Links to public libraries ebook lending review report and responses

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The independent report of ebook lending in English public libraries has now been published. The link below will take you to the report itself and the government’s response to it.
The key recommendations are:
  • The provisions in the Digital Economy Act 2010 that extend PLR to audio books and loans of on-site e-books should be enacted.
  • Further legislative changes should be made to allow PLR to take account of remote e-loans.
  • The overall PLR pot should be increased to recognise the increase in rights holders.
  • A number of pilots in 2013 using established literary events should be set up to test business models and user behaviours, and provide a transparent evidence base: all major publishers and aggregators should participate in these pilots.
  • Public libraries should offer both on-site and remote E-Lending service to their users, free at point of use.
  • The interests of publishers and booksellers must be protected by building in frictions that set 21st-century versions of the limits to supply which are inherent in the physical loans market (and where possible, opportunities for purchase should be encouraged).  These frictions include the lending of each digital copy to one reader at a time, that digital books could be securely removed after lending and that digital books would deteriorate after a number of loans.  The exact nature of these frictions should evolve over time to accommodate changes in technology and the market.
There have already been a number of responses to it from various individuals and  organisations (below), mostly welcoming the majority of the report’s recommendations.

I’m not going to comment on it here (please take at look at Voices for The Library response), but I did just want to highlight this section on the opportunities that could come from ebook lending:

For libraries, embracing a digital strategy could give them a better way of communication with their members, helping them to bring a larger footfall into their buildings for events and services.  For publishers, digital lending could bring them closer to the book-borrowing and book-buying public.  And for writers, the extension of PLR to the digital and audio world would allow for much more accurate financial recognition for the borrowing of their books.  If a digital sales platform is developed, as part of a library catalogue, through which local booksellers can be promoted, this may support the development and the sustainability of these retail outlets as part of the local high street.

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