If you’ve been keeping up with the news in the publishing world, you may have heard that Penguin Press has just withdrawn support for their e-books from libraries. Now, of the ‘Big Six’ publishers, only Random House still makes e-book content available for libraries to lend.
Does this mean that the library will no longer be able to support e-books? What if e-books end up almost entirely replacing print books? Where will that leave you?
Well, first, the problem – while serious – almost entirely affects popular literature. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Twilight books, James Patterson and John Grisham novels – interesting, current books, but not the kind of books that scholars use. So, while you might be frustrated if you go to the public library hoping to check out a bestseller for your Kindle, you have little to worry about when getting e-books to support you current classes.
Academic publishers – mostly small presses – remain committed to e-books. And our e-book vendors – eBrary, EBSCO E-books, Books 24×7 – are largely unaffected by the announcement. The business model that academic publishers (like, say, Harvard University Press) use is much less dependent on selling many copies of any given book. In part, it’s due to the authors. Academic publishers get the academic writing and the peer review process (for journals) free or virtually free from scholars like your professors. And while academic publishing has its problems, everyone involved wants the products – including e-resources – to be available to scholars like you.
Your Campus Library, while not the place for fad literature, does have books that will expand your mind and improve your class experience, such as Adolescent Health: Understanding and Preventing Risk Behaviors, Business Analysis, Applied Ethics in Nursing, or African American Civil Rights : Early Activism and the Niagara Movement. So check out an e-book, and as always, if you have questions, do ask us!