Why do I have to wait SO LONG for library ebooks?

It’s been an increasing source of frustration for many library users: waiting weeks, sometimes months to get to the top of the waiting list for a popular eBook or e-Audiobook.

As I write this, the ebook for Michelle Obama’s 2018 memoir, Becoming,  has over 200 people waiting for their turn at one of 16 eBook copies. If each of those 16 copies is checked out for the full lending period of 21 days, well, that’s a very long wait if you’re at the bottom of the list. (Take heart, if you’re using a Cheshire library card, your wait won’t be quite as long.  We have purchased 2 additional copies for Cheshire cardholders exclusively, so CPL users will move through the hold queue a little faster).

Why does it take so long? After all, it’s not a physical object, it’s a digital file that lives in the “cloud”, why can’t multiple people access it simultaneously instead of only one at a time? Barring that, why doesn’t the library just buy more copies so that the waiting list is shorter? Getting people access to books and information is what libraries are all about, but the struggle to acquire lendable e-content is very real, and it’s getting harder all the time. Why? What’s the big hairy deal? For that answer, you have to look to the “Big 5” Publishers, who are responsible for close to 80% of trade book sales.

First, a little background. When Cheshire Library started offering eBooks to their patrons in 2006,   lending of downloadable items was in its infancy.  Publishers were extremely wary about allowing library users virtual access to their books. After all, digital copies of books never wear out or have to be replaced, and are more vulnerable to unauthorized copying (“pirating”). Publishers were afraid if they allowed libraries access to their books digitally, they would be losing money. Individual publishers came up with their own sets of rules for libraries to access their e-content, and they have been tweaked many times since 2006. The graphic to the right outlines the current purchasing & lending restrictions for libraries purchasing e-Books from the “Big 5”. Over the years, all 5 publishers have gone to a “metered access” model, meaning that titles expire after a set number of uses or months, at which time the library has to purchase the item again if they want to keep it available to their patrons.

And, unfortunately, the prices libraries must pay for ebooks and e-audiobooks are very high. Libraries must pay up to 4X the retail price for digital versions of books (which only one user can have access to at a time).  Meeting the library patron’s needs for downloadable content is a very expensive enterprise, indeed! Take a look at this comparison of the prices for various versions of the same book:

e-Audiobook publishers have used a “perpetual license” model in the past, (meaning a title only needs to be purchased once, regardless of the number of uses or months) but that is starting to change. Many are converting to a “metered access” model like the eBook publishers, which will have a significant impact on how many titles a library is able to purchase.

Recently, another way for libraries to offer digital content has emerged, the “pay-per-use” model. Platforms like Hoopla, Kanopy, and Freegal, are examples. These platforms offer libraries a pre-curated collection of digital items that have no limit on how many people can check them out at the same time. Rather than buying individual titles, the library pays a fee each time an item from the collection is checked out. For a while, this sounded like a good solution to the long waiting periods users experienced on traditional platforms. The drawback? The service can become so popular that the monthly fees quickly become unmanageable. This is what happened at CPL when we tried Hoopla.  The monthly fees kept skyrocketing,  even when we lowered our checkout limit to 5 items per month. It became impossible to sustain the expense without reducing the service even further, so we discontinued Hoopla and looked for something better.

Since discontinuing Hoopla, CPL has added a platform with a new lending model for e-Audiobooks that we hope will ease some frustration. RBdigital began offering a new service with a core collection of 30,000+ audiobook titles that allow muti-user access (always available, no waiting lists), plus the ability for libraries to add newer and more in-demand titles to the collection (following the one copy/one user model). RBdigital charges libraries a flat monthly fee for the “always available” content, so the library doesn’t have to limit the amount of items patrons check out, and knows exactly how much to budget for each month. We’ll continue to look for ways to bring the most value to the library experience.

The digital media landscape for libraries is constantly changing and adjusting. Here are some articles to check out if you’re  interested in learning more on the subject:

www.cnn.com/2019/08/02/opinions/libraries-fight-publishers-over-e-books-west/index.html

www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2019/07/ala-uneasy-about-simon-schuster-digital-lending-model-changes

www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2019/06/ala-concerned-over-hachette-book-group-ebook-and-audio-book-lending-model

www.inquirer.com/news/ebooks-free-library-philadelphia-costs-budget-20190117.html

https://slate.com/business/2019/09/e-book-library-publisher-buying-controversy-petition.html

Self-Help Books to Boost Positivity

Why wait for January’s New Year’s resolutions to be your best self? You can start any time during the calendar year. Small incremental changes work best, and this is where self-help books shine. Go at your own pace, ease in slowly, and you might find you don’t need a New Year’s resolution at all. This month’s Reader’s Depot focuses on self-help books to bring notes of gratitude and love into your daily life.

Almost Everything by Anne Lamott – Presents an inspirational guide to the role of hope in everyday life and explores essential truths about how to overcome burnout and suffering by deliberately choosing joy.

 

Outer Order, Inner Calm by Gretchen Rubin – Offers manageable steps for creating a more serene, orderly environment, which contributes to maintaining inner calm.

 

Let Love Have the Last Word by Common – Explores how love and mindfulness can guide people in living their lives and interacting with their communities, and calls upon readers to give and receive love in their lives.

 

Everything is F*cked by Mark Manson – A counterintuitive guide to hope looks at contemporary society’s relationships with religion, politics, money, entertainment, and the internet, and challenges people to be honest with themselves and connect with the world in ways they had not considered before.

 

Where the Light Enters by Jill Biden- The former second lady describes her marriage to Joe Biden and the role of politics in her life and teaching career, sharing intimate insights into the traditions, resilience, and love that have helped her family establish balance and endure tragedy.

 

Nanaville by Anna Quindlen – The author discusses her role as a grandmother and how she learned to support her grandson’s parents by stepping back and following their lead.

 

Brave, Not Perfect by Reshma Saujani – The founder of the Girls Who Code nonprofit shares insights into the toxic cultural standards affecting girls today, explaining how girls can transition from perfectionism to more courageous practices that understand the value of imperfection.

 

The Path Made Clear by Oprah Winfrey – Offers a guide for identifying one’s purpose and creating a framework for a life that is both successful and meaningful, sharing inspirational quotes by some of today’s most influential cultural figures.

 

Gmorning, Gnight! by Lin-Manual Miranda and Jonny Sun – The creator and star of “Hamilton” presents an illustrated book of affirmations to provide inspiration at the beginning and end of each day.

 

On Being Human by Jennifer Pastiloff – An inspirational memoir based on the popular workshop of the same name reveals how the author’s years of waitressing and hearing impairment taught her to recognize unexpected beauty, relinquish shame, and find love in the face of imperfection.

What’s Happening at Cheshire Library in September

Seems like summer just began and suddenly we’re looking at fall! It’s a busy time of year, but we hope you can make time to attend some of the entertaining and informative programs scheduled for September at CPL.

Understand Food Labels to Prepare Healthy Food

Tuesday, September 3, 2019, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Learn how to read and understand food labels and learn best ways to prepare healthy food for the week. Presented by Kathryn Glendon, Public Health Specialist, Chesprocott Health District. Registration is required.

New Movie Thursday: Avengers Endgame (2019)

Thursday, September 5, 2019, 4:45 – 8:00pm

After the events of Infinity War, the remaining Avengers must muster all of their remaining strength and resources to defeat the mad titan Thanos and bring their friends back from the brink of oblivion. (Please note that due to the length of this movie there will be a brief intermission). Rated PG-13, registration is appreciated for this adult program.

Binge Watch Downton Abbey Season One

Saturday, September 7, 2019, 10:00am – 4:00pm

Join us as we watch where it all began, Downton Abbey Season One.  Downton Abbey a sprawling, lavish Edwardian mansion nestled in the Yorkshire landscape needs an heir. Dame Maggie Smith stars as Violet, the stubborn Dowager Countess of Grantham, matriarch of Downton. No registration required, please feel free to stop in and leave at your convenience.

Author Talk: Yale Needs Women

Monday, September 9, 2019, 6:30 – 8:00pm

In the summer of 1969, from big cities to small towns, young women across the country sent in applications to Yale University for the first time. The landmark decision was a huge step forward for women’s equality in education. Or was it? Join author Anne Gardiner Perkins as she discusses her new book. Registration required.

Fisher in Connecticut

Wednesday, September 11, 2019, 6:30 – 8:00pm

This presentation focuses on the history of fisher in Connecticut, an overview of fisher habitat, diet, behavior, and reproduction. It also provides practical recommendations for optimum coexistence with our fisher population. Fisher artifacts are shared with the audience. Registration is required.

Documentary: Tea With the Dames (2019)

Thursday, September 12, 3:00 – 4:30pm

Spend a delightfully bawdy afternoon with 4 legends of British stage & cinema. Dames Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Eileen Atkins, and Joan Plowright spill the tea on life, love, and art.  Tea and light refreshments will be offered, bring your favorite tea cup! Registration is required.

Author Talk: Jane Austen’s Women

Saturday, September 14, 2019, 2:00 – 4:00pm

Why does Jane Austen “mania” continue unabated in a postmodern world? How does the brilliant Regency novelist speak so personally to today’s women that they view her as their best friend? Author Dr. Kathleen Anderson will discuss her book Jane Austen’s Women: An Introduction, which touches on these questions and more. A special thank you to the Jane Austen Society for hosting this event. Registration is required.

Exercise for Healthy and Active Aging

Monday, September 16, 2019, 1:00 – 2:00pm

This hour presentation will focus on common misconceptions of strength training as we age, how to do so safely and effectively regardless of physical limitations, and how to optimize results from an exercise program to achieve strength, balance, energy levels and overall functionality.  Suitable for those 50 and older, this program is informational and features no physical activity.  Registration is required.

Something Old, Something New: CT Weddings Through the Ages

Thursday, September 19, 2019, 6:30 – 8:00pm

From colonial to modern times, how did Connecticans tie the knot? How did they celebrate? What did they wear? And how did some of our cherished wedding customs originate? This program uses CHS’s extensive collection of wedding clothing, accessories, photographs and prints to examine these questions. Registration is required.

Books Over Coffee – A Gentleman in Moscow

Wednesday, September 25, 2019, 12:00 – 1:30pm

Want to engage in great discussions about books? Meet new people? Eat lunch with friends? Join us for an adult monthly book club program called “Books Over Coffee.”  This month we’re reading Amor Towles’ A Gentleman in Moscow. You bring your lunch, we’ll provide the coffee and tea! Registration is required.

Trivia Night ~ Special Downton Abbey Edition

Wednesday, September 25, 2019, 6:30 – 8:00pm

Do you love Downton Abbey? Are you a superfan? Here’s an opportunity to test your knowledge, come by yourself or bring friends. Bring your favorite tea cup, as tea will be served! Feel free to come in your finery. Registration required for this adult program, (when registering please register entire group from one person to a max five people).

JFK – Media, Myth and Memory presentation

Thursday, September 26, 2019, 6:30 – 8:00pm

John F. Kennedy is one of the most recognized and remembered historical figures thanks to a wealth of photographic images, journalistic accounts, documentaries, books, and film adaptations of his brief White House tenure. Join Dr. Lisa Burns, Professor of Media Studies at Quinnipiac University, for a discussion of how the media have played a significant role in shaping our individual and collective memories of JFK’s life, death, and legacy. Please be aware that this adult program will be showing the footage of the assassination. Registration is required.

 

 

30,000+ audiobooks are waiting for you!

Did you hear? Cheshire Library recently announced the dramatic expansion of our RBdigital audiobook collection. With over 34,000 titles, there’s something for everyone—from classics to bestselling new titles, debut authors to major literary prize winners, children’s literature to business books, and more. With your Cheshire Library card, you’ll have access to thousands of free audiobooks!

 

 

 

The core collection of these audiobook titles are unlimited access—always available for immediate access without holds or delays. We will also be adding new titles to the collection every month, with the traditional borrowing model (1 user at a time). So while you’re waiting for that bestseller to become available, there are over 30,000 titles to select from in the meantime (everything from classics like The Hobbit and Great Expectations to contemporary favorites like Red Rising and Outlander, in addition to nonfiction, self-help, children’s titles, and more)!

You can listen to audiobooks at home from your computer, or on-the-go from your tablet or smartphone. You can also have up to 10 audiobooks checked out at a time with no monthly limits!  Find the link to our RBdigital collection on our website, or download the app to listen on a mobile device:

 

 

We’re really excited to be offering this service to our patrons. Try our new expanded audiobook collection and let us know what you think!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Teens & Community Service: Being Part of Something Bigger than Yourself

Today’s post is by our Teen Librarian, Kelley:

Teenage community service is more than something that adults insist will look good on a high school resume. It is often a requirement for graduating high school and it’s a great way for students to build their skill sets. More importantly, volunteer opportunities for teens and high school students can be a life-changing experience, one that allows teens to expand their horizons and foster meaningful relationships. Community service can point to new interests, new friends, and if you’re really lucky, maybe even a lifelong career. And yeah, okay, it’ll also look great on college applications!But where to start? Volunteering implies responsibility, and might seem intimidating. How can you be sure you’re finding opportunities that are right for you? There are always easy entry points, like the service clubs at high schools or helping out at a local library, but beyond that, the options can get overwhelming. So where should you look? There are many local and national volunteer agencies and non-profit organizations that accept teens under 18 who are interested in everything from working with animals to crafting for charities, and we’ve put together a volunteering resource for the teens of Cheshire, which is located on the teen page of our website.

Curious about still more community service ideas? Many other kinds of community groups are looking for volunteers, and some may not have occurred to you. Most of us know that hospitals, libraries, and churches use volunteers for a great deal of their work, but here are some volunteer opportunities that may not have crossed your mind:

  • Day Care Centers, Neighborhood Watch, Public Schools and Colleges
  • Community Theaters, Fraternal Organizations and Civic Clubs
  • Arts Councils, Boys & Girls Clubs, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Meals on Wheels
  • Literacy Groups, Museums, Art Galleries, and Monument Sites
  • Community Choirs, Bands and Orchestras, Music Therapy Programs
  • Neighborhood Parks, Youth Organizations, Sports Teams and After-school Programs
  • Historical Restorations, Battlefields and National Parks

Good luck! We know you’ll soon be on the path to community service superstardom!