ALA releases e-book license scorecard

For Immediate Release
Fri, 01/25/2013

Contact:

Jazzy Wright
Press Officer
Washington Office (WASH)
800-545-2433 ext. 8208
jwright@alawash.org

Washington, DC – As the e-book environment continues to evolve and libraries are presented with a wide range of licensing conditions by publishers and vendors, it can be challenging for libraries to determine which ebook business models offer the best terms.

To help libraries identify essential ebook licensing terms, the American Library Association (ALA) released today “The E-Book Business Model Scorecard (PDF),” a report that examines specific variables often seen in library ebook license contracts. The report, which was created by the ALA Digital Content & Libraries Working Group (DCWG), can be used by librarians to weigh ebook contract variables most important to their library.

“We developed the ‘Scorecard’ to ensure that librarians have the information they need to better negotiate ebook licensing agreements with publishers,” said Erika Linke, co-chair of the DCWG’s business models subgroup. “While no single business model will offer the best terms for all libraries, this report details lending terms that libraries can use to craft model contracts that work for their library systems.”

The report assesses 15 ebook contract variables of importance to libraries, ranging from ebook title inclusion, to ebook pricing, to immediate patron access. These variables include important ebook lending characteristics, such as ebook revenue streams for publishers and ebook accessibility for people with disabilities.

The report is a follow up to the 2012 ALA report “Ebook Business Models for Public Libraries,” a report that describes general features and attributes of the current ebook environment and outlines constraints and restrictions of current business models.

The DCWG has developed a number of other resources about ebooks, such as its first “Tip Sheet,” which is on digital rights management, the ALA Ebook Media Toolkit  and an E-Content Supplement to American Libraries magazine. Check the American Libraries E-Content blog for new developments from the DCWG.

View the full report