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Why You Can’t Find Some Bestselling E-Books @ Public Libraries

The answer to the question of “Why you can’t find some bestselling e-books in public libraries (or via public libraries online digital catalogs) has several aspects to it but three points rise head and shoulders above the rest.

Firstly, some publishers, including Simon & Schuster, simply will not sell e-books to public libraries – period. For example, if you’d like to read the e-book Team of Rivals by Doris Goodwin, which is indeed published by Simon & Schuster, you won’t find it in the STLS Digital Catalog because Simon & Schuster won’t allow us to purchase a copy for the Digital Catalog!*1

Secondly, the prices some publishers charge for the e-books they sell to public libraries are more than triple the list price of the hardcover versions of the same books. For example, the new book My Beloved World by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has a hardcover list price of $27.95 and the e-book version available for consumers currently costs $14.99 via Amazon and $12.99 via Barnes and Noble. And guess how much it costs public libraries to purchase a copy? Does an e-book cost public libraries $12.99 or14.99? No not even close! The publisher Knopf Double (an offshoot of Random House) charges public libraries $83.85 for that same title! So the publishing company wants public libraries to pay $68.86 more than the $14.99 price currently being charged by Amazon for that same e-title. I’m all for companies’ making a profit but $83.85 is a really steep price to charge public libraries for a book that costs consumers, in both e-book and print formats, less than fifteen dollars.

And thirdly, in a word ownership! Or to be more precise the lack of ownership of digital content – most people do not realize that e-books (and e-videos, e-music titles and e-audio books) are being sold in a different way than traditional formatted items. For example, if you buy a print book, DVD, music CD or audio book on CD – you bought and you own it. You can sell that item later, loan it to your sister, your mother or grandfather, keep the book for 50 years and pass it along to your granddaughter as a cherished item and even recycle that bestseller that has been read by so many friends and family members that it is falling apart.

In contrast, the way e-books and other digital content are being sold today…

Well that can be summed up in a word too – “licensed.”

Currently most user end agreements for both e-books purchased by individuals and by libraries state that the purchaser is being granted a license to access the e-book or other digital content. So you can’t lend most e-books or other e-content to your mother, sister or best friend to read, and you can’t re-sell e-books because of course you don’t own them. And theoretically, since you’ve licensed the content the publishing company can revoke that license and you as the licensee probably are not going to be able to transfer the e-books you’ve acquired over a number of years to your granddaughter via your will; because again; you don’t own the e-books.

If you consider those three points you’ll understand why some of the new and popular e-books you’d like to read are not available in our Digital Catalog.

And perhaps needless to say The American Library Association and a number of other organizations*2 that value the traditional First Sale Doctrine that applies to printed books but not currently to e-books and other e-content have started a lobby group titled The Owners’ Right Initiative whose motto regarding digital content is “You bought it. You own it. You have a right to re-sell it!”

And having said all of that here are two links to short FYI type articles on this subject from The Digital Book World site:

Article 1 is titled E-Book Dispatches from 2013 ALA Midwinter Meeting:

And article 2 is titled The Real Cost of Ebooks for Libraries:

And a third and fourth related links to the official definition of what First Sale Doctrine means in the United States courtesy of the U.S. Copyright Office (Code S 109) and a more accessible explanation offered by The Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Here’s the U.S. Copyright Office link to Section 109 of the U.S. Copyright Laws:

And the link to the more accessible explanation of First Sale Doctrine offered by the EFF:

Have a great day!

Linda R.


Digital Book Wire. (2013, February 5). The Real Cost of Ebooks for Libraries. DBW. Online.

Inouye, Alan. (2013, February 6.) E-book Dispatches from 2013 ALA Midwinter Meeting. DBW. Online.

Mcksherry, Corynne. (2012, December 23). 2012 in Review: First Sale Under Siege — If You Bought It, You Should Own It. Electronic Frontier Foundation: Defending Your Rights in the Digital World. Online.

Limitations on exclusive rights: Effect of transfer of particular copy or phonorecord.  United States Copyright Office. (Accessed 2013, February 6). Copyright Law of the United States of America and Related Laws Contained in Title 17 of the United States Code: Section 109. U.S. Copyright Office. Online.

*1. Public libraries have found a loop hole in this procedure– while we can’t purchaseSimon & Schuster e-books for patrons to download to their Kindles, Nooks, iPads etc. We can purchase them through Barnes & Noble for our circulating Nooks. So if you don’t see a bestselling book in the STLS Digital Catalog that is published by Simon & Schuster – like Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin (the book is the basis for the movie Lincoln) – ask the staff – you can make a request and we can purchase a copy of the e-book title at the e-book price listed on the Barnes & Noble website and you’ll be able to read it on one of our circulating e-reader – not your e-reader unfortunately; but you will have access to the title as an e-book.

*2. Here’s a list of all the groups that belong to the Owners’ Rights Initiative as taken from their website. The link to the website follows the list.

ORI Members:

American Free Trade Association

American Association of Law Libraries

American Library Association

Association of Service and Computer Dealers International and the North American Association of Telecommunications Dealers (AscdiNatd)

Association of Research Libraries

Computer and Communications Industry Association





Goodwill Industries

Home School Legal Defense Fund (HSLDA)

Impulse Technology

International Imaging Technology Counsel (ITC)

Internet Commerce Coalition

Network Hardware Resale


Powell’s Books

Quality King Distributors


United Network Equipment Dealers Association (UNEDA)

XS International


Why You Should Consider Office 365 Instead Of Office 2013 & New Dyson Wash & Dry Faucets

Why You Should Consider Office 365 Instead Of Office 2013: Microsoft launched its new Office Suite last week. And as I mentioned last week there are two versions: a traditional desktop version you can install on PCs via disc or download and a new web based version that resides in the cloud. And to translate that computerese what that fancy terminology means is that there is one version of Microsoft Office, called Microsoft Office 2013, which is the traditional style software that is paid for via a one time only payment and then is downloaded to a PC either via a installation disc or a download from an online vendor like Amazon. You can then use that traditional version of Microsoft Office only on one computer and you don’t get new software features until you upgrade to the next version of Office.  The Office 2013 Home & Student edition retails for $140 and includes the following software: Word, Excel, PowerPoint & OneNote.

In contrast, the second version of the new Microsoft Office Suite for the home, called Office 365 Home Premium, is a web (cloud) based version which is a subscription service. You pay a yearly subscription fee and you can access this cloud version of Office on up to 5 PCs.  The Office 365 Home Premium edition costs $99 per year (or $9.99 per month) and includes the following software: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Access & Publisher. In addition, if you subscribe to Office 365 (The Home Premium edition) your software will be updated with any new bells or whistles (AKA software features) Microsoft implements during the year to make the software work better and/or to offer you more options as to what you can do with the software. So if you choose the subscription version of Office you get more software which actually costs less than the traditional version, continual updates so your software is never out-of-date and always has all the latest features and you can put the software on five computers instead of just one.

Also of note is that the Office 365 Home Premium software is comparable to the more expensive traditional disc or download version of Office called Microsoft Office Professional which also has all the software included with Office 365 – but at a much higher price – it costs $399 for the Professional version of Office that you can pick up at Staples or Best Buy. And for $399 you could pay for a 4 year cloud subscription to Office 365 Home Premium and have that software on all the computers you own* and always have the latest version of the Microsoft Office Suite at your finger tips. So if you’re thinking of upgrading your version of Office you might want to consider the new cloud version called Office 365!

Here’s a link to a PC World article on the subject titled Why Office 365 is a Better Deal Than Office 2013:

New Dyson Wash & Dry Faucets: I came across a cool article today on the tech section of the BBC website. The article discuses how the British Dyson company has just come out with a new faucet called the Air Blade Tap that will allow you to run hot and cold water and to access a built in dryer built right into the tap. So you’ll be able to wash and dry your hands via these new Air Blade Taps which are currently being sold in the U.K. for the rather steep price of 1,000 British pounds which works out to about $1, 566 American Dollars. The Taps will go on sale in the United States sometime later this year. And although the price has to come down quite a bit before I’ll be installing one of these units in my house – I love the idea of it! Imagine never having to use hand towels again – just being able to wash your hands and blow them dry with cool air by standing in front of your sink!

Here’s the link to the BBC article on those cool new Taps otherwise known as faucets:

Have a great day!

Linda R.

*Assuming you own 5 computers or less …


Bradley, Tony. (2013, January 31). Why Office 365 is a better deal than Office 2013. PC World. Online.

(2013, February 4) Dyson launches all-in-one hand-drying Airblade water tap. BBC News: Technology: Online. 

Tablets Selling Furiously & Why This Is A Very Exciting Thing!

Tablet shipments rose 75% in the last quarter of 2012 to 52.5 from 29.9 million in 2011. Tablets are now selling at half the rate of PCS. And tablet sales are expected to further soar in the next three years and actually overtake PC sales. And those stats shows that tablets and Smartphones are well on their way to replacing desktops and laptops as the primary way people connect to the Internet. And I find the fact that tablets are selling so furiously while PC sales are crawling along a very interesting one; because it shows a fundamental shift in the way people consume information and media and communicate with each other. For just as the rapid adoption of Smartphones that has occurred in last five and half years (since the iPhone first went on sale in 2007) illustrates a major shift in how people connect to the Internet so too the quickening rate of tablet adoption by consumers is creating a second and larger wave of what we might call the evolution of global 24/7/365 connectivity; that is the ability of people from all walks of life and from all parts of the globe to access the Internet and communicate with others from just about anywhere they are in the world at any time of the day or night.

And the idea that anyone from anywhere in the world will be able to easily access the global information and communications network of the Internet in the near future is a revolutionary idea and a very exciting one! The increasing global connectivity network of the Internet means that more people than ever before will have the opportunity to gain knowledge and learn and communicate with others – even those people that live in isolated regions. And taking that last idea further, the fact that more people than ever before can obtain knowledge and communicate with others via the Internet translates into the fact that more people than ever before can be creative and have more of an opportunity than ever before to fully realize their personal potential. Thus we might wind up with the greatest novelist of the 21st century being a person who grew up poverty in a village in the northwest corner of India and who managed to get her early writings noticed by people and publishers by posting them online. We might find that a phenomenal educator who will transform the American educational system is the daughter of migrant workers and got started on her education by accessing the Internet at public libraries throughout the south western United States. We might see the greatest chef of the 21st century coming from Nigeria and offering his popular cooking show only over the Internet* to those of us who like to cook (and adding some literal new spices to our lives in the process) and we might find that one of the greatest composers of this century is the son of a  widowed hotel cook who comes from a small town in Peru and yet was able to hear the works of Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and other great classical composers by listening to the London based radio station Classic FM via the TuneIn Radio app on his iPad; and then subsequently composing and recording works on his iPad and getting those early compositions on the Internet for people, including record company executives, to hear.

And I could go on and on but I’ll get off my soap box now! I think I made my point as to why I find the combo of the Internet and mobile technology so exciting – it isn’t just the technology itself that is cool it is what we can do with it via access to the Internet. And how the tool of the Internet will continue to have an even more democratizing impact on people across the globe as time marches on and more and more people have the opportunity to, as the old army slogan, goes be all they can be because they can gain knowledge and communicate with others via Internet access offered on mobile devices. Now that is exciting!

And here are links to two of the many news stories I read online last week regarding the increasing ferocity of tablet sales:

The first article is from the Gigaom site and is colorfully titled Who Tablet Shipments Now More than Half That of the PC – here’s the link:

And the second article is from the Wall Street Journal Digits blog and is titled Amid PC Woes Tablet Shipments Jump 75% – here’s the link:

And having waxed on about the benefits of Internet access from the top of my soap box I’ll get off it now and wish everyone a good Sunday afternoon!

Linda R.

*I believe the streaming of video content from the Internet to portable devices and televisions will eventually become the norm and replace the current media business model of cable companies offering bundled content to consumers at high prices – but then that is the subject of a blog posting all by itself!


Cai, Debbie. Amid PC Woes, Tablet Shipments Jump 75%. Wall Street Journal: Digits blog. Online.

Tofel, Kevin. (2013, January 31). Whoa: Tablet shipments now more than half that of the PC. Gigaom. Online.

Staying Safe While Online

Librarian and blogger David Lee King had his e-identity hacked into over the weekend. It seems he received a strange text message that included a link and while operating on cruise control he clicked the link without really thinking about it. And in short order the hacker who hacked into his account was posting on Twitter via King’s Twitter account. Fortunately, since King was online as this series of events was unfolding he was quickly contacted by friends and associates who saw the out of character Twitter postings from Lee’s account and figured quite correctly that his account had been hacked. King was able to log into his account and change his password which seemed to stop the hacker in his tracks. However King’s experience illustrates several key points regarding online safety namely don’t open any message that is from someone you don’t know and don’t click on any weird links!

King relays his experience in his most recent blog post titled simply I Was Hacked!

Here’s the link:

And while we’re on the subject of online safety I did some research and came across a great section on the WashingtonState site that offers helpful tips for staying safe online.

There are even online safety categories which include:

Communicating Online

Socializing Online

Sharing Images Online

Gaming Online

Spending & Saving Online

Identity Theft

Computing on the Go

Bullying Online


Defensive Computing

Defending Your Computer

Here’s the link to the category page on the WS website:

And if you only have time to read one of the online safety sections I’d recommend browsing through the Communicating Online section which discusses the benefits and possible pitfalls of sharing personal information (i.e. name, address, phone number, resume etc.) online.

Here’s the link:

Have a great day!

Linda R.


King, David Lee. (2013, January 29). I Was Hacked! Online.

WashingtonState Office of the Attorney General. Web Wise Washington: Internet Safety: Adults. Online. January 30, 2013. 

New E-Books, Audio Books, Music & Videos Available In The STLS Digital Catalog Later Today

Hi everyone, just as an FYI for all the consumers of digital content out there! There will be a multitude of new items appearing in the STLS Digital Catalog this evening. The new items include audio books in the swashbuckling Horatio Hornblower series, albums by Pink Floyd and videos on a variety of subjects including non-fiction titles on genealogy and gardening, children’s videos including Thomas The Tank Engine, All About Cowboys, All About Dinosaurs & Mr. Sherman & Peabody, Season 1. Other new video titles include: Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead, Budokon For Beginners, Night Train – Pociag, 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days, Derailed and American in World War II.

You can access the entire Digital Catalog by going to the library’s home page (SSCLIBRARY.ORG) or clicking on the following link:

And if you’d rather check out e-books, music, videos or audio books categories directly please click on anyone of the following links:

All E-Books:

All Music:

All Videos:

New Audio Book Editions:

Note: To check on format compatibility with your device click on the following link which will take you to the OverDriveDeviceResourceCenter page:

Also of note, as of January 2013 you can download all OverDrive Content to a PC and OverDrive E-Books to most e-readers and tablets. A/V materials can be downloaded to PCs and a handful of portable devices from Creative Zen and Colby. Reportedly OverDrive (that is the name of the STLS Digital Catalog platform vendor) will be ushering a new streaming system for all e-books, audio books, music and videos in the catalog which will mean that you’ll be able to stream content to most smart phones, tablets and PCs in the near future. We’ll update our website, Facebook page and the SSCL Tech Talk blog site with that information as soon as that update occurs.

And if you have any questions about the items in the Digital Catalog and how you can access them please ask the staff; we are here to help!

Have a great afternoon!

Linda R.

Apple 4th Generation iPad with 128 Gigabyte Storage To Debut February 5th & Microsoft Office 2013

Apple 4th Generation iPad with 128 Gigabytes Storage To Debut February 5th:  Earlier today Apple announced it will begin selling at 4th Generation iPad (that is the current edition) that offers double the maximum amount of storage space available on the highest end iPad right now. The new model will offer 128 gigabytes of storage and will make its sales debut on February 5. The Wi-Fi only version will cost $799 and the Wi-Fi and cellular version will sell for $929.

Currently Apple sells the iPad (that is the larger iPad and not the iPad Mini) with three storage options:

16 GB versions cost $499 for the Wi-Fi only model and $629 for the Wi-Fi and cellular version

32 GB versions cost $599 for Wi-Fi only model and $729 for the Wi-Fi and cellular version

And the current highest storage capacity model (until next week!) is the 64 GB model which also comes in a Wi-Fi only version for $699 and a Wi-Fi and cellular version for $829.

On a related note it is also widely expected that Apple will introduce a new 5th Generation iPad sometime this year.

Here’s a link to a CNET article which offers a bit more info on the new larger capacity iPad that is due next week – the article is titled Apple iPad Jumps to 128GB Starting At $799:$799/

Microsoft Office 2013 (AKA Office 365): Microsoft’s Office 2013 suite goes on sale today. And the suite is known both as “Office 2013” (the stand alone version) and as “Office 365” (the subscription version). The reviews I’ve read of the new suite so far have been positive and the CNET reviewer really likes the functionality of the new suite. It is notable that the biggest change to Office is that there are now two versions one that you can purchase as a standalone version or a subscription version (which I found it in the Amazon Software Download Store titled “Office 365”). The benefit of the latter is that you’ll get continuous updates to software contained in the suite and you should be able to access the software from any computer with an Internet connection since the online suite is stored in the cloud – so you should be able to access your documents from any device that has an Internet connection.

And here’s a link an in-depth CNET review of the new software suite:

Have a great day!

Linda R.


Cheng, Roger. (2013, January 29). Apple iPad jumps to 128GB, starting at $799: It’s still the fourth-generation device, but beefier. A cellular-enabled version of the higher-capacity iPad costs $929. CNET. Online.

CNET Editors. (2013, January 29.) Microsoft Office 2013 review: Designed for tablets, but great for everyone. CNET. Online.


The High Cost of E-Books, iOS 6.1 Release & Tech Programs @ The Library This Week

The High Cost of E-Books: I came across a fun article (with a long title) in the online edition of the Christian Science Monitor. The article is titled Why do e-books cost so much? E-books don’t involve costs like paper, labor, and shipping, so why do they often cost more than their paperback counterparts? Here’s the answer, and why e-book prices may be falling in the future.

And wow what a long title! The article discusses the reasons why e-books often more expensive than their paperback counterparts. And in a nutshell what is going is that our quickly advancing technology is transforming the world of publishing and books and in an era when self published authors can keep 70% of the gross profits of their works most publishers are operating on an outdated business model. And that outdated model has them keeping 60-70% of the money coming in from each e-book sold just as they would with a printed book. The publishers expect to receive that amount of money from each e-book sale because in the print book business, traditionally publishing companies have been responsible for having books printed, stored and sold.

Additionally, in the past publishers were used to keeping control of the books they published and promoting them through established distribution channels and they could pretty much dictation to authors what they could publish and how much they could receive for the books they publish via those big publishers. And today we’re at the dawn of the e-book era and all that is changing. If you’re an author you can self publisher your works through online book vendors like Amazon, price your new e-book at $2.99 per e-book and keep 70% of the proceeds of each sale. Now $2.99 may not sound like a lot of money; however, consider the fact that 70% of $2.99 is $2.09 and if you multiply that by 50,000 e-book sales you get $104, 500 dollars! And with that in mind you can see why self published authors like Amanda Hocking and John Locke (both of whom have sold more than 1 million books via Amazon’s Kindle Store) can indeed make money without going through print publishers and why, inevitably, those same publishers must change they way the do business and the amount they charge for e-books if they want to stay in the e-book selling game for the long haul.

The author Stacy Johnson’s response to publishers saying they need to keep 60-70% of the profits of e-book sales because e-books cost them as much to produce as hardcover books is summed up in one colorful word and fun word: “Hogwash.” And I don’t think I can improve upon that statement! (Although I could get up on my soap box and talk all day about the lack of ownership of digital content issue but I’ll spare everyone today and refrain!)

Johnson also notes of the tremendous changes going on in the book and publishing industry – how fast the new e-book world has emerged by noting that three years ago the old publishing industry business model was the norm and if you wanted to get a book published you really had to work with publishers via the previously mentioned traditional business model used for selling print books – and today all that is changing. She specifically says:  “A short three years later, however, the landscape has changed. The publishing industry – the gatekeeper between writers and readers – is collapsing under its own weight. I no longer need to surrender up to 90 percent of the price of a book to the publisher. Today I can self-publish an e-book, put it on Amazon, spread the word on the Web, and price it however I like.”

You can read the full article by clicking on the following link:

iOS 6.1 Released: Today Apple has released iOS 6.1 the latest software upgrade for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. The upgrade features a few new bells and whistles including the ability to use Siri to buy movie tickets, the ability of Match subscribers to download single songs from the cloud and greater LTE coverage for those with 4 G devices.

Here’s a link to a Gigaom article on the subject aptly titled Apple Updates iOS 6 With New Siri, iTunes Match and LTE Coverage

Tech Programs @ The Library This Week: This week we are offering a “Photos & Computers” program on Wednesday. This program is part of our weekly Wednesday One Hour Tech series and offers a basic introduction to getting photos from your digital camera to your computer, modifying those photos and saving them.

Photos & Computers is being held Wednesday from 2 – 3 PM. Registration is required. To register please call us at: 607-936-3713 ext. 502.

And of course this week as always – we offer free one-on-one tech assistance sessions by appointment. So if you just purchased a new PC, Mac, iPad, Kindle Fire or e-reader and have questions about how to use it – please feel free to call us and make an appointment for a one-on-one session! Just call the Reference Desk at 936-3713 ext. 502.

Have a great day!

Linda R.          



Johnson, Stacy. (2013, January 12). Why do e-books cost so much? E-books don’t involve costs like paper, labor, and shipping, so why do they often cost more than their paperback counterparts? Here’s the answer, and why e-book prices may be falling in the future. Christian Science Monitor. Online.

Ong, Erica. (2013, January 28). Apple updates iOS 6 with new Siri, iTunes Match features and more LTE coverage. Gigaom. Online.