If you follow any ebook, ereader, and/or epublishing news, you know all about the frustratingly slow and downright chilly response of publishers to the whole idea of library ebook lending. Besides the exorbitantly expensive Overdrive, we don’t really have many other options, particularly when it comes to fiction.
A new website is taking an important step and *gasp* trying something new. Here Be Fiction will soon offer both a place to identify quality ebooks and to purchase them with mostly-common-sense terms for libraries.
Update: Here Be Fiction is gone.
Christopher Harris at The Digital Shift blog summarizes how it will work better than I can. After checking out the website and signing up for the list to join when they are ready, I’m cautiously optimistic. I’m annoyed that using a “secured” format (read: proprietary non-transferrable platfrom like Follett Shelf or MackinVIA) is required to enjoy the library-friendly terms, but I supposed I’m expecting too much of publishers to think they might actually look at the data on DRM use and realize they should drop it entirely. Maybe someday….
Still, I’m excited to see what this website means for school librarians who can’t justify ebook investment that depends on an expensive yearly subscription and is frustrating to use for patrons. I’m a big fan of voting with your dollars, personally and professionally, so if Here Be Fiction delivers what it promises, you can be sure that I’ll be voting for them this fall/winter! I wish them luck and sales, and I hope the Big 6 publishers pay attention.