Here’s a preview of Francine Filakoff’s Editorial in the August 15th issue of Library Journal
While the American Library Association (ALA) appoints task forces on ebooks that get mired in bureaucracy, the real worlds of book publishing and libraries move ahead rapidly, both struggling with budgets, changing mission, even survival. The demise of Borders, signaling the end of an era, and the explosion of ebook reading and devices, marking the onset of another, have huge implications for publishers and for libraries. Many publishers already facing declining print sales now will be taking multi-million-dollar hits as Borders fails to pay arrears.
Why should librarians care at all about Borders or about publishers’ woes? It’s not about the superstore per se, or about publishers’ losses. It’s about the diminution of the book world, of outlets that trumpet literacy and reading. Those are things that librarians value. Libraries may be trying to dissociate themselves from the book brand, but for much of the public there is still that visceral connection between books and libraries, whether those books are print or ebooks.
Publishers and librarians need to listen to each other, hear each other, to understand better the concerns on both sides, to the benefit of both—and, ultimately, to the benefit of readers.