How many books are there in your library? How many books are there in your library that are still ‘in-print’ – that is to say they can still be ordered or acquired online through a bookstore?
Here’s some recent data on available books for e-readers:
“the U.S. Kindle Store now has over 700,000 books. This is up from 670,000 books three weeks ago.”
“It seems like Amazon is adding books to the Kindle store at a steady pace; As of the end of April, the store had 500,000 titles. The U.K. store only has 400,000 titles, as of our last report. Barnes and Noble claims to have 1 million titles for purchase.” (But that incuded public domain titles at B&N and not at Amazon.)
“Amazon sold three times as many Kindle books in the first half of 2010 as it did in the first half of 2009.”
Google Editions is rumoured to be about to launch with more than any of these.
Hmmm. The real issue is what will be the pricepoint for Google Editions and how will this affect traditional (ha!) online bookstores?
And, the key issue for libraries is the if there is a pricing war emerging for books when will the price of e-readers (now hovering in the ($99-129 range) and e-books (now usually less expensive than print copies for major titles) what wil be the impact on libraries?
If popular books fall in price alog the lines of songs (99 cents?) what does that scenario do?
If some books no longer publish in hard copy (like some streaming shows and movies) what will that do? (We can call this one the Blockbuster model.)
If the price of e-books starts to go below the cost of gas, parking or bus tickets to propel your vehicle to the library, what will most users choose?
If everyone has whitespace broadband to download for free, what will happen then?
What is the role of libraries if collections migrate in whole or in part to virtual? Can we position ourselves better in other key parts of out portfolio (training, research, learning, homework support, etc.)? Can we continue to serve the disadvantaged?
I know there are good answers but the speed of change is speeding up yet again as we head of 2011.