From Michael Kelley at Library Journal:
The largest library network in California is going to adopt the pioneering ebook business model of Colorado’s Douglas County Libraries, which allows libraries to truly own, not rent, their ebooks.
The San Mateo-based Califa Group, which brokers services and products for 220 multi-type library systems (1000 buildings), has seeded the project with about $30,000 and will purchase ebook files directly from publishers as well as an Adobe Content Server to manage the digital files.
Numerous other libraries and organizations have inquired about the model, including Lyrasis, the North Carolina State Library, the South Carolina State Library, the Queens Public Library, the Tampa Bay Library Consortium, and others.
Read the Complete Article
See Also: CIPA Library e-Book Pilot Project with Douglas County Libraries
and CIPA Signs eBook Pilot Project Agreement with Douglas County Libraries
I agree that “renting” from Overdrive isn’t that good an idea. Single sourcing rarely is. But libraries can’t afford to own that many ebooks, paying full retail for an ebook that may be checked out only once in years.
Much better than owning and loaning is a pure rent to patron model, where libraries own few or no ebooks and pay a much more modest rental fee and that only when an ebook is checked out. That way, each library’s collection is enormous, but it only has to pay for what its patrons check out.
Sadly, like publishing, the very unfixed nature of the current marketplace has all the major players trying to warp the system to their advantage. Overdrive wants a model that earns them large membership/rental fees. Amazon and Apple want proprietary ebook formats to lock in customers. Every major player wants to a clumsy, inefficient distribution system to maximize their ability to place themselves in a position to collect tolls.
And worst of all, a clueless DOJ has jumped into this fray with a anti-trust lawsuit that’ll only make this mess worse. They should be going after the lack of standard formats, the muddled distribution system, and the ambiguity as to whether the ebooks we buy are really ours or just rented for whatever time the provider sees fit to offer us the proper reading tools.