I’m Tired of Talking About eBooks
Is this what it felt like to those librarians in the profession when the internet came about? When I started this blog in 2008, I felt like I would never run out of things to write about. This profession is so varied and vast, how could we possibly cover it all? Now, all I read is more and more about eBooks. Certainly, this is something we all need to talk about, because libraries are getting royally screwed, but I also feel like being so singularly focused on one thing that’s not really working out, is talking the wind out of my sails.
Perhaps I’m alone in this, but I don’t think I am.
My state library consortium recently reallocated half of the state database budget to buy eBooks. Now reference librarians are being asked, “what databases do you absolutely need to do your job?” Of course, that’s not a guarantee that we’ll get to keep them, it’s just important to have all the facts before doing the chopping. I realize that the role of the public library is shifting away from reference as we knew it, but do we really want to just become an eBook borrowing website?
The funny thing is, eBooks only make up tiny part of my day-to-day, but I think about them constantly. Lately, I’ve been spending the bulk of my time weeding, shifting and buying physical books. Patrons keep me busy requesting books, locating books and asking for recommendations but only a very small number ask me about downloading.
A recent New York Times article about eBooks included this line, which actually made me laugh out loud, “How about the immensely popular novel “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E. L. James? Thirty-three people were waiting for the e-book on the Seattle Public Library’s site.” In my library system, there are over 500 holds for the physical copy, and less than 100 for the four eBooks.
This blog has been lying fallow for a while, because it seems like as a profession, we are only having one conversation these days, and I’m just as much to blame as everyone else. I’m challenging myself, and you, gentle reader, to bring something else to the table. We can still fret over eBooks, that’s certainly not going away, but lets focus on something else as well–something positive.
Filed under: A Day in the Life, By: The Librarienne, change or die, tools of the trade | 8 Comments
Tags: Amazon, ebooks, Random House