Readmagine 2018 hosted the meeting ‘Ten Years After’, a dialogue on the situation of the world of reading, libraries and the book industry ten years after the launch of such influential devices as Kindle or iPhone.
The first of the nine talks had as tit main focus the search of a balance between the possibility of a viable business for the sale of digital content to libraries and the needs of readers and the budget and management possibilities of the library public services.
This conversation was moderated by Luis González, General Director of the Germán Sánchez Ruipérez Foundation, and the protagonists were Johanna Brinton and James English.
Johanna Brinton is the director of the European department of business development of Overdrive, the world reference company as a provider of ebooks in public libraries and school libraries (this company is now part of the content company Rakuten). Johanna has more than 18 years of experience in the publishing industry and in the digital industries and her job is to ensure that libraries have access to the broadest catalog of ebooks and audio books in the publishing industry to a set of more than 40,000 libraries and schools. in 70 countries. Overdrive was founded in Clevaland (Ohio, USA) in 1986 and its most recent and popular product is the app called Libby for public libraries, which has been chosen as the best application of Google Play in 2017.
James English is the director of the ebooks department at the New York Public Library (NYPL). James is an old acquaintance of Readmagine, since he already participated in the 2015 edition as the director of the Library Simplified project, aimed at making higher quality in the process of discovering, borrowing and reading ebooks in libraries. Thanks to this project, the NYPL has been able to launch a consortium with diverse library networks in the United States, which has consolidated it as the great reference in the defense of the rights of readers to the industry. James is also the representative of the NYPL on the board of directors of the Readium Foundation, a non-profit institution, aimed at consolidating technological standards and interoperability to the digital book industry.
During the conversation (the whole panel is recorded in this video) Luis González poses issues such as the possible paradigm shift in relation to digital content for libraries. What is the model of sales to libraries? Has the idea of books in property really been transformed by the idea of ’streaming’? Which should be the ground for a better collaboration between retailers and libraries.
Likewise, questions were raised whether digital books could be an element that triggers the transformation of processes or the daily experience in libraries or if a true balance has been reached between the needs of users and the economic sustainability of the business models for the suppliers of ebooks, as well as if there is a certain possibility of alliances or collaborations between these companies and the library systems.
This conversation was the first to take place during the TYA conference (Readmagine), as a hinge where the two areas of work were present: on the one hand, the book industry and the new digital content and reading companies, and on the other hand , the world of libraries and readers.