A movement to improve e-book access and services for public library users
Libraries have a responsibility to fight for the public and ensure that users have the same open, easy and free access to e-books that they have come to rely on with physical books. They face two major challenges. The first is that, unlike print books, publishers are not required to sell e-books to libraries -- and many do not. This is a complex and evolving issue. The second, addressed here, is that the products currently offered by e-content distributors, the middlemen from whom libraries buy e-books, create a fragmented, disjointed and cumbersome user experience.
To achieve a better user experience for library patrons, e-content providers must be willing partners, and offer products that allow users to:
In order for libraries to continue to function as key providers of information to the public, these basic principles must be followed. The libraries who signed this agreement are committed to holding content providers to this standard, and will prioritize these requirements when acquiring e-books and other e-content.
The ReadersFirst Working Group has put together the first edition of a resource to help librarians in assessing the major library e-book distributors' platforms and to advocate for more open and user friendly e-lending services. These evaluations draw from self-reported surveys completed by distributors' representatives and submitted to ReadersFirst in spring 2013. The evaluative criteria are based on the Content Access Requirements set forth by ReadersFirst in January 2013 and presented to library vendors (e-book distributors, ILS vendors, etc.) at the 2013 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Seattle. You can read the complete ReadersFirst Guide to Library E-Book Vendors or for a high-level sumary, read the report's press release.
We have been working to translate the ReadersFirst Principles into Technical Requirements for e-content distributors. This document will continue to evolve through discussions with the ReadersFirst membership as well as vendors. Read the latest draft of the Content Access Requirements Document.ReadersFirst Content Access Requirements - Draft
On January 28, 2013, representatives from the ReadersFirst Leadership Group sat down with a number of e-content and ILS vendors to discuss this initiative and begin to carve out action steps towards bettering the library patron experience. Read the press release from the meeting here:ReadersFirst Vendor Meeting Press Release