April 15, 2014

Douglas County Libraries Strikes New Deals With Publishers to Own Ebooks

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The Douglas County Libraries in Highlands Ranch, CO, has struck two new agreements with publishers that will allow the library to purchase outright and manage the digital rights for ebooks, furthering the library’s effort to replicate the traditional print purchasing model for electronic content.

The agreements are with Michigan-based Gale, which is a part of Cengage Learning, and Minnesota-based Lerner Digital. The Gale agreement includes numerous business titles, the DK Eyewitness and Rough Guides travel series, and children’s nonfiction. The Lerner deal is for the publisher’s interactive children’s ebooks.

“We’re one of the first public libraries in the country to manage its own econtent,” said Jamie LaRue, the library’s director said in a statement released by the library. “Working directly with publishers, we’re leading both publishing and libraries into a sustainable business model for the future.”

The new deals follow a similar partnership that was struck between the library and the Colorado Independent Publishers Association in March. All the deals are part of the strategy being pursued by LaRue to demonstrate that the library remains in the digital age a trustworthy steward and owner of intellectual content, and that the library can reliably guard against capricious copying.

“Gale did not require us to sign a long contract,” LaRue told LJ. “They sold it to us and they understand that only people who have our library card can gain access to the material.”

“It’s important to note that this enables us to offer not just children’s books in a new format, but a new kind of children’s book altogether, featuring interactive content,” LaRue said.

The library has its own server (Adobe Content Server) on which it hosts the files and manages the digital rights. The content is also integrated with the library’s catalog, which again replicates the print check-out model.

Patrons can read the ebooks through a browser on a private, library-hosted cloud, or through any device that can read DRM-protected files.

“I’m very excited that the children’s publishers are leading the pack,” said Jordana Vincent, the collection development librarian at Douglas County. “They have the vision and foresight to realize that working with libraries is the future of publishing, and they are getting in on the ground floor,” she said.

The library has committed to buying one additional copy for every four holds, but it also provides links for a patron to make a purchase from the publisher.

“At Gale, we are always eager to work with libraries to help solve their unique challenges in providing patrons access to ebooks and econtent,” said Nader Qaimari, senior vice president of marketing for Cengage Learning. “Our ebook platform supports library ownership of content, and we feel that is what’s best for our customers.”

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Michael Kelley About Michael Kelley

Michael Kelley is the former Editor-in-Chief, Library Journal.

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  1. [...] Shouldn't we be doing this as an industry? The Douglas County Libraries in Highlands Ranch, CO, has struck two new agreements with publishers that will allow the library to purchase outright and manage the digital rights for ebooks, furthering the library’s effort to replicate the… Source: http://www.thedigitalshift.com [...]

  2. [...] Digital book ownership is a looming legal issue but Douglas County Libraries have attempted to avoid the hazards of parsing out whether a purchase is a lease or a sale by striking deals directly with publishers. [...]

  3. [...] Last week Library Journal’s The Digital Shift featured the DCL and their recent achievements in a feature article. [...]

  4. [...] Douglas County Libraries Strikes New Deals With Publishers to Own Ebooks — The Digital Shift [...]

  5. [...] there weren’t, we wouldn’t see people like Gluejar, Library Renewal, and the folks at Douglas County Library System attempting to create a new niche. We’re starting to gather data that can help us move in the [...]

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