Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Madame S’s Observations on e-Books and Libraries...

and Why It’s a Mess Right Now.



I’ve written and re-written this blog several times in trying to convey the state of libraries, publishers and e-books in the United States.  Often my goal in writing has been to avoid using the word butthead.  Other times it has drifted into rant wondering how publishers can be so confused about the technology that is actually involved instead of the imaginary one that keeps being referenced.  Other times it has focused on the issues of non-ownership and that you’re buying licensing as opposed to ownership.  Other versions focused on the difference between techies and readers and how the shift from the techies to mainstream readers changed the situation.

Let’s just agree that the state of e-books is complex and changing quickly.  When you add libraries to the mix, the issue becomes more complex.

Now, I know you’re thinking, “Why should libraries complicate this?  Libraries buy and lend physical books.  Public libraries in the U.S. have been doing this for over 100 years.  Plus, they buy specific formats of things, like compact discs, dvds, and they’ve been providing access to databases since the ‘90s.  They have digital subscriptions to serials in addition to databases.  This should be right up their alley.”  Let me give you a tip:  Stop thinking when it comes to this issue.  Thinking will just make your head hurt and frustrate you.  (I don’t think that’s just me projecting but Tina, as always, will let me know if I am wrong.)

I’m going to hit a few of the current issues that public libraries have to consider to be able to provide e-books for the public.

1.     Libraries need a way to track checkouts for e-books, a way to track how many “copies” of a title are checked out, and how to “return” a digital book.  It is not the library’s intent to allow patrons to keep digital books or cheat authors or publishers.  There are companies that provide this service for a fee.  One of the best known services is offered by a company called Overdrive.  It lines up titles from publishers, has a system to add onto the library’s existing integrated library system, a way to allow patron holds, a way to track simultaneous usages/checkouts of digital copies related to the title, and a way to track the digital returns to allow the digital copy to circulate again.  (With digital copies, libraries still have to decide how many “copies” it wants for its system.  So maybe it gets 10 digital copies for the newest , hot title.  This means 10 people can checkout the digital title at one time. )

But this isn’t as simple as it sounds.  One of the hot topics in the public library community and among public library users in the state of Kansas is that Overdrive isn’t an option for most.  (Kansas has a very strong state library.  Most public libraries in Kansas depend on the state library to negotiate rates and contracts for all public libraries in Kansas to use.  That makes sense for a lot of reasons.  The State Librarian of Kansas looked at the new Overdrive contract, noticed that the fees were increasing by 700% from 2012 through 2014 and said, “I don’t think so.”    The state consortium pulled out of using Overdrive.  (Some public libraries in Kansas opted to sign individual contracts with the company.)

2.     Different formats for digital books.
Until late 2011, you could not checkout a digital book from a library on a Kindle.  This was because Amazon saw itself in the book selling business and not the book lending business but when it got consistent feedback that some new, potential users were going with the Nook because you could use the Nook to checkout library books, it figured it needed to expand into libraries and solidify its digital format for the long term.

Not all digital books are available in Kindle format.  So when one is looking at a public library and which digital books are available, you have to see which formats are available and how it works with your device.

Just because a title is listed as being an e-book in your library does not mean that your device can read it.

If this were 1983, it would be as if public libraries were buying copies of movies in Beta and VHS and waiting to see which one would win.  Very few libraries were buying Beta and VHS.  They waited to see which would “win.”  Right now, nothing is winning.  On the other hand, libraries didn’t have to think about VHS and Beta producers coming to the library and taking the tapes after x number of checkouts but that’s also an issue when libraries are licensing certain titles.  These titles can only circulate x number of times and then must be repurchased.  I’ll be dropping this topic now because the facial tick has returned and that’s always a sign I’m getting too worked up.

3.    Creating a system to meet library needs in house.
Sigh.  This is an issue.  Douglas County Public Library in Colorado is creating its own in house system that will allow it to purchase titles, store them, and allow for checkouts/holds/returns.  In addition, it also has access to different digital systems, including Overdrive.  And you might be thinking, “Why aren’t more libraries doing this?”  Part is money and part is commitment.  The library has to have enough money to hire people to create this system, work out the kinks (because all new technology is going to have kinks) and be committed to providing this type of in-house service.   When a library district makes this type of commitment, it’s not just to the equipment or the salaries, it’s also committing to keeping current with all issues involving e-books and formats and purchasing and licensing.   Remember all my words concerning tight library budgets?  When a library makes this type of commitment, it’s majored main chunk of change.  The community has to be behind what the library is doing and the library has to be thinking long term.     

A lot of libraries are looking at what Douglas County is doing and learning so they can decide if they want to try to follow in Douglas County’s footsteps or if it’s cheaper to pay an outside company, like Overdrive, to stay on top of things.

4.     Major publishers.
Honestly, Darlings, I wish someone in each publishing house in New York would go down to the street, wait for the first 25 year old talking on a smartphone to walk past, grab that person, pull the individual into the publishing house and get the smartphone user to explain how e-books do and do not work.    Once the publishers grasp that concept, they need to repeat the process of grabbing a smartphone user off the street so this person can explain why e-books are not like digital music in 1999 and that Napster no longer exists and there was never an e-book equivalent of Napster.

I’m attaching a blog tracing the history of how major US publishers thought paperback books were going to be the end of publishing.  (So I suppose US publishers have a history and mindset of not understanding their own industry and readers.  )  http://www.demimonde.com/2012/11/30/revolutions-in-paper-and-pixel/  It must be exhausting when the sky is perpetually falling and yet the sun comes up the next morning.  I can’t imagine how confusing life must be for these people.

Major publishers seem to believe many odd things.  One apparent belief is one that I caution you not to have, which is “Every library e-book checkout is a sale lost.”  Just poo-poo this notion because it is full of poo-poo.   Certainly publishers have been happy to sell physical books and audio books in all their formats to libraries.  They continue to do so.  But e-books started getting popular and now libraries are snatching money from publishers and authors.

Several publishers will not make their books available in digital form for libraries.  Attached is a December 2012 article on how Simon and Schuster is being flexible by allowing a second title to be made available to public libraries.  http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2012/simon-schuster-open-to-selling-ebooks-to-libraries-in-certain-circumstances/ 

 Gosh.  What a flexible bunch of guys…

Other publishers do not allow their major releases to be available to public libraries for several months.  Actually, one of the best places to see this type of information is here: https://www.facebook.com/thebig6ebooks  (This is because the State Library of Kansas understands technology and how to communicate with people who are interested and …  

Honestly, Big 6.  You are in New York City where there is a public library system internationally known for its reference work.  Get someone to call in a reference question and a librarian will explain the technology to you as well as the history of public libraries and publishing, and even use small words if needed.  Just think about it.) 

I must stop here.  Family members are backing away from me and I’m only typing but I gather my facial contortions and snarling are upsetting everyone…

To sum up: Libraries and e-books and publishing...  It’s all going to shake out but not any time soon.   I’m off to meditate now and try to regain my composure.

I will try to answer any questions you may have.  I will not take them personally and I will try to answer in a coherent, respectful tone.

Madame S has worked in and around archives and libraries and library related businesses since 1985.  Well, she started volunteer work in public libraries in 1976 as a junior high student.  (She was recruited and told if she put the catalog cards from various packets into alphabetic order for filing into the library catalog, she could take and read the paperbacks that hadn't been cataloged yet.  So she began her professional life with an understanding of how the backroom works and who you need to make happy in order to get special benefits.  Plus, she got to see all the books that came in before the rest of the patrons.)

 Armed with this information, she misspent her first semi-decade working for library districts, state library networks, large city libraries, small city libraries, a library system software company and book distributor.  Madame S was taken to the library when she was very young and realized she had found heaven on earth.  In 1968, she got her first library card with her name on it and has never looked back.  She continues to ensure any library or library branch she uses has higher circulation statistics than it did before she arrived.


Today we have a special giveaway in honor of this visit to Seekerville by Madame S. We'll be giving away a Seeker e-Book of Choice to one commenter.   Unless you prefer to attempt to get it at your local library.

Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.

And if you missed Madame S's last post, you can catch up here:

The Dos and Don't of the Library World for Authors and the Kitchen Sink by Madame S


  1. Thank you, Madame S.

    This is complicated stuff, but as authors and readers we can't hide our heads in the sand. Use this post as a jumping off point and be informed.

  2. My head is spinning, Madame S. I don't even have an e-reader yet, so I'm not going to try to go decipher all this.

    Have a cup of coffee. There's plenty.


  3. Someone send Helen an e-reader.

    Madame S likes hers black.

    Keep it coming. We're going to need it.

  4. I'm actually too scared to attempt to borrow an ebook from a library, but I don't feel the pressure to try since, I have oh, hundreds of books on my kindle and hundreds stacked up sideways on my shelves indicating I have not read them yet...

    By the time I need to try to borrow an ebook, hopefully the system will all be straightened out and "oh so easy."! Good luck, Librarians!

  5. Darlings,

    Don't be afraid to checkout digital books from the library. Actually, it would be one of the best things you could do. Libraries are trying to show that the public is interested in checking digital books out at libraries.

    Many times poor Tina, (and heaven knows I may never type those two words together again) has had to read my rants about digital original works that aren't available and how I refuse to buy it from one of the Big 6 publishers until I've read it from the library but I can't because it either isn't available for sale to libraries or it hasn't been reviewed in a publication that the library uses for making selections.

    If digital books are issues for readers, then digital books are issues for authors.

    Madame S

  6. I have friends who work in our library system. They feel your pain.

    The biggest wake-up call for me was our library system has fewer ebooks than print of any given item. We just assumed they would have more since it is "just" a virtual entity without much of a production cost.

    Silly us. Not so. There is as much of a wait for ebook versions as there is for print of any given popular title.

    Thanks again for your help, Madame S. Love the hat!

    Peace, Julie

  7. wow complicated and now my head hurts too.

    I wonder what is happening in Australia. here i think more kobo (not sure if thats the right word) are sold than kindles. but alot use their i pads.

  8. Oh my stars, S....

    May I call you "S"?

    Here's the thing: New York has its share of Nervous Nellies who see Jeff Bezos as more than a 10,000 year clock maker: they see him and his looming Amazonian (ironic: led by males) company as THE END OF CIVILIZATION AS THEY'VE KNOWN IT, so they're a tad concerned.

    Jeff Bezos is building his $43,000,000 clock because he's inspiring LONG-TERM-THINKING...

    Who builds a 10,000 year clock buried deep in a mountain???? Inaccessible to the unworthy among us who don't scale mountains?

    Rich people with long-term world domination dreams.

    I avoid them.

    I embrace libraries.

    But I can see the dilemma when you mix media and know one knows what the end-product will be. But here's what I do know:

    E-mails tell me that my readers are buying my books in hard copy and e-format.

    They are buying them TWICE.

    Someone told me this would happen eventually, but that was at the advent of e-readers.

    It appears to be a growing trend and I admit, I do the same thing with music. I use a CD player in the car: I buy the CD's.

    I want MP3 music?

    I buy it and download.

    I mix the two and create my own CDs for the car, my faves.

    I read the article about the Douglas County Library. God bless them and all libraries trying to keep abreast of the changes. It's aggravating that publishers don't realize that only a certain portion of the populace will use a library. And if that portion becomes more affluent some day, they will most likely buy the books of the future in ten or twelve years. That's pretty short-term for longevity, long-term for tomorrow's profitability.

    Bezos' business mode is classic middleman logic: Own nothing, Control everything.

    This concept is ages old, he just saw the opportunity to provide a needed service and ran with it.

    The clock?

    Oh my stars, I don't have any idea what kind of weirdness that is, probably to make people stop talking about Amazon vs. Google in a War of World Domination and re-focus our attention on a pyramid project buried in rock. It's like fooling people into looking the other way while you tamper with their drink...


    Crazy smart.

    Not an oxymoron.

    Madame S. you give us pause to think. Thank you.

  9. Wow. After reading that, I need another cup of coffee. Madame S., my hat is off to you. I can barely make sense reading it and you managed to research and write it! Thanks.

    Interesting about eBooks and Libraries. I think I'd be more likely to check an ebook out of a library than a regular book because:
    a) it wouldn't involve physically going to the library, and
    b) my thing against library books was that I always preferred my own new copy - not a previously read one. (Books being the one thing I never hesitate to spend money on. Fortunately my husband is of a like mind so our book budget is huge.)

    With eBooks, there are no food stains on the page or broken spines, etc. So the illusion of it being "my copy" is the same."

    RUTHY, I'm curious. Do your readers say which they buy first if they're buying both? I've done that, and both ways. If I love a book, I may want a hard copy. Likewise, if I'm reading a hard copy and I don't want to drag it on the subway every day, if the price is low enough, I'll buy an eVersion for convenience.

    Hmmmm, wondering what kinds of things I've divulged about myself in this post. If you take away that books rule my life (and always have) you'd not be wrong.

  10. Hello Madam S, to this avid reader of "Books-physical books" this is really complicated stuff and I don't think I will ever understand any of it. I don't want an ereader-I plan to stick with my books and let the world move on. There is so much tech stuff out there that it boggles my mind,I don't even know what much of is, let alone how to use it. I am afraid I don't even speak the language on the computer when folks say LOL and BRB why don't they just talk words..guess I am just an old fuddy-duddy and too old to change.
    enjoyed reading your post and to know a few of the things going on.
    Paula O

  11. Dear Madame S. I so feel your pain. My head was spinning with yours. smile

    My dad's retirement community had a library and they offered ebook checkouts. The old folks love the ebooks because you can enlarge the font and they can read. Very progressive of them.

    But I suspect most of the problem for libraries is they don't have the staff who understands the technology. Traveling as I do, I use libraries a lot, esp for Internet access etc and truthfully, most of the staff admit they don't understand computers so aren't available to answer questions I might have.

    I certainly relate to that. LOL

    One of the CEO's at Amazon that I met at RWA National is on the board for the library system in his community. He said that the whole issue of ebooks in the libraries is daunting, but they are working hard to figure it out. I suspect that when they get enough of those 25 years olds with smartphones in the system as employees, there won't be a problem.

  12. My head is spinning.

    I love my Kindle.

    I have enough books on it to last me until the Second Coming so I don't know that I'll borrow many from the library even if I could.

    But my head will still spin.

    [And if anyone would say a little prayer for hubs, I'd appreciate it. Came home with an awful headache yesterday and didn't go to his first day of class this morning - and he's the teacher. Didn't sleep well. Whole body hurts. No fever. Nauseated. Thanks.]

  13. wow. head-spin.
    i've only just gotten a Kindle and am ashamed to admit that i haven't visited a library since i completed my masters degree in 2000.

    now that i have a child, i am overdue to introduce him to the wonders of the library (i have such fond memories of my mom taking me to the local library when i was little).

    since i don't really have a book budget right now (economics), i really should pursue the library more avidly. thank you for the reminder.

    as for the rest of it. may i just wait and see how things work out? or should i really, really start using the library out the wazoo (so to speak)?

  14. Helen, an ereader and a cup of coffee are EXACTLY THE SAME. So you're good.

  15. So, yo're saying, Madam S, that I should carry my Kindle to the library with me to check out a book? That's so counter-intuitive. Everyone knows the books are supposed to just appear.
    Lugging that Kindle around.....good grief, why don't I just hitch up the team before I don my calico dress and bonnet and drive over to the library?
    It all seems so pre-historic.

  16. Darlings,

    Just a few things:

    1. Amazon is Amazon but that has nothing to do with not owning a Big 6 title. You don't own it if you buy from B&N or iTunes. You are licensing usage.

    2. Yes, not all individuals who work in libraries know anything about technology. That's an issue for that library. Let's leave off the idea that all librarians should be able to use all types of laptops, smartphones, and ebooks and that the patron may have a limiited understanding of the device they own as well.

    The issue is that even if everyone does understand the technology, you can't checkout "Empire and honor" by WEB Griffin because it isn't available for sale to libraries. And because you don't "own it," you can't buy a digital copy and "donate it" to the library either.

    As you've pointed out, people do buy multiple copies of books. This isn't just a digital thing. (In earlier posts I've written about buying the hardback, not reading that copy and checking it out of the library, and then buying the paperback to have a reading copy. (Which is fairly common among collectors.)

    But I'll have both the hardback as long as I'm willing to find shelf space for it and the paperback as long as friends and family don't need something to read on a plane. And I can donate both to the library and the library can decide to include either in the book sale or add to the collection.

    None of this is true wiht e-books.

    You don't need to read e-books if you don't want to. (I have a good friend who is a speed reader and the vareity of digital cannot keep up with him. (He does periodic studies.))

    But as authors, you need to know what is keeping your e-books out of libraries and why the library may not be able to add you title as an e-book.

    Madame S

  17. Mary Curry You know, it's been just like you: both ways. Some said they got it in Readers' Service and wanted it on their Kindle for convenience sake....

    Others said they bought the Kindle version and then ordered the paperback.

    Interesting, right? Because I've done both ways, too.

    I love that between Harlequin, Walmart and Amazon they keep Love Inspired, LIS, LIH reasonably priced enough that people don't feel guilty or hesitate as much as they might with an unknown author whose book is $10 or more.... Budgets CREAK at spending $10 and facing disappointment.

    $4.31 or 3/$9.99 at Walmart? Not so much!

    I've also had people tell me they found me at a library or used book store, and then went on and bought the whole series on Kindle.

    Sweet, right?

    I am truly blessed.

  18. Madame S, I'm overwhelmed but happy to report that in our town, eBooks are available. Our daughter has downloaded eBooks with her Kindle. I, like Melissa J, have so many books to read that I haven't needed a cyber visit to our library.

    Any food? I'm shaking from too much coffee. Or is it your post, Madame S?


  19. Sandra, I am not that old and I have a Kindle because I can enlarge the font.

    My head is spinning because I keep reading paperback sales are down but ebook sales aren't continuing to track up at the pace they used sell.

    Are people going to the library then?

    Peace, Julie

  20. Darlings, you don't need to carry your Kindle to the library to checkout an e-book. I'm sorry if I gave that impression. I personally love sitting in my silk pajamas, searching for e-books while sipping mimosas, and downloading available titles or placing holds on titles that are checkedout. I object, as a library user, to the fact that my library would love to offer more titles than the TWO availalbe to libraries from Simon and Schuster but cannot because Simon and Schuster won't make them available to libraries.

    And if you don't want to use an e-book, I'm certainly not trying to force you to do so.

    But, as authors, I think you need to know that and e-book is not the same as a physical books when it comes to libraries.

  21. This is so fun because Mary is vershimelled.

    When Mary is vershimmeled, I weep for joy.

    Tears of joy, Madame S, Amazon not withstanding (and come on, didn't you LOVE my story of the 10K clock just a little???? You know you did. I'm willing to bet you went right to Google to see the debacle... which will probably be proclaimed a masterpiece of human ingenuity and I'll be a laughing stock. This is not unusual as you may have heard second hand)

    Hey, food.

    Intense subjects need intense food, so we're doing breakfast pizza and apple dumplings.


    And I freshened the coffee... and mango/orange juice because I love mangoes.


  22. E-books are very popular at libraries. Even titles from Big 6 publishers that are available to libraries have long waiting lists. I will generally wait for the e-book because it fits into my purse easier than the physical version.

    Some publishers won't allow digital sales to libraries until six months after the release of the physical release. (But they will sell the physical book to libraries...)

    People often assume that if their library has access to e-books, then it has access to all e-books and that's just not the case.

    I'm going to be offline for a bit, Darlings, but I should be back in an hour or so.

  23. wow. those publishers are mean. don't they know they are cutting off their noses to spite their faces?

  24. LOL ... LOVE Madame S and her snarky humor!!

    But I'm with Melissa ... "by the time I need to try to borrow an ebook, hopefully the system will all be straightened out and "oh so easy."

    One can only hope ...

    There are not enough cups of coffee or brain cells in my body to fully assimilate the digital-library situation, so I will quietly slink away ...



    You may have enough ebooks to last a life time on your ereader but the question is..


  26. Now for us who write for Harlequin we don't think of it as a big issure. Heck the libraries have refused to even carry our books for years.

    Our ebooks are less than a the cost of a pack of cigarettes.

  27. But those of you whose ebooks cost 9.99 or more SHOULD be worrying because your readers all got Kindles, and iPads for Christmas.

    They want your book but they aren't going to buy it cause they can't afford it in print nor ebook. And they now cannot get it at the library.

    The library who is your biggest fan. Who is the largest purchaser of your book in bulk cannot get it in ebook and they simply are not going to be buying in as large a bulk as previous in print form, because more and more of the public wants ebooks.

  28. Here is a copy of the open letter from the Douglas County Library System:

    An open letter about eBooks and Douglas County Libraries

    This is a time of great change in the publishing world. In the print world, public libraries are volume purchasers.

    Across the nation, we buy about 10% of all the books produced by commercial publishers. We buy about 40% of all children's books. Because of the many millions of dollars we spend, we typically get significant publisher discounts. That's part of the cooperative purchasing value of the library, and it has benefitted both publishers and taxpayers for over a century.

    Many of our patrons are also interested in ebooks. But lately publishers are changing the rules. Some -- four of the "big six" -- won't sell ebooks to libraries at all. The two that did, HarperCollins and Random House, unilaterally changed the terms. HarperCollins requires us to "buy" the book again after 26 checkouts. (It's really more of a license to read than a purchase.) Random House recently raised the price of a new ebook by 300%. So a fiction title might cost $80; a non-fiction title, $120.

    That's neither sensible nor sustainable. While the Douglas County Libraries will continue to buy print copies of popular titles published by the big six, we won't be spending $120 for a single copy of an ebook.

    In a free market, companies are free to set their prices. But we are free to seek a better deal - and we've found one. Instead of passively accepting what amounts to a 33% reduction in the purchasing power of the library, we'll be extending our network of electronic publishers to include those who are more responsive to our needs and budgets.

    We have now identified some 12 groups of publishers, comprising over 800 individual companies. We have purchased from them over 7,000 ebook titles, which are now available from our catalog. We are buying the titles at discount, and we actually own them. This model of distribution, created by Douglas County Libraries, is now being picked up by hundreds of libraries across the nation. And we're signing up new publishers every day.

    We encourage you to explore the offerings of those organizations which, like us, are pioneers in the 21st century world of publishing. You'll find fine children's books, reputable reference works, novels, histories, and romances.

    Happy reading!

    If you have questions, feel free to email me at jlarue@dclibraries.org.

    Jamie LaRue, Director
    Douglas County Libraries

  29. So the library is buying your book in bulk...10 percent according to Jamie LaRue. More if you are Mary Connealy.

    And they don't strip covers and return. So sit up and pay attention.

    This does affect you.

  30. I'm an avid reader as well as a school librarian currently in Africa. Getting books to us is a complicated process (wait until we know flying from the States to here, ship bks to them, have them repack the books, pay them the extra baggage fee).

    So I'd love to offer a way for the students to check out ebooks, but as Madame S has so precisely explained, there's no simple way and trying to figure out what options are out there just lead to a headache. I do hope publishers smarten up, that all ereaders could open all ebook versions, and that there'd be a simple way to buy an ebook and lend it to students. Sigh, wishful thinking I'm sure.

    Thanks for the great article and fun read!

  31. Okay, I must be the oddball, because I'm the type of person who has over 200 titles on her kindle, some of which I have never, ever read and will probably never, ever read. (Admittedly, most of those I got for free or under $2). If an ebook looks good to me and is on sale, I usually buy it and then figure out whether I want to read it. Gulp.

    Furthermore, I primarily read on my kindle because I use text to speech oh so very often. Like tonight, when I'm going to drive 140 miles round trip to go hear a historical presentation that will be great info for a novel I want to write someday. So I will get in my car, put one earbud in, and let kindle read me my book. Then when I get home and lay down in bed, I'll read for myself. For this reason, I get through ebooks way faster than physical ones these days.

    So yes, I lament the precarious relationship between libraries and ebooks, because I'm the type who wants to read that bestseller as soon as it comes out. I'm the type that will let 100 unread titles sit on her kindle and go searching for another book by author x that I just read and loved. Ebook lending libraries would thrive off people like me!

    But there are numerous hindrances to my renting ebooks from my local library. First, my local library doesn't have it's own lending system. It's part of a group of libraries across Michigan's entire Upper Peninsula. At one time our head librarian told me it cost $18k per year to have a digital library. So that's something that 50 libraries in my rural area split the cost of. No one library could carry that burden where I live. (I assume this cost relates to tracking ebooks and making sure they get taken away after two weeks?)

    So therefore, patrons from 50ish libraries are all sharing the same single copies of ebooks. It's impossible to just log in to my library and rent the title I want. It's always on hold, if the digital library even has it. I've got to wait not just for someone in my local library to return the book, but for people in a dozen libraries to read and return it. Sigh . . .

    Furthermore, whoever chooses the titles that go into this mass digital library, doesn't think like I do in terms of which books to by. (Side note: neither of my wonderful librarians are involved in this process. Not quite sure who is.) The books in there are smart literary types (yuck!) or the most recent bestsellers that have 20 people waiting lists.

    Personally, I'm the type that happens upon an old Julia Quinn book for sale on her kindle, buys it, then wants to read the rest of the series without paying $8 a piece for six more books. So does the digital library have a complete Julia Quinn series? Not even close. I think it maybe has one Julia Quinn title and one Eloisa James title. It's like mass market paperbacks don't even exist to the Upper Peninsula digital library bigwigs. Sad.

    Anyway, I'm done with my rant, but I am wondering, S, how much it costs individual libraries to have these digital libraries, and how common it is for libraries to band together to cover the cost as I described. Thanks!

  32. I've been shying away from this topic for awhile. When I attended RWA back in 09 e-publishing was a huge topic.

  33. Naomi, I tried one time ... just playing ... to get my Kindle to speak to me. Then I COULDN'T GET IT TO SHUT UP! Very embarrassing. I need to try again though, what a great idea!

  34. Exactly, Naomi. Libraries are doors to your back lists. And with more and more authors putting back lists on Kindle and more and more publishers putting back lists on Kindle this is very relevant.

    It's also relevant if you are a midlist author publishing with the Big 6 and patrons cannot get your book.

    I don't think M can untangle this mess today but you should be at very least..INFORMED.

  35. I tell people all the time...well, quite often...okay let's say I'VE MENTIONED IT ONCE OR TWICE...that if you don't want to buy my books, just can't afford to do it, I totally get that. Go To The Library. If they don't have my books ask for them through interlibrary loan or ask they to buy my books.
    All I ask if that at some point if they don't cooperate, drop to the floor and scream and cry and threaten to hold your breath until you turn blue.
    Also, please call the TV station first.
    Also, make sure they all spell my name right.
    Also, pretend like it's your own idea.
    I love libraries.
    I'm a big library girl myself.

  36. So, Tina...oh rats, I'd better go read through the comments more thoroughly first. You might've already answered this........

  37. But okay, I read about your silk pajamas, very STRONG part of this blog, btw, but my Kindle only goes to Amazon does't it?
    Do you need like a Kindle fire or some big shot, fancy schmancy, show-off high tech, bells and whistles and whoop-di-doo Kindle to get it to a library?

    cuz I don't have one of those. :(

  38. Wow, that is ONE TON of information. My head is spinning!

    A jumping off point? Yikes, Madame S, there's more.

  39. Okay, I did a search on comments.

    There are at LEAST 4 heads spinning.

    Too funny.

  40. Yes, it's true. Lots of spinning heads.

    Authors just wanna write books.
    (sung to the tune of -Girls just wanna have fun!)

  41. Add my head to that list of spinning ones...

  42. Madame S, you have left me utterly speechless.

    Which isn't that hard, really.

    Except I have one question. What does the S stand for?

  43. Oh, maybe it stands for "Spinning heads."

  44. It stands for her real name.

    I wonder if she will divulge her identity today???

  45. Okay, Tina yelled at me. I felt the sting personally.
    So, to stop that from happening again, I will now find out if my books are available in the Nebraska and Iowa ebook system. And, oh heck, I'll check the whole country.

    Be right back............

  46. I'm still trying to figure out how to borrow audio books from my library, so I haven't even looked into e-books.

    But ever since e-books became available at libraries, the ones I've been to have had an information station where you can have a librarian demonstrate the different types of e-readers for you and teach you how to borrow an e-book. That has to be good for the borrowers.

    The one part about this whole mess that really makes my head spin, though, is that it seems each library system has to figure out their own way of doing things. It reminds me of when libraries were switching to computerized cataloging systems. Each individual library had to invent their own wheel...

  47. One of the companies that is making ebooks accessible for school libraries is here http://www.esebco.com/

  48. HA!! Mary! It wasn't a personal yelling. A generalized come to order as there were groups standing in the corner near the coffee machine stuffing chocolate croissants into their mouth and some appeared to be sobbing.

  49. Hi Mary:

    I’m sitting in my office and I just downloaded your “Husband Tree” from Amazon via the Tulsa County Library. I have two weeks to read it. I never left my chair. I had to go to Amazon to get it! How’s that for convenient?

    BTW: all the below titles are available as ebooks from the Tulsa Library:

    Calico Canyon, Over the Edge, Sophie’s Daughters Trilogy, Montana Marriages Trilogy, Deep Trouble, Sharpshooter in Petticoats, Out of Control, Lassoed in Texas, The Husband Tree, Wildflower Bride, Doctor in Petticoats, Wrangler in Petticoats, Montana Rose, Gingham Mountain.

    What’s also nice is that I don’t have to bring the book back to the library because it will just be disabled on my Kindle. No fines, either for being late.


    P.S. RUTH: Mary may be vershimmeled but she does has 40 items in the Tulsa library!!!

  50. Darlings,

    Tina is accurate (You dont' know that it cost me to write that.) As authors you need to know what the issues are are there are a lot of issues. There is the fact that there is no e-book standard, as there is in music.

    So a book from B&N cannot be read on the Kindle. Only books that come through Amazon can be read on the Kindle.

    Another issue is pricing for libraries. Jamie LaRue isn't kidding when he says that a single copy of an e-book for a library can be $80.00. What this means, for example, is that if you want your library to have five digital versions of the new Linda Howard title, it will cost them $400.00 and they don't "own" those five "copies." (Really, it's one copy and with five simultaneous accesses. Five people can checkout the book at the same time. That's a lot of money when the physical book can be purchased by the library for around $15.00 a copy.

    You can buy a Kindle version of the book for $12.99. (The physical version can be purchased at Amazon for $15.31.)

  51. I'm back. This is taking longer than I anticipated. I'm not finding my books available in eformat so far.


  52. Before I address Naomi's issues, the "S" has always stood for "*hit! You need it when?"

  53. Thank you for this most informative post, Madame S. But if I may just "borrow" Helen Gray's comment and a large cup of coffee (cream only, please). ~ Please know I DO plan on keeping and re-reading this post (and by the way---I LOVE that shade of lipstick you're wearing *grin*).

  54. Ah, let's remember this is a G rated blog.

    Poopie is okay however.

  55. We have to watch Madam S.........EVERY MINUTE!!!

  56. I did find out that a large metropolis near me (okay, 25,000 people seems large to me!) only has five of my books.
    As a local, Nebraska author, I believe this is TOO FEW. So I have contacted them, very politely and asked them to get up to speed.
    I will wrangle with them about ebooks when they contact me with the news of their purchase of 18 more of my books.

  57. I also checked a library in Iowa that has 23 of my books and no eformats available.


  58. Way to be proactive, Connealy.

    Those 1000 flyers I printed up supporting ebooks in libraries with your book prominently displayed in the center, won't go to waste I see.

    I sort of feel Downton Abbey-ish, like women demanding the vote.

  59. Hi Ruth:

    Add me to your list. I bought three copies of one of your books. 1) The large print version from LI. It was still too small for me to read. (Probably just 11 point). 2) The Sony eReader copy which at a maximum type size of about 12 point, was just too small to read. (I can’t use the Sony eReader any longer.) 3) Kindle which can be enlarged so large that only a few words appear on the screen. Kindle is heaven!!!

    And a Kindle will read the book to me if I want it to and allow me to cut and paste for my reviews and I can search for bible quotes like the one from Romans which I never found in any of your books the other day.


  60. And before I get to Naomi, let me get back to Kindles and libraries.

    Until September/October 2011, you could checkout e-books at your library (if your library had things in place to do so) but you could not checkout a title to a Kindle. Kindles can only read e-books from Amazon.

    This caused all kinds of problems because people were hearing that they could checkout e-books at libraries and they would arrive at the library with their Kindles and ask how to do this.

    And would become angry when they were told that Kindles would not work with the library's e-books. This was part of the week between Christmas and New Year's issues that public libraries were dealing with. People got e-readers for Christmas and came to library to learn to use them.

    As people began to reasearch e-readers, many wanted to buy Kindles but went with Nooks because the format Nooks use allowed for titles from the library to be checkedout.

    Amazon figured that making access to the Kindle format for titles publishers are willing to allow to be used by libraries was worth it and came up with a process.

    First, the library has to decide how many "copies" of a particular title it wants to be available to Kindle users. (So you aren't just buying one digital copy of a title. You are buying the equivalent of a Beta and a VHS copy to be available for users.)

    Using the Overdrive system, for an example, I go into my library system, find the e-book I want, and "check it out" having selected the Kindle format.

    When it "checks out," I click on a button that takes me to a screen at Amazon. I have to log on to my Amazon Kindle account and am taken to a screen that allows me to click on a button for library checkout for that specific title.

    That title is on my Kindle until I remove it (so I can return it early if I finish) or disappears from my Kindle at the end of the checkout period.

  61. I would like to point out to Melissa Jagears and Christina Rich that our dear Madame S, actually used the word Kansas and praised Kansas in the same post.

  62. All else aside, I want to look like Madame S does in the hat....

    I'm green-eyed.

  63. Now, Naomi, what you are describing is very common. E-books and systems to checkout e-books are expensive. Libraries will band together to spread the collections and pricing and support among them. (Look at the state of Kansas.) But library consortium are common.

    What you may be seeing is combination of things. 1) I don't know how many titles of Julia Quinn's are available for libraries to purchase. (Remember, just because your book is available in e-format does not mean a library can purchase it and make it available for checkout.)

    2) A consortium trying to figure out which books will circulate best. This is always dicy for a variety of reasons. One is trying to buy the most numbers of books/formats with the limited money available. The other issue is trying to find the time to look at which titles are circulating, which titles have patron holds over x amount, and which titles have never circulated/circulate seasonally. (SAT guides, tax guides, travel books for example.) Trying to figure out how to allocate the fund available is always difficult.

    I would encourage to see if there is a form/forum for requesting titles in e-format.

    What libraries have experienced is that patrons love to checkout e-books and they cannot keep up with the demand.

    Vince, Darling, always good to read from you. I'm happy you could provide Mary with the information on her titles being available to libraries and help with Tulsa's circulation statistics.

  64. I adore Kansas. I have many fond memories of Kansas and Kansas libraries. Why wouldn't I use Kansas?

    (And that was before its State Librarian became my heroine.)

  65. My niece borrows books all the time on her Nook, but "S" is correct, there are a lot of things unavailable that way. And she's not the patient sort who will wait on a library lending list while 20 people in front of her delay her joy of reading.

    It's kind of like Movies on Demand: The one you promised yourself you'd rent is never there on the night you have time because their licensing time ran out.

    I have to re-install Office again on new computer. Depending on which version you got (CD multiple use or single download online) the Office is either licensed to you or your machine.

    If it's licensed to your machine, then you have to re-buy.

    If it's licensed to you, you can jump through hoops and transfer it, but then you must remove it from the other computer.

    Licensing is always in the favor of the licensor, not the licensee.

    They want to make money every which way. And it's usually your pocket.

    S, you're fascinating. Do you like Earl Grey Tea?

    Your sophistication leads me to believe you might.

    I brought some, just in case.

  66. There are 46 Mary Connealy entries in the Springfield library.

    This includes audio files. And at least one electronic file [a sound one though]. Over the Edge mp3 it looks like.

    They also have 7 holds on 2 ordered copies of Swept Away.

  67. Vince 40 items? In tulsa? Wow!
    And somehow when you go to the library (well, cyberly go to the library) for a Kindle formatted ebook and check it out, it sends you to Kindle?

    My mind is boggled. And what's this about my Beta movie tapes being in a battle? Say that is not so, Madam S. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  68. Vince is smarter than all of us.

    Why am I not surprised????

    Did someone say chocolate croissants?????

  69. Earl Grey with extra bergamot and a lovely, LOVELY platter of lightly toasted brioche!

  70. AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!

    My daughters have developed a fairly complex system where they 'reserve' my books online repeatedly in the Omaha Library system so they are always circulating and on reserve. Then they pick them up (or their friends do) and hold them a few days and return them. I'm sure the library knows if one person checks the same book out over and over, but still, most Omaha libraries have the full slate of my books. They tend to buy Nebraska authors anyway.

  71. Mary, dearest, I suspect you should not have shared that SCAM online.

  72. WAIT, rephrasing the post about four up. I said:
    And somehow when you go to the library (well, cyberly go to the library) for a Kindle formatted ebook and check it out, it sends you to Kindle?

    I meant:
    And somehow when you go to the library (well, cyberly go to the library) for a Kindle formatted ebook and check it out, it sends you to AMAZON?
    So the library sends you to Amazon. I know you can 'check ebooks out' on Amazon. I've tried it twice and somehow got charged for it, so I failed and instead bought the book, which was fine, but still, I was trying to LEARN.
    Of course I've given up so maybe I need to check again. It's probably gotten more understandable by now.

  73. I think they have desisted with the scam in recent years, bless their fraudulent little hearts.

  74. Now that they made you a star. Could I hire them?

  75. I wonder what's going to happen in schools when text books all become ebooks -after of course, Apple provides free ereaders to schools. Will schools be able to afford the etext books?

  76. Mary, in checking out books to the Kindle, you can't start in Amazon. You have to start in your library catalog with your library card number/id and password.

    The system, once you have checked out the title, will send you to the Amazon screen where you will have enter your Amazon password and e-mail account and then you go to a screen for that title that will let you check it out.

    When it is returned, you will have to go to "Manage your Kindle" to remove it. (It gives you the option to buy the title then. It is a seller of things, so I can understand that.) Every so often, I have to go in and manage my Kindle to remove returned titles. I suppose I don't have to and could let them sit there.

    Does that help?

  77. Vince.

    I am green with envy.

    Not a pretty Kelly-green, Irish-Celtic lass tone.

    That ugly pea green that some generous color-blind soul calls "kiwi"....


    BUT.... I do take hope in Tina's words of wisdom that my less-than-a-pack-of-smokes paperback finds its way into many shopping bags because of its wallet-friendly price tag.

    (Comforting myself the only way I know how, VINCE!!!!)


    I so love this person, whomever she may be.

    But this line...

    "Certainly publishers have been happy to sell physical books and audio books in all their formats to libraries. They continue to do so. But e-books started getting popular and now libraries are snatching money from publishers and authors."

    Is that last part sarcasm? I'm confused.

  79. Yes, Virginia. It is hard core, Madam S, sarcasm.

  80. If you have a chance check out her link on the evolution of books.

    Hilarious how paperback books were once thought to be the doom of publishing as we know it.

  81. RUTHY--

    "Bezos' business mode is classic middleman logic: Own nothing, Control everything."

    Ohhhhhhh, I just had an epiphany.

    I think there are a few people in my life who carry this idea as their personal motto.

  82. In our local library there is one Mary Conneal item (that I gave them) but there are 6 that can be borrowed from other libraries.

    Mary, you need to market out West, apparently.

  83. 18 Mary Connealy's available in Monroe County, half of them are e-books...

    That's sweet!

    Julie Lessman, 8 entries, 2 of them are e-books, A Hope Undaunted and A Heart Revealed.

    Sweet as well!

    All of Cara's books are there and all are available either hard copy or e-book.

    I'm sayin' a big YAHOO for Monroe County!!!!

  84. TINA-

    Our local schools have a program that provides an ipad to every teacher. They use it to 'teach' the kids.

    Just this year, they started a program to equip every classroom with 10 ipads, for the kids to share.

    I didn't know this until last weekend when a friend pulled out her ipad to show me something- and it was her 'teacher' ipad.

  85. Virginia, I do what I can.


    Epiphany, 101

  86. Tina, our library carried the Love Inspired books. However I couldn't find my titles from last year so wonder if that's changed. I'm going to check.


  87. Bemis Public Library in Littleton, Colorado, Tulsa Public Library and many, many others carry Love Inspired books. Thank you, romance loving librarians.

  88. Virginia,

    I did not mean to be confusing. I am often sarcastic but not in these two sentences. (Beyond that, I make no promises.)


    The library may have owned a copy of your book but if 1) someone dropped it in the bathtub or 2) lost it or 3) stole it, the library may not have replaced it.

    There was something about a Kindle Fire that was written but I can't remember now. I haven't played with it so I don't know if you can add an app that will let you read B&N books on it. (With the iPad, you can use an app to read Kindle books and read books from iTunes and from B&N. But you can't read a Kindle book on the Nook or a Nook book on the plain Kindle.

    Was that helpful or just confusing?

  89. Hi Tina:

    You hit my favorite hot button!!!

    “…wonder what's going to happen in schools when text books all become ebooks -after of course, Apple provides free ereaders to schools. Will schools be able to afford the etext books?”

    Ebook readers will get down to about $1 whatever happens. They are now working on a marketing model that allows for free Kindles.

    When ebook readers are almost free, many textbooks will become free and the whole corrupt textbook industry will be in disarray. Two big events will happen:

    1) Professors from different colleges will combine to write textbooks and make them available for free. They will become the biggest best known professors in the profession. Each professor writes one or two chapters. Bingo! Free textbook!

    2) Educational foundations will contract textbooks ‘for hire’ and give them free to the school systems around the country as ebooks. No inventory. No payoffs. Instant updates to fix errors. No extra cost for the newest editions. Talk about ‘bang for your buck’ -- this could turn $100,000 paid to a professor into millions of dollars worth of free textbooks. Think of school budges without textbook costs!

    These elementary school level textbooks will come with many options so local school boards can choose how certain topics, like "Intelligent Design", will be handled.

    Now this won’t happen to very specialized and cutting-edge college textbooks but entry level college texts, they will be devastated. And do we really need to see Latin textbooks in new editions that cost a fortune?

    Much of the textbook industry is a risk. Wait and see.


  90. Oh, also, last year our library director decided to BOYCOTT the big 6 because of their lending policies.

    But he didn't buy indie or small press.

    He just stopped buying books.


    Probably saved a lot of money.

  91. Wait. Yay. He stopped buying books at all? Well what if you had sold to one of those Big Six. You'd be crying in your soup. Distribution is the key to author sales.

  92. MARY-

    "My daughters have developed a fairly complex system where they 'reserve' my books online repeatedly in the Omaha Library system so they are always circulating and on reserve"

    I'm tto sure if this is a scam, since they're only keeping them a few days, and not hogging them from the rest of the patrons.

    I acually think that's rather clever.

    I worked in libraries the last 20 years and there was not a single one that did not look at circulation. Even the law library I headed in Umatilla County kept stats on which Reports were used and reshelved most often (no check out). They switched over to digital for most of the state reports and it's a whole lot easier to download an update that to try and stick it in that little folder at the back of the book.

  93. TINA- he's not the brightest tool in the shed. He figured (and he was right) that it wouldn't have much impact on circ because patrons still wanted to read and they would just settled for what was available.

    Also, he would save lots of money.

  94. This is not the norm. Most savvy patrons will find another library. Reality is, if readers can't get what they want they find some place where they can. Then circ stats go down and librarians are out of a job.

  95. Hi Madam S.

    Here is the big question: when all books are scanned and eReaders only cost $1, why will we need more than one library in the country? Library buildings will become social service centers without the books.

    Observation: library ebooks will kill ebook sales far more than physical books kill physical book sales. (If they actually kill them at all.)

    Real books must be picked up from the library, brought back, and they can be lost or damaged. They can also be late and incur fines. A real book may also be in a branch library and not available for days. (On the other hand, you can have an ebook in seconds if it is available. It always pays to check the library to see if the ebook is available.)

    With a real book the type could be too hard to read. Real books can’t be ‘searched’ or cut and pasted, besides they take up physical room. Even if I wanted to own a physical book, I might actually prefer to borrow it from the library as an ebook because I would at least know where to find it in the future. (This is a real problem when you have over 5,000 real books in ten locations in your house and they are no longer organized.)

    I’m not sure that library books actually hurt the sales of real books. They create more fans for authors. Also, many people would just read another author if they could not get a given book at the library. They don’t have the money to buy the book. There are only a few books you ‘have to read’ to be ‘in’ with your friends. The rest are optional. Libraries also are big buyers of books nationwide.

    Ebooks are different. Why would I buy an ebook on Amazon if I could get the same book from my library for free (also downloaded from Amazon)? (Aside: I would, of course, buy it because I am loyal to my author friends.)

    When people, who now never use libraries, get trained to borrow ‘free’ ebooks with the same effort it takes to buy them on Amazon, look out. The ebook dam will burst. It doesn’t pay a businessman to spend an hour or more trying to borrow a physical book at the library. But to get it while he’s sitting at his desk at work, now that’s cost-effective. That’s something he understands (and she understood long before he did.)

    Ebooks are a whole new ballgame.


  96. Virginia,

    I fear the library you mention will quietly die. If new materials are not there, new users will notice. Plus, people will complain to someone above the director. (Library board or county government or whomever is in charge.)

    Tina and I worked at a library where new materials were not available to the public for the first three weeks of release because, bless their hearts, they couldn't figure out how to get the materials out faster... That changed at one point but I don't know what its status is now. (There's nothing I can do about it and it's not my tax dollars so I try to leave these things alone.)

    Yes, when you add individual quirks of libraries to the mess, it just gets messier.

  97. We're a rural library and sitting directly on the state line, so the nearest library is not only out of our city but out of our district as well.

    To check out books from the library 14 miles from me, I can buy a library card for $160 a year. The next closest library is 80 miles, and although the card is cheaper ($55), the drive isn't something I want to tackle on a weekly basis.

    Savvy or no, some readers are stuck.

    I suppose he thinks he's heading a revolution.

    ("What giants?" asked Sancho Panza.

    "Those you see over there," replied his master, "with their long arms. Some of them have arms well nigh two leagues in length.")

  98. Ah, city manager and library director and related by marriage.


    And people wonder why I don't embrace rural life in my fiction.

  99. Paying for library cards? Have you ever heard of this, S???

    Oh, my that does add an interesting component to the mix.

  100. Vince, you are so right.

    And thinking of that dam bursting is making me smile!

    MORE BOOKS!!!!

    But the library convo is making me depressed.

    Instead, focusing on the changes that will come!

  101. Tina, you pay for the card if you live out of the city (Walla Walla, WA). It used to be county, but just this year they revoked the county rule and many of my homeschool friend families were stuck with no library, or paying the fee.

  102. http://wallawallapubliclibrary.org/kb/idx.php/4/005/article/

    Sorry, it's $135 or $70 for 6 months.

  103. Vince,

    A few things.

    1. When you check out the book from your library for your Kindle, it disappears after the checkout ends. A copy isn't available as long as you have a Kindle.

    2. This is sort of like the idea that all books would be scanned into CD-ROMs or even put onto microfilm/microfische. It's just not going to happen.

    3. Not all books will be available in all formats. This has always been true. I remember meeting two authors who were published in audio originals but had no print books. I knew their names because the library I worked for had purchased the audio originals and I had cataloged them. This was back in the mid-90s.

    Not all books are available in large type.

    I don't know who is going to pay for the single institution you envision. The Library of Congress, which is the closest thing to a national library the United States has, is not a "National Library" the way you see in other countries. The Library of Congress has always been clear that it's primary goal involves Congress and not what would be useful for libraries within the United States. (They will sell and make available what they produce because they are a government agency, but they report to Congress, not to libraries.)

    The current Library of Congress is not going to take this on. It's digital focus is on digitizing materials from its collection to expand access and for preservation. But the recordings it is digitizing are the 78s in its colleciton from 1900-1925. It's been digitizing photographs from its collection for years. (Since the mid-1990s) and has been involved in digitizing newspapers.

    The print book is still alive and kicking and will be for the forseeable future.

    Just my observations.

  104. Socialized Libraries. A chicken AND an ebook in every pot so you can figure out how to cook the chicken.

  105. Yes, paying for library cards. It's more common than you might think.

    I got spoiled living in Colorado where there is an agreement within the state that if your library wants to get state library money and be a part of the library courier service, if a user has a library card from any public library in Colorado, they can checkout materials at any public library in Colorado. And return the materials to any public library and the courier will get it to the correct library.

    So the public library in Vail has a lot of books that go to other parts of the state and then come back.

    But when I lived in Tennessee, I was stunned to learn that there was no such practice. If I had wanted to checkout materials from the Nashville Public Library, I would have had to pay a fee since I lived outside the limits.

    I think these practices develop when a county decides that the city library can handle things and the city library realizes it's supporting a lot of users outside of its tax base.

    Funding, funding, funding. It's critical to decisions libraries make.

  106. Tina, thank you for bringing Madame S back to Seekerville. My mind is swimming as I focus on e-books and libraries. It's foggy in Georgia, which is the way I'm feeling right now.

    Too much input? Too little brain power? A combination of both.

    Grabbing a chocolate croissant and returning to my WIP...

  107. You can "buy" a library card if you live out of district.

    Our library [with it's nearly 50 Mary Connealy titles] is available to those in our county. Those in other counties can pay for access since it's by far the best in our area - especially for research. At least for stuff you can get on site. The others may be able to get the same stuff but it'll come from the far reaches of the state or whathaveyou. Or you can pay [though I'm not sure how much it is - I want to say 50] to get into the Springfield-Greene county library.

    They have 9 Julie Lessman entries. Including 2 holds on 3 copies of Love at Any Cost.

    They have five Radcliffe entries.

    10 Cara Lynn James.

    6 Janet Dean.

    2 Audra Harders.

    No [sniffle] Pam Hillman.

    No Debby Guisti.

    10 Debby Giusti.

    1 Sandra Lee Smith.

    19 Logan, Ruth Herne.

    11 Missy Tippens.

    1 Myra Johnson.

    5 Glynna Kaye.

  108. Supposedly we have an eborrowing system. At least they had a seminar on how to do it the other day. I couldn't go. And I've not got a clue how it works or how to tell what books are in that system.

  109. I am supposed to pay for a library card because my nearst and most favored library is not only out of town but out of state.
    I offered to pay (it's like TWENTY dollars a year though, so not high) but the head librarians response was, "Pretty sure you're donating hundreds of dollars worth of books to us a year, we're counting that as good for the library card."
    In my local library it is free. Library cards are free free free.
    That's for everyone.
    I do donate my own books to both libraries, though. And both libraries have told me they'd be glad to buy them, so maybe I should let them, but I enjoy donating them. I usually have spare copies of the Large Print books I toss in the returned books drop box, too.
    Plus I give them other books I acquire as donations.

  110. Wow...what a lot of great info!!! I love my Kindle, and need to learn more on e books/libraries!!
    Please count me in the drawing! (Never got Virginia's book ..hint)
    Jackie S.

  111. Jackie-

    Did you win it and I missed you???

    And I'm not a Seeker. Just a hanger-on/ lurker/ coment thread hijacker.

    And now I can smell the brownies are getting close to done.

    Off to lunch and to scrub the play doh out of the carpet!

  112. I don't do e-books. Then again, I don't own a computer or e-reader so I just read print books.

    We have a great library system here in Toledo, Ohio, although their computers are somewhat slow and don't always load properly.

  113. Jackie Smith, did you win it in Seekerville? I'm not seeing an email from you in our IN box.

    Email me at seekers at seekerville dot net if so.

  114. Michelle F, how did you log onto Seekerville? Phone?

  115. Wonderful information, Madame S, but complicated! I hope it all shakes out before I'm too old to understand. Maybe I'm already too old. Sigh.

  116. Paying for library cards???


    That bites.

    I mean it really bites. Ben Franklin is TURNING OVER IN HIS LIBRARY-STARTING PHILADELPHIA GRAVE!!!!

    I get that they've gone city/county on you, but then why not use the tax system like every other municipality in the country?

    Now I'm wondering if I'm living in la la land and this has happened elsewhere....

    I don't know literally where I'd be today if I didn't have that library on Dewey Avenue as an escape when I was a kid. I'm not even kidding....

    So rural or not, this is not making me smile.

    You have to pay.

    And they don't keep buying books.

    We need to have a bake sale to help your library.

    Seriously, what could jump-start your town/county into becoming a nationally renowned library system?????

    Everything begins with something.

  117. Carol, I'm in your library????? OH HAPPY DAY!!!!!

    Hallelujah chorus ring out!!!!

    I understand the county-to-county thing because you're not paying taxes in the county next door and so you're not supporting their library. That makes sense.

    But the city/county thing sounds like good ol' boys fighting over territory or strange bed partners....

    Because that's not in the best interest of the public or the kids. I would bet that the county refused help on some city project and withdrew funds or just said "NO" and the city of Walla-Walla is getting even.

    And it doesn't even have to be an obvious game of chess, I've found that some of the most insidious political games are quietly played out.


    Sorry. Just a little excited. GRIN.

  118. Carol, when you go into our system and it gives you a list, it has an "e" next to the e-books and just 'book' next to the hard copies.

    That's how I knew that I'm not e-vailable.....

    and I'm only available because I've donated books with each release.

    I'm moving in with Carol and the kids.

    That's the only thing I can do at this point.

  119. Hi Madam S.

    You wrote:

    “The print book is still alive and kicking and will be for the foreseeable future.

    I agree with this but we may have a different idea about what is foreseeable.

    The print book will die not because people don’t like print books or don’t want print books but rather because they will become too expensive. People will not be given a choice. Newspapers and magazines are dying today in their print editions. These failures still have plenty of print customers but they don’t have enough. That’s the key. It’s not what people want. It’s what is economically viable.

    When ebook readers are cheap enough the ebook reader will come free with the book. It will be like the box of film that also became the camera.

    Imagine you’re at an airport. You go into a book store. You see a best seller. They download it into a disposable ebook reader and you take it on the plane. No inventory except generic utility ebook readers. No storage. No insurance. No transportation. No returns. No remaindered books. No taxes on inventory. No insurance on inventory. No risky print runs. No inventory shrinkage. How can you compete with that?

    The print book will go the way of full service gas stations, chemical photography and analog vinyl records. That is, there will still be some these things around but they will be the exception.

    In the future a “Green Congress” will take action against the ‘obscene waste’ generated by the print media. Books will be forced to go digital and their format will be mandated in the public interest. This will fall under the carbon footprint and global warming rubric. It is PC. I don’t think it can be stopped.

    Who will build the National Digital Library? Probably Google could do it right now. NASA could do it. NASA might even need the work at the rate things are going in the space program. The Department of Education would love to get the assignment and hire all those new government workers.

    If you don’t think this much government interference is possible, just look what they did to the analog tube TVs. Did you vote for that? Were you unhappy with your old tube TV?

    Of course, these are just observations. They may not happen. Something entirely new could come up. But as of now, I don’t see what is going to stop these things from coming about.


  120. I think Jackie means that if she wins, she wants Virginia Lou Who's book and that's doable, chickie!

    Michelle F, welcome!

    Hey, the chocolate croissants are GONE?????


    I blame Connealy.


    And where's that Mia Ross chick?

    Oh my stars, I have to get my own food.... I'm thinking Chinese.... Love Chinese food!!!!

  121. LOL. Well Carol does have a lot of books, and after you clean house and cook you could read.

  122. That's not what Jackie means. Pshaw. Jackie email me.

  123. Kansans are rebels like that, Tina. Almost always in a positive way. Sometimes it can be a bit bloody. Why just look at Bleeding Kansas.

  124. Stopping by again...

    Vince, I'd add the old lightbulbs to your list of bygones.

    Plus, I liked my old TV and I love print books.

    The times they are a changin'!

  125. Dearest Carol...

    You have me as a 10 and a zero. Now I'm really flummoxed. HELP!

  126. LITERALLY laughed out loud.
    Several times.
    It helps with the headache.


    (This may have been posted. With 127 comments thus far, I've not had time to read through them. Madame S has been BUSY!)

  127. Ruthy - dear. You are more than welcome.

    We have a trundle bed and a bunk bed available.

    And yes, lots of reading material - and more on my Kindle that you could borrow.

    Debby dear -

    0 Debby Guisti.

    10 Debby Giusti.

    Look more closely. I had to ;).

  128. I'm late, and the comments are already off the charts! But I still wanted to thank you, Madame S, for this great post! So interesting!

    We are getting more and more ebooks at our local library. It's a regional library system in Georgia. I've finally (after dropping by to ask for help) figured out how to download my first check-out to my Kindle. It worked! :)

    Thanks for sharing!

  129. Ah, Carol, your eyes are much sharper than mine.

    Crawling back to my hole...

  130. Vince said: "Newspapers and magazines are dying today in their print editions."

    Even though I can access the digital version of our newspaper on my iPad, which is really cool when we're out of town, I still get a "real" newspaper delivered every day.

    The main reason? I can't do the crossword puzzle on my iPad. I can't do the Sudoku or the word jumble. Maybe someday when they digitize the newspaper puzzles so I can fill them out on my iPad screen, I might change my reading format. But not yet.

  131. Just checked our county library system website to see what kind of digital offerings they have. Here's a list of services:



    Freegal Music

    One Click Digital

    eBooks on EBSCOhost


    Open Library

  132. Now aren't you all glad you are being digitally educated and you are now digitally aware and enlightened authors thanks to Madame S???

  133. LOL Debby!

    I typed it wrong first time and there was no one.

    Then I thought 'huh - did I spell it wrong?!' and then there were 10 :D.

  134. Darlings,

    I'm so glad you all are exchanging information and investigating what is available digitally at your library.

  135. Carol's search got me curious...
    va beach library catalog search:

    20 Mary Connealy (7 e-titles)

    1 Ruth Logan Herne

    1 Missy Tippens (e-title)

    9 Julie Lessman (3 e-titles)

    0 Debby Giusti

    0 Tina Radcliffe

    1 Janet Dean (e-title)

    1 Myra Johnson

    9 Cara Lynn James (4 e-titles)

    0 Audra Harders.

    0 Pam Hillman.

    0 Debby Guisti.

    0 Sandra Lee Smith.

    0 Glynna Kaye

    Um... i guess i should really start using the library and putting in those book requests, eh?

  136. enjoyed this posting...very, very much

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  137. DebH, you have your mission ahead of you. Go forth and request!!!!

  138. This is too much information for me. My brain is melting.

    Escaping to my imaginary world. :)

  139. This comment is from Nancy C

    This has ENORMOUS implications for self-epublishers and epublishers, particularly.

    One of the ways I have 'clued in' to a writer who is new to me is to test-read one of their books through library check-out. If I had to get on a long list, awaiting download, I'm not sure I would do it ... and I have to believe some potential readers of something I wrote would feel the same way.

    And that's assuming the library had the ebook.

    This is just wrong, wrong, wrong. Reality, but wrong :-)

    Thanks for the wake-up call, Madame S.

    Nancy C

  140. Thank you for your informative post Madame S. I use Atlanta's e-book system, but, much like Naomi, a large part of their holdings are checked out most of the time. However, they do buy some Harlequin titles. I have spoken to my connections at my home library about the bottleneck, and they say that the numbers are still too small for them to invest in the e-books more. Interesting.

    I reserve my use of the e-library title for that bestseller that I want to read, but not purchase. I save my spending money for research materials and Harlequins.:)

    And the implications of e-books for textbooks will be huge. Vince is right, the textbook model must change. The books are too expensive and the knowledge changes too frequently to keep printing them. Someone is getting paid, and trust me, it is not the professors.....


  141. Madame S,
    Thank you for the enlightening, yet confusing, post. I think I'll save the library for the old-fashioned type of reading - real, in-your-hands books. And I'll use my Kindle for reading those new-fangled things called ebooks.

  142. Thanks, DebH, for checking your library. Mine wouldn't let me access the titles.

    Waving to Edwina. I'm with you!

  143. This is certainly a confusing topic. As a Kansan, I appreciate the kind words about our library system. I've lived in several states, but thankfully not in any where I had to pay for a library card. I currently have a library card for my local library and one for a library in a neighboring town that is larger (but in the same county). We can go to that library and check out everything except ebooks. For some reason, you have to be in the same zipcode as the library to check out ebooks. That I don't understand at all. Fortunately there are enough other books to read so I don't worry about it. I still like the feel of a real book and being able to look at the cover.

  144. Well, my comment from early A.M is missing. what's new? I am not nearly so intelligent by this time of night but I'll say that ebooks are great for fiction but will never replace non-fiction imo.

    I like big meaty oversized reference books. Illustrations that take up two pages? the stuff of dreams...

    my library offers many options for ebooks including little pods that act like mp3 players. I really can't keep up with the choices.

    And, Madame S? I was a library aide in middle school too. sniff sniff... how I miss that precise organization called the card catalog.

  145. Playaways, Debra!!

    Interesting little gadgets.

  146. I've yet to check out an e-book from my library, but I have both a Kindle and a Nook, so format shouldn't be an issue.

    I don't know how e-book borrowing can be seen as a sale lost. By that logic, regular borrowing is a sale lost.

    I was even at my library yesterday and I borrowed an actual book. (There are a lot of Seeker books in my library.)

  147. Walt, Darling, you've hit the nail on the head. There is no difference but you cannot get anyone in publishing to believe it.

  148. i have never bought an ebook in that i have paid for it, but then i find out how much the internet costs for downloading a book i was aghast! and can't do that any more. So don't enter my name in for this one...anyhows, i just stopped in for Helen's coffee, and the fun conversations always found here.

  149. Marianne, I think you mean it costs you money per gig used to download. That's a real issue in rural areas.

  150. Oh, gee....sorry to confuse y'all!
    Ruthy is right....I meant if I should win the E book Madame S. is giving away....I was hinting for Virginia's cause I never got around to buying hers!
    Tina and Virginia, THANKS for your concern!
    Jackie S.

  151. Thanks, Tina and Madame S, for a lovely day at the library!

  152. Ruthy is right. The dreaded three words.

  153. I was not aware that you could borrow e-books from libraries. I'm assuming no fee is involved.

  154. Merci Madame!
    I would love to be entered in the drawing.
    Amber Schamel
    Larkspur, CO

  155. I like getting e-books from the library because it is instant. And then it is gone! (when they want it back)