Monday, September 8, 2014

The State of Connecticut

Connecticut is joining the DIY eBook Platform movement in order to ensure better pricing on eBooks.  Back on June 3, Governor Daniel P. Malloy signed into law P.A.14-82, An Act Concerning a State-wide Platform for the Distribution of Electronic Books, which authorizes the State Library to build an eBook platform, with $2.2 million in funding.  The law was in response to a Department of Consumer Protection study to see how libraries could get fairer access to eBooks.

One of the conclusions of the DCP study was:
“The most forward-thinking and sustainable option the legislature could pursue to increase ebook availability at public libraries is to make a significant statewide investment in the creation of an ebook distribution platform that could be shared by libraries in the state.”

I couldn't agree more!

The $2.2 million allocated for the platform is meant to be split up as follows:
$1.1 million for building the platform
$1 million for the initial opening day collection
The library board is expected to absorb annual costs for staff and maintenance, estimated to be $100,000.

I'm trying to find out more about where they are in their process, what plans they have to research and choose the software they'll need, and what their timeline is like.  I'll report back here on them when I can find all of that out, but as the law just went into effect on July 1, I'm sure they aren't ready to make any big announcements yet.  I wish them well as they start to research and study the dizzying amount of information they'll need to absorb before making decisions.   

(Just for fun, I should say, a white paper report on eBooks in libraries from 2012 mentions Douglas County and Califa.)

Back in June when the bill was first signed into law, James LaRue wrote:
"The point is this: There is a trend. State libraries and regional library cooperatives are pooling their technical expertise and resources to directly address public libraries’ e-business problems, which include not only market embargoes and price hikes, but the lack of access to emerging e-content. This should be good news for publishers, too, who will have a new distribution path to give their works the wider exposure that we have repeatedly demonstrated generate sales."

1 comment:

  1. I admire the effort, and this may seem self-serving, but I think it's naive to think you can build something decent for $1.1M, and I'm even more cynical about $100K/year to maintain and enhance the product. The estimates aren't just slightly off, they are off by orders of magnitude, and this will effect the long term impact and sustainability of the project.