In a case that first originated in the Dutch library system, the Court of Justice of the European Union–the chief judicial authority of the EU–has ruled that lending of e-books and physical books should be treated the same. The action brought concerns about the ‘one copy, one user’ model, which blocks a library from lending out more than one copy of an e-book at a time.
The case hinged on the interpretation of a 10-year-old EU directive covering book lending, which states “that the exclusive right to authorize or prohibit such rentals and loans belongs to the author of the work.
Source: European Publishers ‘Shocked’ at EU E-book Lending Ruling
With the advent of e-products, online retailers, and the explosive growth of Web business, metadata has grown exponentially and has increased both in complexity and importance. A single title that originally carried a single print record suddenly became available in multiple formats, each with its own associated metadata. Typically, there are 30–40 fields of metadata required for every digital product in active distribution. Even for smaller publishes with inventories of fewer than 2,000 titles, the exposure can run to 50,000–100,000 data points.
In addition, online markets began demanding a variety of descriptive and transactional metadata. This is metadata that then controls and enforces the rights, permissions, and distribution rules set by the publisher. Furthermore, with the advent of search engines, metadata became the key to discoverability. Precision in writing descriptive metadata became critical.
Source: Reflections on Metadata
Amazon.com Inc. is in talks with European Union regulators to settle an antitrust probe into how its e-book contracts with publishers may be squeezing out rival distributors, according to people familiar with the case.
Amazon, already the target of an EU investigation into its tax arrangements with Luxembourg, is trying to do a deal with the European Commission that would shut down the year-long e-books probe, said the people, who asked not to be named because the talks are confidential and at an early stage. Any deal would have to be tested with publishers before it became final, they said.
Source: Amazon Said to Weigh EU Settlement in Bid to End E-Books Probe – Bloomberg
Whether or not the public lending of e-books is treated in EU copyright law in the same manner as the public lending of traditional books has been a relatively contentious topic among EU member states.
This is an important question as there are certain rules, benefits and obligations set out in EU copyright law regarding the rental and lending of copyright works, particularly for the authors of those works.
Source: The e-books case pushing lending laws into the digital age
While publishers once fretted that digital book sales were eroding more profitable categories like hardcover, they now are finding that e-books — which cost next to nothing to produce and zero to ship and which can’t be returned as unsold merchandise by retailers — are critical profit engines. But e-book sales have fallen precipitously for months, in part because many publishers have raised their prices after negotiating with Amazon and gaining the ability to set their own prices.
The decline of digital sales and stabilization of print may have also led to higher returns of unsold merchandise from booksellers, reducing revenue. And while some book buyers may have traded e-books for print books, others may be buying cheaper, self-published e-books on Amazon.
Source: Audiobooks Turn More Readers Into Listeners as E-Books Slip – The New York Times
Shelfie (formerly BitLit) is a free mobile application that connects readers to their books. The company is considered among the most doggedly successful of the publishing-sector startups, now partnering with more than 1,200 publishers. Shelfie currently boasts more than 450,000 titles and 24,000 audiobook titles available through the app.
The reason the app is called Shelfie is that it allows readers to digitize their print library by taking a photo of a bookshelf (a “shelfie”) and upload it to the system. Readers then can identify a list of books available free of charge or at a discount, and are able to download an ebook or audiobook simply by snapping a photo of their book’s copyright page marked with a bookplate or their handwritten name.
Source: Canada’s Shelfie Partners with Germany’s De Gruyter in Ebook Bundling
In July, the New York Public Library rolled out its much-anticipated e-book app, SimplyE, which seeks to solve a problem that has plagued library e-book users by reducing the once-cumbersome process of checking out library e-books to three clicks or fewer. Make no mistake, the app represents a major step forward for library e-book lending.
The app comes after years of complaints from library e-book users forced to wrestle with clunky interfaces and processes for e-book lending, all powered by a growing array of vendors. Anyone remember the Tools of Change conference in 2011, when librarian Katie Dunneback famously demonstrated the 21 steps a library patron needed to navigate before being able to access a library e-book? The SimplyE app now puts all of that aside, providing users one simple interface for all ePub-based library e-books, regardless of vendor (such as OverDrive, Bibliotecha, and Baker & Taylor).
Source: A Breakthrough for Library E-Books?