Karen Kohn of Temple University has done an analysis to hep with the decision. She concludes (in part) the following: 

Publishing e‐books simultaneous with the print is still not the norm, despite some publishers’ stated intentions, and thus deciding what to do about delays is still an issue for libraries. This analysis of publication patterns can better equip libraries to make decisions about how long they will wait to see if an e‐book becomes available. This study shows that the older a print book gets, the more likely it is to have an electronic version, but that the largest gains in e‐book availability come during the first few weeks after the print publication. Waiting for an e‐book becomes less worthwhile the longer the wait. While 47.85% of books are available as e‐books fourteen days after the print, it is not until day 101 that the percentage tops seventy‐five percent. Libraries wishing to review their wait periods based on the data provided here will most likely choose a wait period between eight and thirty‐six days. After thirty‐six days, continuing to wait is usually not worthwhile, unless a particular school or program has such a strong preference for e‐books that print is not considered to be useful.   

ReadersFirst is glad for the increased understanding Ms. Kohn brings to the subject and encourages investigating her study.

Pay Authors for Library e-Book Use?

In a guest post on The Digital ReaderRita Matulionyte discusses the practice of Public Lending Rights (PLR), under which authors (and publishers) are paid when patrons check out library items. This practice is commonplace in Europe, Canada, and (for print) Australia. Her focus is on why Australia might consider the practice for e-books as well.

"But e-book lending is increasing and, according to the Australian Library and Information Association, e-books are likely to reach 20% of library holdings by 2020. Also, most, if not all, self-published titles are done so in digital format only. Such self-published titles, if lent by libraries, would not qualify for any remuneration.

For this reason, authors and publishers have been lobbying the Government to extend the Lending Rights Schemes to e-books. Although the Book Industry Collaborative Council made such proposal already in a report of 2013, nothing has happened of yet.

One of the main reasons why e-books are not covered is that e-book lending is quite different from print book lending. In case of print books, authors and publishers are arguably losing on customers and revenues when libraries loan their books for free.

At present, in the case of e-books, many publishers chose not to sell these books to libraries. Also, publishers assume that libraries will lend e-books to many readers so they often charge libraries three or more times the price that consumers are paying for the same e-books.

While publishers charge libraries high prices for e-books, writers complain that these amounts do not reach them. Publishing contracts often don’t specify whether and how much authors receive for e-books sales or for e-lending."

She concludes that applying PLR to e-books could help authors and the Aussie publishing industry but would not be enough to make a measurable difference in the current Australian political situation.

In U.S. Libraries, with our strong commitment to Right of First Sale, PLR is anathema.

Or is it?

 While most U.S. librarians may have begun as First Sale absolutists, for digital content at least many have changed their minds. The 26 circ lease model, much decried at the time (I’ve been told some people in publishing even lost jobs over it), has in fact proven to be perhaps our best digital content model-–far better than outright ownership given that we must often get multiple copies to satisfy demand for popular titles under a one-user circ model. Putting a time limit (one year or two) on this model can create issues, but it is still solid compared to most alternatives.

Libraries also have a tradition of supporting authors. If we could work out a model under which authors got paid a fair price per use for e-books, I doubt many librarians would object.

Let’s identify the real problem source of the issue in the U.S.: not authors, not libraries, but publishers. That is from whom we are (through vendors) typically leasing content. The prices for best sellers are exorbitant; as pointed out in the post above, it is by no means certain that the extra money is going to the authors. The current use models are not beneficial and do not allow libraries to take advantage of e-book full possibilities.

Perhaps authors and librarians could find common cause, advocating for a pay-per-use or subscription model that allowed authors to be fairly paid per download while freeing librarians to circ e-book content without restrictions. Some publishers are already using such a model with library vendors and don’t seem to be losing their shirts. This model is working in libraries for audiobook, music, and video content. Why not e-books? The ALA’s Digital Content Working Group has approached the Big 5 to explore such models, but, with one or two small experiments excepted, has mostly been stalled or ignored. We could perhaps start with backlists and, once established as effective, expand the model. Perhaps publishers could offer a variety of use models, depending on the title, its likely popularity, and potential staying power.

Authors, we like you to get paid. Many libraries are working to forge beneficial relationships with local writers to get them noticed and earn some sales. Why not join us? Push for more open models. Let’s saw through the mind-forged manacles. We have nothing to lose but limited circs and inequitable distribution of revenue.

ReadersFirst wishes all a joyous holiday and a prosperous 2017. Santa, if we could have anything, it would be a year in which the library e-Content experience gets even better (look for big news from NISO and LEAP as early as January) and librarians, authors. publishers, and vendors all sat down for a big feast to share, promote common interests, and promulgate a variety of flexible e-book models that let us increase circulation, getting more content into the hands of more users while being fair to the authors and publishers who produce that content. 


Another Study: Reading Comprehension on the Small Screen

Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader has referenced yet another study about reading comprehension on mobile-sized screens.  The study, from Neilson Norman, contradicts prior research that suggested readers comprehend less well when reading on a smaller screen when compared to a full-sized monitor.

"In our research, conducted six years later, we found a surprisingly different result. We asked 276 participants to read a variety of articles on various topics on either a mobile phone or a personal computer. Some of the articles were easy and some were difficult. After each article, we asked participants to answer a few questions to measure their level of comprehension of the content. We found no practical differences in the comprehension scores of the participants, whether they were reading on a mobile device or a computer." 

A summary:  overall, comprehension scores were slightly higher on mobile, but reading was also slightly slower. "It may be the case" that comprehension of "very difficult" content may be more difficult on smaller screens, but (as always it seems) "More research is needed to know if this effect is real"

Hoffeleder is "not surprised to read about the different results nor am I puzzled by the conflicting research. The differences can be explained by the differences in reading material used for the studies, and by improvements in mobile tech over the past six years."

If the reading experience on mobile-sized screens (on which most library e-books are read) has improved with technology, excellent.  RF would be interested in seeing a study that compared comprehension of fiction and non-fiction e-books typically available from libraries, at different reading levels, in print, monitor, and mobile (e-ink and otherwise), to see if this study's results could be replicated and if the many claims that print comprehension outstrips digital might be tested. Any library researchers out there up for the task?     

E-content at ALA Midwinter: The Place to Be!

Some informative sessions on e-books and e-content in general are happening at ALA Midwinter. If you are going to be there and are interested in digital content, check out the following.  Learn about the latest developments of SimplyE, the "one app to rule them all," and the LEAP partnership that is launching it. The Association of Specialized & Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA) consortial e-books group is a great way to keep up news and to make a difference. ALA Digital Content Working Group is exploring ways ALA can make a difference in digital content for libraries. Listen to Anthony Marx's visionary thoughts on how libraries can help shape the digital future, learn how the Open eBooks app is helping to bridge the digital divide, or join the cause and "Collude! Resist! Collaborate!" on "Ebook Strategies for the Modern Revolutionary." It's wealth of digital information brought to you in real-time non-virtual reality.  Be there!     

      Friday, January 20

Meeting: SimplyE for Consortia Advisory Group

Time: 9:00am - 10:30am

Location: Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) Room B216

Meeting: Open content discussion (OPEN)

Time: 10:30-12:00

Location: Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) Room B216

Description: Unstructured discussion for people working on open access collections

Meeting: ASCLA Consortial Interest Ebook Group

Time: 2:30pm-4:00pm

Location: Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) Room B216

Saturday, January 21

Meeting: LEAP Partners

Time: 10:00am - 1:00pm

Location: Atlanta-Fulton Central Library

Proposed Agenda

Meeting: ALA Digital Content Working Group

Time:  4:40 – 6:30 PM

Location: Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) Room A303


Sunday, January 22

Presentation: Charting Libraries’ Digital Futures: A Conversation with New York Public Library’s Anthony W. Marx

Participants: Anthony Marx, NYPL

Time: 10:00am - 11:00am

Location: Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) Room A411/A412b

Presentation: "Bridging the Digital Divide with Open eBooks"

Participants: Michelle Bickert, DPLA; James English, NYPL; Baker & Taylor; Clever

Time: 10:30am - 11:30am

Location: TBD

Panel: Collude! Resist! Collaborate! Ebook Strategies for the Modern Revolutionary

Participants: Veronda Pitchford, RAILS; Paula MacKinnon, Califa; Steve Spohn, MLS

Time: 1:30pm - 2:30pm

Location: TBD