Thursday, May 19, 2011

eBooks Are Winning the Race!

Amazon announced today that Kindle book sales have surpassed all combined print book sales.  That's right people!  eBook sales are outpacing print book sales.  Good or bad, ebook are here to stay!  This is in addition to the recent announcement that Kindle has worked a deal with Overdrive to make Kindle books available for libraries to lend to their customers.  Please note that this is not Amazon adapting the Kindles to read the DRM ePub format, but that Overdrive will offer the Kindle format, AZW, in addition to DRM ePub.  The good news is that libraries will not have to purchase additional copies. Overdrive will automatically make the Kindle version available for all previously and future titles purchased by the library. The bad news is that the library users now have one more choice to make when they download a book.  For our tech savvy users this will not mean much except, perhaps, a minor annoyance.  However for our less than tech savvy users this will add to the already confusing process of downloading an ebook ~ one that has to include a computer rather than downloading directly to the device.  How much easier it would be just to buy the book from Amazon and have it downloaded directly to your Kindle and be done with it?

Libraries are not just sitting back and waiting for the dust to settle.  They are taking an active and needed role in designing the landscape. NISO, National Information Standards Organization, is launching an E-Book Special Interest Group.  According to the NISO site, the SIG will address the following issues:

  • How can NISO actively facilitate cross-community dialogue in this area, building bridges between what are now separate, sometimes disparate groups? 

  • How can NISO work collaboratively to provide education and information to assist with this dialogue? 

  • How can NISO actively foster "incubation teams" to identify specific pain points in the e-books realm that could be remedied through formal standards, recommended practices, dissemination of information (e.g., via white papers, educational workshops, professional forums, Thought Leader meetings, etc.) either through NISO or within another agency or in partnership with one or more organizations?

  • In addition to the core SIG, NISO will be implementing a monitoring group to provide feedback.  They are accepting nominations at via email (  It is but one step of many for libraries to learn adapt to the shifting realm of digital reality.

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