Friday, March 16, 2012

PLA 2012: Getting eContent to Your Customers

What a great conference this was! Rather than publish all of my insane notes on every program I attended, I'll hit the highlights of the best sessions. First up: e-content.

Getting eContent to Your Customers: Challenges, Best Practices, Solutions

The gist of this program was that there is a change underway in libraries: a shift in control. In the past, libraries were built on collections, access, archiving/preservation, and privacy. In order to get e-content to our patrons, we are having to re-think how these things are managed and who has control. Collaboration has become an essential skill. If libraries are to keep up and continue to build collections, create access, archive and preserve information, and protect our patrons' privacy, we have to collaborate, but still keep control of our core values and missions.

One panelist said, "Goodbye Big 6, Hello big 3 (maybe 4): Amazon, Apple, B&N, Google Books." This points out that it isn't only libraries that are changing, but publishing too. The big 6 publishers (Harper Collins, Random House, Penguin, Hachette, Macmillan, and Simon & Schuster) also have to give up some control and re-think their core values so that they can continue to get their books into readers' hands in a variety of formats, efficiently.

Consumers who buy e-content are frustrated with roadblocks like DRM, multiple formats for various devices, and the sudden lack of ability to get books from libraries to try out new authors. They want to own the e-content they purchase, not just have access to it. They want to know that they chose the "right" device for e-reading.

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