Over the course of the last year Dawson Books embarked on a quest to understand the core ebook issues of our customer base and bridge the gap between publishers and librarians. Through a series of informal sessions with small groups in York, Cambridge, Harrogate and London we discussed issues such as DRM, Authentication and ebook purchase/licensing models, and we were surprised to find some fundamental misconceptions and misunderstandings.
And, our roundtables have been so useful we’re continuing with them. The next one is scheduled for the 30th November in Birmingham.
Check out our post ‘Announcing the next Dawson roundtable session’ for more information.
WHAT WE’VE FOUND FROM OUR ROUNDTABLES SO FAR…
Amongst other things, we found a great deal of confusion with regard to ebook purchase/licensing models, primarily being driven by a lack of consistency or standardisation in naming conventions by publishers and aggregators, creating misunderstanding from the outset. Furthermore, multiple concurrent access models don’t all have fixed criteria associated with them – some are unlimited, some are 350 access credits, some are more or some less. So unless you are comparing the exact same model – it’s difficult to work out which is the best value for the library!
DRM was a hot topic for debate and uncovered more misunderstandings. It became clear that some librarians who were complaining about DRM were actually referring to restrictive purchase/licence models, and not DRM in the traditional sense of protecting content from piracy.
A question many of us wanted answering was: Why are books DRM free when sold directly through the publisher to the library, but not when sold through an aggregator?
Answer: It’s just historical.
Dawson Books Head of Digital and Marketing, Helen Stratford adds… “Once purchased, the ebook is in the library domain – students and lecturers are going to use a publisher direct ebook in the same way as they are an ebook supplied by an aggregator. DRM ultimately helps to preserve copying and illegal sharing – which is important to authors and publishers. However, it’s the same students and staff using the books who all sign up to use content responsibly in the library.”
So why is it different? Because it just is…? And what happens if publishers start to impose DRM through their own platforms? Where do we go then? These issues and questions raised are just the tip of the iceberg.
If these themes struck a chord with you or you’re interested in taking part in future sessions , please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Or if you disagree and have a different view point, we’d love to hear it – we want to get this right!