An E-Book Blast from the Past

You may have noticed that NISO unveiled a new website last week. This has involved a lot of digging in our archive in order to move material to the new site (and it’s not all there yet; please bear with us!). Past issues of our journal Information Standards Quarterly (ISQ) are part of the move. It has been illuminating to review some of the articles we ran in the past, as they often provide a snapshot of concerns we’ve now moved on from and perhaps forgotten were ever a “thing.”

One such article is E-Books and the Public Library, by Marcia Learned Au, CEO/Director of Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library, Indiana, and Mollie Pharo, the library’s Collection Development Manager.

Au and Pharo describe Evansville Vanderburgh’s journey toward readiness for what the authors call the tipping point—the end of 2010 when e-book readers were the ‘de rigueur’ gift for the holidays.” The sometimes-bumpy road started when the library loaded copies of Stephen King’s Riding the Bullet, which was only sold as an e-book, onto library PCs and discovered that patrons didn't want to read that way. Other surprises were that the library’s e-audiobooks were for a time more popular than its e-books, and that Overdrive titles were not owned by the library. The article describes positive developments, too, such as when a local Barnes & Noble hosted library staff at its workshops on how to use Nook e-readers, and bookstore staff then presented at the library about how library books can be read on a Nook.

This article appeared in a themed issue of ISQ that presented an overview of the status of e-books from the perspectives of publishers and other content producers, librarians, and vendors. Please see here for the rest of that issue.